2010 Lexus IS 250 C

Unlike my colleagues named Joe, I actually prefer the look of some hardtop convertibles to cars with soft folding convertible tops. Consider, for instance, the smooth lines of the Volvo C70 or the Infiniti G37 droptop. To my eye, those cars' hard roofs help improve their top-up appearance. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this Lexus, although there are more poorly executed examples in my opinion, such as the Pontiac G6 or the BMW 3-series. The "matador red mica" is quite sharp, though.

Still, as Joe and Joe mentioned, luggage space in the Lexus IS250C (like all hardtop convertibles) is extremely compromised. With the top down, you'd be lucky to fit a few short brooms [brooms?-ed] in the long, slender cargo area. But with the top raised, its aluminum parts no longer reside beneath the trunk lid, and there's more available cargo space than there is in most coupes. Lorio isn't kidding about rearward visibility, though. It's terrible, thanks to those large headrests/rollbars and the edge of the roof. With the top down (yes, I drove with the top down in 40-degree weather), visibility improves, but not as much as I'd like.

For a convertible with a back seat, the IS250C feels impressively rigid most of the time. When you go over some of Michigan's worst bumps, you can feel the chassis flex somewhat, of course, but it's perfectly tolerable (much unlike the wet-noodle Toyota Camry Solara convertible). The 2.5-liter V-6 obviously isn't overpowered, but it's not terribly slow. Most Lexus buyers should be perfectly satisfied with its performance.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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