Spaceage SUV: Lexus RX450h Review
Originally a sub-brand from Toyota, there is no doubting that Lexus is very much standing on its own two feet after now being in business some 27 years. The luxury brand is a huge hit in America and Asia, though some models have perhaps failed to gain the traction and love they deserve here in the UK and Europe. The new Lexus RX450h is going all out to change that, but how does it fair?
First things first the n in the RX450h stands for hybrid. I remember getting a whirl in a Lexus Hybrid a few years ago and was thoroughly impressed. The addition of the electric motor bringing in extra power when needed but I was surprised at a lack of extra MPG and every day benefits.
Thankfully the new Lexus RX450h has no such issues, well not quite. Whilst housing a petrol V6 under the hood, the addition of the electric power help this beautiful thing to just 127 grams of CO2 emissions and a miles per gallon of close to 50 when pootling round town. The issue comes when on a longer journey and at higher speeds. The electric element can never totally be locked in and always turns off when you hit around 40 or 45mph. So when it comes to a longer journey you ultimately lose many of the energy saving benefits and could end up with a mpg closer to 35, which to be honest on a Hybrid car isn’t the best return.
As well as environmental goodness that electric motor also increase power by 74 from 259 to 335 BHP which makes a considerable difference. Now you aren’t buying a SUV for speed and power but at 0 – 62mph in 7.7 seconds with such a large amount of weight, it is no slouch – though no batmobile either!
As well all know, you have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a SUV. But the Lexus RX450h has to be one of the most visually striking out there. At first glance I wasn’t sure, but along with the Tiguan, this car is a head turner when compared to others in the segment.
Yes, it won’t suit all and if Batman ever needed a 4×4 for his shopping or umpteen illegitimate children then this would be his vehicle of choice. Visually it is futuristic, it pushes the boundaries and really is more of a raised hot hatch than a SUV. It isn’t the biggest and the boot space isn’t as large as some might hope, but it does help in the overall look.
Once inside, the Lexus RX450h steps up another gear. Apart from quite hideous crimson red leather in our test car, the interior was pretty much spot on. Visually it is one of the best looking and most premium looking interiors around. Sometimes with a bigger car, larger areas can just seem cheap or plastic like, but not the RX450h.
The general interior and tech to back everything up exceeded expectations by some way. The leather was of a great finish and was placed well throughout the car. I really enjoyed sitting in this car, whether that be whilst driving or just sitting and enjoying the surroundings.
At an On The Road price of just over £52,000 the Lexus RX450h isn’t cheap, but when you consider that is fully laden with just about any extra you can think of then it offers good value when compared to its competitors.
Whilst the Lexus RX450h is a superb premium SUV with one of the best interiors we have seen, putting an electric motor in a petrol car with no diesel options just seems a little bit mad. If you want an SUV for town driving then yes the RX450h will be heading straight on your shortlist, but if you cover motorway miles then the cost per mile just ramps up and brings everyone else back into the fore.