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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Lexus is spacious and refined, and comes with loads of kit

Against It's expensive to buy and run

Verdict Verdict The RX is luxurious and refined, but it can also be green

Go for… RX400h SE

Avoid… None

Lexus RX 4x4
  • 1. The only complaint we've heard of on this RX is a few tailgate latches sticking
  • 2. Make sure the recall work on the brake lights has been carried out
  • 3. It's big, but not as big inside as a Mercedes M-Class or Land Rover Discovery; and, there's no seven-seat option
  • 4. Comfort is a strong point, with an electrically adjustable driver's seat on all models
  • 5. Cars with air suspension have a really comfortable ride, and are worth tracking down
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Lexus RX 4x4 full review with expert trade views

As with Lexus's upmarket saloons, the RX's refinement is superb: the engines are smooth, and wind and road noise is almost non-existent. Comfort is a strong point, too, with an electrically adjustable driver's seat on all models, and plenty of space for five. However, it's not as big inside as a Mercedes-Benz M-Class or Land Rover Discovery and, unlike some rivals, it has no seven-seat option. On the road, the RX's emphasis is on comfort – especially so in cars with air suspension. If you want a more sporty drive, a Mercedes M-Class or BMW X5 will do the job much better Which one should I get? Our favourite petrol engine is the basic 3.0-litre V6 fitted to the earliest cars. It might make this the slowest RX, but it still responds well enough. It was replaced in 2006 by the more powerful, yet more economical, RX350. Usually, the alternative to a petrol engine would be a diesel, but in the RX it's the RX400h petrol-electric hybrid. This gives fuel economy of well over 30mpg – better than most equivalent diesels. The hybrid version is particularly attractive to those driving in London, because it's exempt from the Congestion Charge.

Trim-wise, it's just a question of how much luxury you want, because even the basic car is well equipped enough for most people. SE adds leather upholstery and a sunroof, while SE-L has satellite-navigation and air suspension.

Trade view

The RX 400h is a great green 4x4, and good enough to be our favourite SUV in our Used car of the Year awards in 2009

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Most RXs are still at Lexus dealers, which keeps prices high, and our favourite engine is the basic 3.0-litre V6 fitted to the earliest cars. It may make this the slowest RX, but it still responds well enough.

It was replaced in 2006 by the more powerful, yet more economical, RX350, but that model has yet to reach the used market in significant numbers.

Usually, the alternative to a petrol engine would be a diesel, but in the RX it's the hybrid RX400h, with petrol and electric power. This gives fuel economy of well over 30mpg - better than most equivalent diesels. However, it was only introduced in 2005, and so remains expensive next to the RX300.

Trim-wise, it's just a question of how much luxury you want, as even the basic car is well equipped, and plenty good enough for most people. SE brings you leather upholstery and a sunroof, while SE-L has satellite-navigation and air suspension.

Trade view

There’s that many on the use market, so values hold firm

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The RX is an expensive used car to buy, with prices that aren't far off those for a BMW X5 of the same age. On the other hand, such desirability should ensure equally buoyant resale values when you sell it on. In terms of other running costs, things don't look so bad. Of its prestige 4x4 rivals, only diesel versions of the Land Rover Discovery cost significantly less to insure, and routine servicing costs – even for the 400h hybrid – are on par with any other big 4x4. Fuel economy is respectable, too. Petrol versions look good alongside to their rivals and, on paper at least, the 400h hybrid can better the fuel economy of its diesel rivals – significantly so in some cases. In the unlikely event you need unscheduled work on an RX, you'll find labour rates at dealers are quite high, but repair bills are average.

Trade view

The RX 400h is a great green 4x4, and good enough to be our favourite SUV in our Used car of the Year awards in 2009

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

While so many other big 4x4s have questions hanging over their quality and reliability, it's a pleasure to come across a car such as the RX. The quality that has gone into it is obvious, and all the glowing reports that have come out about Lexus reliability and service only serve to confirm the point. Warranty Direct's reliability figures echo this finding, with Lexus models responsible for virtually the lowest rate of problems of any manufacturer. The only complaint they have heard of on the RX is a few tailgate latches sticking.

If there is a shock, it's that there has been one recall for the RX. In 2004, just under 6000 RX300s were recalled because of a potential problem with brake lights – so make sure it's been sorted.

Trade view

There’s that many on the use market, so values hold firm

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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