Ignore what's going on between the battery-powered electric motor and V6 petrol engine and you've got a swift 4x4 that puts a big tick in the green box. The RX will run on battery power alone for short periods around town, but its normal role is to support petrol power.
Apparently, the RX has been tuned for European tastes. If that means little steering feel and poor grip from the tyres, Lexus has achieved it. The ride on all versions feels decidedly jittery, and while cars on air suspension are a little better, they're still not smooth. There’s also plenty of body lean, even on the sportier F Sport model.
Under battery power alone, the RX is eerily quiet – especially to passers-by. Things don't get much noisier on the move, unless you hit the accelerator hard, at which point the CVT gearbox sends the engine revs soaring until you ease off the pedal. There's some wind noise on the motorway, but everything else is quiet.
Although list prices are expensive, resale values are pretty strong and you get a lot of equipment as standard. The RX450h's petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain means low CO2 emissions, so tax bills are impressively low. It’s not as economical as many diesel-powered rivals, though.
Check out any JD Power customer satisfaction survey and you'll see Lexus at the top – owners love the cars and the dealers. What's more, the RX was the top-rated 4x4 in the latest study. Quality is generally good, but SUVs from other premium brands feel posher, and many from mainstream manufacturers come close.
Every model gets 10 airbags – two at the front, four along the side, curtains along the top of each side and even airbags for knees at the front. All the stability and safety equipment you expect is on board, while laminated side glass is a safety and security bonus. There’s lots of other security kit, too.
Lexus's take on iDrive, MMI and Comand is called Remote Touch and works like a mouse. It's fiddlier and more distracting than these rotary dial systems, and there are still plenty of other individual controls around. The dashboard is reasonably attractive and you can specify a head-up display.
There’s lots of space up front, and enough in the back for two adults to sit comfortably; three will be a push, though. The boot is big, if not as large as those in many rival SUVs. The rear seats slide back and forth, though, so you can vary the amount of space for passengers or baggage. It’s easy to fold down the rear seats, but they’re heavy, so can be tricky to push up again.
All versions are well equipped. Entry-level SE models come with dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, Bluetooth, cruise control, xenon headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. Luxury trim adds sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, larger wheels and an upgraded stereo. F Sport trim brings sportier styling, bespoke suspension and LED headlights, while Premium cars have air suspension, a sunroof and a whole heap of electrical gadgets.
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