The interior layout, fit and finish
The regular Lexus RX is one of the oldest cars in its class, so you won’t find flashy touch-sensitive controls and loads of big digital displays. Although we’re not here to comment on styling, it certainly looks like an older-generation SUV.
This has its good and bad points. There’s a substantial array of buttons for you to learn and they’re not necessarily where you’d expect them to be. For example, the parking brake release is in front of the gear selector, below the cowl of the climate controls, where it’s quite easy to miss at a glance. Certain controls, such as the ones for the sunroof, seem needlessly complicated compared to rivals'.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the lay-out, though, you can feel your way around with your eyes on the road. That’s not something you can say of the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and other SUVs that require you to look down to operate a touchscreen even for common functions. That said, the BMW X5 combines physical controls with a far more user-friendly layout.
The driving position is good, though, with comfortable electrically adjustable seats as standard that include lumbar support. You even get an electrically adjustable steering wheel, while Takumi trim adds a memory function for these for the driver.
You won’t find a fully digital dash like the ones in the Q7, X5 or XC90, although the part-analogue ones are clear. Add the Tech and Safety Pack or opt for Takumi trim for a head-up display.
As standard, the RX L gets an 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system that can also be controlled using what resembles a laptop touchpad. Unfortunately, it's frustrating to use on the move, lacking the intuitive accuracy of BMW’s rotary iDrive controller. On the upside, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard on all RX L models.
Music fans might be interested to hear that there’s a CD player on board, while the Mark Levinson stereo that’s standard on Takumi models provides exceptional clarity and power. Even the base RX L gets a Pioneer system.
Overall interior quality is something of a mixed bag. There’s no doubt that everything is solidly screwed together and built to last, with a good spread of soft plastics, sturdy buttons and attractive trims. The issue is that there are harder, scratchier plastics lower down, which feel out of place in a luxury SUV.
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