Lexus RX 4x4 full 9 point review
The RX doesn’t have as wide a choice of powertrains as most rivals, and can’t provide the same kind of blistering performance as many of them. The entry-level 200t has a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that is adequate but needs to be worked hard. The 450h hybrid combines a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with two electric motors. It has a lot more torque and provides good acceleration, but is nowhere near as strong as the range-topping engines in most premium SUVs.
Ride & Handling
The RX is a relaxing and easy car to drive. It rides comfortably, grips well and feels stable through corners. The steering doesn’t provide much feedback, however, and there’s enough lean through corners to prevent you pushing too hard. F Sport models have sportier adaptive suspension that sharpens the handling, but keen drivers would be better off with a Porsche Cayenne or well-specced BMW X5. The entry-level 200t S model has front-wheel drive; every other RX has four-wheel drive.
The RX450h offers a limited amount of electric-only driving at low speeds that makes it very quiet around town. At higher speeds its continuously variable transmission can send the revs soaring when you accelerate hard, but the petrol engine sounds good. The 200t’s petrol engine is reasonably quiet, too, and has a smooth automatic gearbox. Wind and road noise are muted, so the RX is a generally quiet cruiser.
Buying & Owning
The RX is reasonable value for money if you choose your model carefully – our pick would be a 450h in Luxury trim. Showroom discounts aren’t likely to be that generous, but all versions should hold their value well. The 200t petrol is much cheaper to buy, but it’s thirsty and not competitive for CO2 emissions. The 450h hybrid is cleaner and much more frugal on paper, although no match for plug-in hybrid rivals for CO2 emissions.
Quality & Reliability
The RX has a convincingly premium feel throughout. Some of the minor cabin details are a bit ordinary, but the fit and finish is faultless and most of the materials are classy. Lexus has a better reliability record than most, and the brand finished seventh out of 37 manufacturers in our most recent reliability survey. The RX was the top-rated large SUV in our most recent customer satisfaction survey. With that in mind the unexceptional three-year/60,000-mile warranty doesn’t seem such an issue.
Safety & Security
The RX comes with a mind-boggling array of safety kit as standard. There are no less than 10 airbags, including rear side airbags and a knee airbag for the driver and front seat passenger. Every version also has an active safety package that includes pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and headlights with automatic high beam. It’s no surprise that the RX achieved a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when tested in 2015. An alarm is fitted as standard.
Behind The Wheel
The Lexus RX’s driver’s seat is very comfortable and there’s a wide range of electric adjustment for that and the steering wheel. Forward visibility is fine; the view behind isn’t as clear but front and rear parking sensors are standard and all but the entry-level model have a rear-view camera. The dashboard is well laid out and the infotainment display is clear, but there are a number of small black buttons to get used to and the mouse cursor used to select functions is unnecessarily fiddly.
Space & Practicality
The RX is a practical family car but it has only five seats, whereas rivals such as the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 are available with seven. However, there’s ample space for those five, with lots of head room and leg room wherever you’re sitting. A flat floor means that a central rear passenger is more comfortable than in many rivals, too. The boot is large, although it falls well short of the capacity of cars such as the BMW X5. The 40/20/40 rear seats fold almost flat for an extended load area.
The RX comes with all the kit you’d expect, including DAB radio, sat-nav, automatic LED lights, front and rear parking sensors and electrically adjustable front seats. Leather trim is standard for all 450h models, but in entry-level S trim the 200t has fabric trim. Mid-spec Luxury is our favourite trim; it adds an upgraded infotainment system, wireless phone charger and a powered tailgate. F Sport models have all this and more, plus sportier styling and suspension, but they’re expensive.