No taming the beast
IF you want a motor that gets you noticed look no further than the Lexus RX 450h. The futuristic looking giant with the gaping grille rolled on to the drive of Keenan Towers – and into every conversation I had with the neighbours that week.
It is worthy of comment as it is unusual for them to be so stirred – used as they are to the many motors that grace the front of my abode during the course of a year.
The fourth generation of the RX is a bit of a beast with razor sharp angles and an in-your-face design making indifference impossible.
The interior is palatial with nifty fixtures and fittings plus plush, comfortable perforated leather seats that are heated up front, easing back to let the driver exit and enter with the minimum of fuss before returning to your favourite position behind the wheel when the ignition button is pushed.
There are plenty of cubby holes, cup holders and a covered storage box between the driver and front seat passenger. There is lots of room for three adults in the back as there is no transmission tunnel and the rear seats recline.
The F Sport model fans the flames of desire with a truckload of extras including dedicated front and rear bumpers plus snazzy 20-inch alloy wheels, black door mirror housings and a powered tailgate providing access to a decent loadspace.
The cabin also features wireless phone charger, Premium Navigation with 12.3-inch display, special lighting for the doors and instrument panel as well as drilled aluminium pedals.
One small quibble with the sat nav was the over-active control knob which shoots the cursor around the screen like a Russian athlete on drugs when you are trying to tap in a destination.
The attention to detail is impressive and extensive with little left to chance. An example is the dual-speed electric windows which slow before finally closing to reduce noise.
When it comes to power the RX offers two options – a full hybrid system featuring a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine combined with an electric motor in the 450h, and a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit in the 200t.
The hybrids all boast four-wheel drive offering confidence-boosting levels of grip in all conditions, while the entry-level 200t S model has front-wheel drive with models above specified with 4x4 capability.
Lexus is the luxury offshoot of motor manufacturer Toyota – pioneer of hybrid power. So it is no surprise the hybrid technology bestowed on the RX 450h is both powerful and, more importantly, reliable.
The system has been re-engineered so output is raised to 308bhp which allows this big beast to be pretty nimble, achieving 62mph from a standing start in 7.7 seconds. Fuel economy is surprisingly good for such a big motor with Lexus claiming a figure in excess of 50mpg, while carbon dioxide emissions are also decent for something with a V6 under the bonnet at 127g/km.
Engine responses can be altered via a rotary dial next to the driver allowing Eco, Normal or Sport to be selected depending on your mood.
Power is nothing without control though so Lexus ensure the F Sport model features sports-tuned electric power steering, an adaptive variable suspension, a dynamics management system plus low-speed cornering lights.
The all-encompassing Lexus Safety System Plus helps to keep you out of trouble as well as offering protection when an accident is unavoidable.
Yes, the RX 450h F Sport does cost £53,995, but you are getting plenty of SUV for your many bucks.
TEST DRIVE LEXUS RX 450H F SPORT