Driving

Lexus RX L review

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Lexus RX L
Review continues below...
5 Jun 2018 09:13 | Last updated: 18 Sep 2018 14:23

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Lexus has again decided to go down its typical route of using a combination of petrol and electric power. In town, that decision makes a great deal of sense. At low speeds, the RX L remains virtually silent, thanks to the wonders of electric propulsion; it delivers a serenity that can’t be replicated by conventionally powered cars, no matter how many layers of sound deadening and double-glazing they have.

Unlike its rival hybrid SUVs – the Audi Q7 e-tron, BMW X5 xDrive40e and Volvo XC90 T8 – the RX L is not a plug-in hybrid, meaning you get a small battery capable of supplying electric-only running in small bursts. So once you’re out of the city, you have to rely on the six-cylinder petrol engine.

This presents two problems. First, the RX L’s engine is coarser than you’d expect a six-cylinder petrol motor in a luxury car to be; and second, once the small battery has depleted, you’re left with a rather thirsty, two-tonne petrol SUV. The latter is particularly problematic, since many buyers will most likely be used to the relative frugality of diesel SUVs and won’t be expecting fuel economy figures in the low-30s (Lexus claims the RX L is capable of 48mpg, but we averaged closer to 33mpg).

There’s also the small matter of its CVT gearbox. Unlike a conventional ’box, it allows the revs to flare as you accelerate up to speed. While the accompanying drone is hardly unbearable, it makes the RX L a lot less refined than other luxury SUVs with smoother engines and conventional gearboxes, of which the Q7 e-tron is one of the best. Road and wind noise are at least fairly well contained, though.

In terms of handling, the RX L feels very similar to the standard RX; that is to say, it’s a relaxing and easy car to drive, but not much fun. In range-topping Premier trim (the only version we’ve tested so far), the car feels reasonably composed and stable through corners, but there is quite a bit of body lean when you press on. And the steering doesn’t offer much of a connection to the road, so if you’re looking for a luxury SUV that’s quick and agile, there are better options.

 

Lexus RX L
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There are 7 trims available for the RX 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
SE
This trim level is offered on 200t and 450h models. Key upgrades over entry-level S trim include four-wheel drive, leather upholstery and heated and cooled front seats. It’s worth considering if yo...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£45,718
Average Saving £2,982
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Luxury
As the name suggests, you get lots of luxuries with Luxury trim, including an upgraded infotainment package with a bigger, smarter central screen. Luxury models also get a wireless phone charger, a...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£48,530
Average Saving £3,170
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Sport
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£48,530
Average Saving £3,170
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RX
We have not written anything about this yet...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£49,710
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F-Sport
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£50,874
Average Saving £3,326
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Premier
This flagship trim is only offered on the 450h hybrid. It features the adaptive suspension of the F Sport model, as well as a host of other upgrades, including a colour head-up display, an even bet...View trim
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£56,030
Average Saving £3,670
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Takumi
We have not written anything about this yet...View trim
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£61,710
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