When my husband and I made reservations at a hotel in Palm Springs for an extended weekend stay, we had no idea an intense heat wave would descend on Southern California during the exact days we’d be there. Palm Springs is already known for its toasty weather, but that weekend was extra hot, a level I’d never experienced before. But even though I reached my personal heat tolerance level and withered, KBB's long-term Lexus IS didn’t miss a beat.

How Hot Was It?

As I sat in the shade, all the clichés came to mind. "It's 100 degrees at midnight." "It's so hot your phone will shut down." "You can fry an egg on the sidewalk." They're all true. (Okay, I didn’t try to fry an egg on the sidewalk, but I burned the soles of my feet walking a couple steps to get to my sandals.) There was a breeze, which under any other circumstances would be a relief, but on this day, when the wind blew, it felt as if you had opened the oven to check on a roast.

When we were there, it was one degree shy of the hottest day in Palm Springs' history. We saw, and felt, 122 degrees. Let that soak in for a minute: 122 degrees. That day, it was hotter in Palm Springs than in Furnace Creek in Death Valley, where many automakers go to conduct hot-weather endurance testing on their cars.

Cool as a Cucumber

Fortunately, KBB's long-term Lexus IS 350 F was up to the task. I learned a lot from driving around in severe heat. The Lexus' performance started and ran as if it were half the temperature outside, a more reasonable 61 degrees. The engine and transmission showed no signs of stress or strain. Acceleration was excellent, and shifts were crisp. Braking also showed no signs of degradation in the heat.

The cabin of the Lexus was possibly the best place to be in Palm Springs that day. It was a perfect day to test out the air conditioning and seat coolers. The car had sat in the sun, which was unavoidable, but both the A/C and the coolers made short work of bringing the cabin temperature to a comfortable level. Within a minute or two, it felt better; within five it was downright comfy. I would recommend, though, that if you live in a hot-weather region, select something other than the black leather interior. I was glad I had an extra T-shirt in the car to drape over the seat while the coolers got going.

I didn’t like being in weather that hot. I hadn't planned on experiencing it nor was it something on my bucket list. However, knowing the Lexus was that reliable, and for that matter, that comfortable, in weather that hot made the trip a lot better than it could have been.

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