Yes, I know this is my second Lexus review in a row, and yes, I know it’s the second Lexus in a row that’s been given 5 stars – but you can’t blame me for them making such brilliant cars.
Myself and DB often face a challenge when trying to keep up with the many changes that are constantly taking place within the automotive world, but recently I was lucky enough to be given a chance to gain some ground on one of Lexus’ best vehicles – the RX450h
This week, on a typically rainy, grey day, the people at Liverpool Lexus very kindly gave me a demonstration of the Lexus RX450h which, although wasn’t for the specific purpose of a review, has certainly taught us a lot here at 0to60 a great deal about this amazing car.
And there just isn’t a car out there quite like the RX, at least not one that I can think of. Nothing comes close to accomplishing that which the Lexus seems able to do with apparent ease. Try to think of a luxurious car which is friendly to the environment and, more importantly to most people, your wallet. Try to think of a stylish vehicle that can handle all road conditions. How about a car which is at home in a busy city as it is on winding country roads? Then imagine a car which can accomplish all of those things. The Lexus RX450h has to be that car.
The exterior of the car is designed to slip through the air as it moves along – it has a drag co-efficient of just 0.32… whatever that means. I’m not convinced, however, that aerodynamics are the only things which shaped the RX. Aerodynamics didn’t state that the headlights have to sweep around the side of the car, or that, from every angle, it had to seem perfectly proportional. You would have to work very hard to find something displeasing about the subtle, stylish appearance of this vehicle.
The RX is, unlike the LS, very simplistic on the inside, but that certainly doesn’t mean you miss out on any features; it just means that it has Lexus’ exceedingly good Remote Touch system is installed. Almost every vehicle function is controlled through this by using screen on the dashboard and the central control. It works a bit like a computer mouse that helps to guide your hand to the various options on the screen, so you don’t have to take your eyes of the road for very long at all. Air conditioning and radio can also be controlled through specific buttons on the dashboard for ease of use.
How the car moves you from place to place is the most unique feature of the RX. In short: very quickly; very efficiently; and very pleasantly.
With its full hybrid system, you can move around town using no fuel whatsoever. On our demonstration, we travelled at 40mph with the engine switched off using the very same hybrid magic that we saw on the LS. When accelerating quicker, the petrol and electric engines can work together, and, whilst cruising at higher speeds, the petrol engine can operate on its own. The best bit is that you don’t even notice. Well, almost… A few odd things do give the game away: When you set off, it feels like you’re missing something – noise. The electric motors make absolutely no sound in the cabin, and neither does the engine as it starts up to accompany the motors later. The other unnerving feature is, because of the CVT, when accelerating quickly, you are continually forced into the back of the exceedingly comfortable chairs until you take your foot off of the accelerator, without the usual gaps in power between gear changes. This is because of the lack of any, though, if you prefer, the RX will create some gears for you to shift up and down manually.
The RX has not been spared from the excessive adornment of standard kit that Lexus are now known for. The intuitive central control unit is included as well as a host of other features such as heated seats, multi-zone air conditioning and the voice command system. I was very surprised when the salesman driving the car on my demonstration was simply able to say, “I’m hungry.” This prompted the car to show local restaurants on the map, but it can do even more than that.
And now for the specs of the most popular RX450h SE-I:
Max. Speed: 124mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 145g/km
Insurance Group: 41
VED Band: F (£130)
It looks a little more expensive than some of its competitors to buy in the beginning, but remember that the price shown includes a hell of a lot of kit as standard – and it can be up to £8,500 less per year to run than its competitors without considering that it doesn’t depreciate as quickly. Then there’s the servicing costs which are less because the hybrid system means that there are less exposed moving parts. Routine maintenance such as brake pads is only required rarely as the hybrid system uses the electric motors to do a great deal of the braking when recharging the batteries.
The RX has been given 5 stars by me and, because it impressed us here so much, is the first car to receive the 0to60reviews ‘Bloody Good Car’ award. I really do struggle to find fault with this car.
I owe the people at Liverpool Lexus a huge thank-you and can confirm that all of the things one hears about their fantastic customer service are true.