The new Lexus RX450h was revealed last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and orders are now officially being taken in the UK for delivery to customers from July. So should you consider one? Well, I guess it depends on your point of view (doesn’t it always?).
No one can deny that Lexus bolt a car together very well. So if you’re looking for a well-made, luxurious, quiet car that’s not necessarily inspiring to drive then Lexus is a good starting point. And if you want a luxury 4×4/SUV, but can’t bear the disapprobation of the tree-huggers and eco-loonies, then this is an equally good place to start. And if you want to avoid the congestion charge then it’s another reason to tick the box marked ‘Lexus RX450h’. But let’s not forget economy – the Lexus RX450h should do nearly 45mpg, so if you want economy it doesn’t get much better for this size, type and quality of car. So that’s narrowed it down then.
The cabin on the RX450h is actually a nice place to be. High-quality materials abound and you get the Lexus ‘Mouse-Touch’, a controller that fits neatly in your hand to control the screen interface. It works brilliantly until you find a particularly rough surface, when you’ll probably find the pitch and wallow end up with Kiss FM at full volume instead of Classic FM as background. But never mind – just stay away from the rough stuff. And you get lots of kit in the spec, including SatNav, high-end audio, LED headlights, head-up display and a nearside camera.
Actually, this Lexus has a pretty good turn of speed. It’s derived from a 246bhp, 3.5 litre V6 – a good engine. Throw in a couple of electric motors that add another 50bhp and you have a 2200kg 4×4 that will hustle to 60mph in 7.8 seconds (not at the same time as doing 44mpg, we hasten to add). You can even do the ‘Silent-Glide’ for up to two miles on just the electric motors after they’ve been fully charged from the regenerative braking (which should frighten the life out of people crossing the road who didn’t hear you coming). Just don’t try chucking it round the twisty stuff. It doesn’t like it.
So that’s the Lexus RX450h. The perfect car if you’re a slow-driving sybarite, have a tendency towards moral cowardice and have long pockets and short arms when it comes to everyday costs.
Come to think of it, I meet people like that every day. It should sell well!