Exterior view of the 2015 Lexus IS 250.

The 2015 Lexus IS 250 had gutsy acceleration without being aggressive, and its smooth and responsive ride handled the roads with aplomb, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt.

In all the years there has been a “Mom’s Taxi” column, I must admit I never really found a need for a sunroof. Until now.

You see, most cars that come to us for a test drive have been loaded with plenty of bells and whistles, which usually includes an optional sunroof. It’s not something I would opt for because, as a mom with a brood, I’m usually focused on such things as safety features, the quantity of seatbelts and good amounts of elbow room for all the squirming passengers. With an eye on the budget, I wouldn’t add extra to the bottom line for a sunroof. I also don’t like the sun blaring down on my head, unless I’m in a convertible.

Exterior view of the 2015 Lexus IS250.

Exterior view of the 2015 Lexus IS 250.

But that’s not to say that some manufacturers have tried to sweeten the deal, by creating ones that are so large they extend all the way to the second row of seats, or have sun screens.

But this month we drove the 2015 Lexus IS 250 to Yosemite, and as we made our way through the valley, I finally found the sun roof’s purpose: to look up and see unobstructed and majestic views of Half Dome and El Capitan. Now I’m a convert. Now I realize the brood in the back seat would like to look up and out, as well, and see more than the back of my head on occasion.

In addition to that sunroof, the 2015 Lexus IS 250 offered other very nice features for our mountainous ride to Yosemite. It was equipped with a 2.5-liter V-6, 24-valve engine that effortlessly powered our way up and through the altitudes, and its eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission and advanced G-force Artificial Intelligence system – that intuitively shifts gears – allowed for a smooth and curve-hugging drive without that feeling that you’re also hugging the door jams.

Exterior view of the 2015 Lexus IS250.

Exterior view of the 2015 Lexus IS 250.

The Lexus IS 250 is on its third generation with these 2015 models, and with that you’re also getting a choice of two V6 engines, new LED fog lights and numerous cabin enhancements, such as piano black on window switches and the instrument panel, and a back-up monitor with grid lines to further help you determine how close you are to obstacles.

A dual-zone climate control system has touch-sensitive electrostatic switches, which is something unique to Lexus.

Optional goodies on this model year include a choice of rear-wheel drive or all-weather drive and a heated steering wheel with those AWD cars. Also optional is the pre-emptive Pre-Collision System, which incorporates Adaptive Cruise Control to sense when you’re too close to the car ahead, and automatically slows you down.

Other safety features include as many as 10 air bags, and the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System, which incorporates Anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control, and Vehicle Stability Control with Electronic Power Steering.

Interior view of the 2015 Lexus IS250.

Interior view of the 2015 Lexus IS 250.

Features on the keyless remote fob include remote door lock/unlock, remote stop/start for the engine and climate control, vehicle finder feature and even a guest driver monitor.

You can select from five driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport; on the AWD models there is a Snow Mode, and on the IS 350 models there is an F Sport Mode that adjusts the suspension to sharpen handling acuity.

The 2015 Lexus IS 250 offers a good amount of head, hip and leg room for its five passengers, and has a good-sized trunk with an opening that is wide and accommodating.

Overall, the 2015 Lexus IS 250 was a fun car to drive. It had gutsy acceleration without being aggressive, and its smooth and responsive ride handled the roads – whether mountainous or city streets – with aplomb. And, a sunroof that opened my eyes to a new way of thinking.