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Alex Law

To paraphrase somebody famous (given the nature of the quote, it may have been Zza Zza Gabor), "There is nothing so powerful as a body style whose time has come."

Certainly the SportCross version of the Lexus IS 300 sports sedan seems exactly right, right now. That stylish, wagonish, backish seems perfectly in tune with the sport-utes and sport-cutes and sport-brutes that are all the rage right now.

As well as being trendy, the SportCross is actually a better package than the regular IS 300 in the same way that all boxed rear ends are better than all trunked rear ends — they're roomier and more flexible.

It features all of the go-fast stuff that the IS 300 has, the most important being the 3-litre inline-6 engine that produces 215 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 218 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm, and the five-speed manumatic with its stickshift and up/down buttons on the steering column. The manual from the sedan is not available on the SportCross.

It's true that the extra 50 or so kg of curbweight might negatively affect the car's launch (Lexus says another 0.1 of a second 0 to 100 km/h), but since most of that mass sits at the back end the rear-tossing abilities of the vehicle might actually improve.

In any conditions the SportCross is also quiet and solid. This is important, since the primary potential problems with this body style have always been more noise getting into the cabin from the rear wheels (a trunk acts as a great sound deadener) and less structural rigidity without the body panels going from side to side behind the rear seats.

Toyota Canada hasn't priced the SportCross yet, but the IS 300 sedan started at $40,830 last year so we can probably expect a little more for the wagon version. With various options, you'll probably be able to get one up to $50,000 if you're so inclined.

Alex Law
Alex Law
Automotive expert