New Lexus RX vs Range Rover Sport: interiors

These plug-in hybrid SUVs both combine great luxury with the potential for low running costs. But which of them does it better?...

Lexus RX dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Range Rovers are traditionally masterly when it comes to SUV driving positions, and the Range Rover Sport is no different. True, you sit slightly lower than you do in the full-fat Range Rover, but you still get a wonderfully commanding seating position.

While you don’t sit quite as high in the Lexus RX, it’s still lofty enough to allow you to see over regular saloons and hatchbacks, matching the Range Rover’s great visibility to the front and sides at junctions and giving an even better view over your shoulder, thanks to cutouts in the thick rear pillars.

Range Rover Sport dashboard

Both cars come with sumptuous driver’s seats that can be adjusted electrically, so you won’t want for comfort on a long drive, but the Range Rover provides extra scope for fine-tuning – with 20-way adjustment compared with 10-way – and you can alter the level of side support from the bolsters, something that the RX’s seat lacks.

The Range Rover’s dashboard layout is more user-friendly than the RX’s, with more physical knobs and switches and less reliance on the infotainment touchscreen, making them less distracting to operate while driving. Both cars have proper knobs for adjusting the air temperature and fan speed, but most of the RX’s other minor controls are touch-sensitive.

Likewise, the physical buttons on the Range Rover’s steering wheel are easier to use than the RX’s touch-based controls, which you swipe over to access menus and then press down on to make selections. As touch-sensitive controls go, though, the RX’s aren’t too tricky to get to grips with.

Lexus RX climate controls

Given the size of our competitors, the idea of parking either in a busy car park might seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be: the great visibility offered by both is combined with standard-fit parking sensors and 360-degree cameras to make them surprisingly easy to manoeuvre. The Range Rover has the advantage, though, thanks to its four-wheel steering (with the rear wheels turning the opposite way to the fronts at low speeds); this makes it far better at navigating multi-storey car parks than it has any right to be.

Despite being the cheaper of the two, the RX’s interior is very smart, treating you to soft-touch materials on almost every surface and, in Takumi trim, bamboo trim on the centre console and steering wheel. But while it stacks up well enough against rivals such as the Volvo XC90, it’s outclassed by the softer, more expensive-feeling leathers that adorn almost every surface within the Range Rover. The materials on the RX’s doors, for example, only just pass for soft-touch, while the Sport’s are truly sumptuous. Mind you, the RX feels incredibly well assembled, whereas our Range Rover’s interior was prone to a few creaks and rattles.

Infotainment systems

Lexus RX

Lexus RX touchscreen

The RX’s infotainment system relies solely on a touchscreen, but its broad size (14.0in) allows most of the icons to be nice and large, making them easier to press while driving, and they react quickly when you do. There’s a physical volume knob and a conveniently located row of shortcut icons down the right-hand side of the screen, too. Audiophiles will revel in the quality of the standard-fit 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Sport touchscreen

The Range Rover’s system is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require you to navigate through lots of sub-menus to find what you’re after. There’s no physical controller like there is on the best systems in the class, so you have to rely on the screen to make your selections, but the 13.1in display is impressively crisp and reacts quickly to all of your prods. As in the RX, you get wireless smartphone mirroring and wireless charging as standard.

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