Lexus RX450h+ review


Lexus has improved its global selling RX five-seat SUV. We’re testing the new 450h+ (plug in hybrid), a car that is effortless to drive, comfortable and spacious – so what’s the catch? Apart from its appearance what else makes the new RX stand out from the usual premium suspects from Audi, BMW and Mercedes – after all don’t they all pretty much do the same thing. The RX450h+ PHEV has two electric motors, all wheel drive ability yet its big selling point is relatively big hybrid battery that allows users to do most daily urban trips, up to 65km, in electric only EV mode. This ability is courtesy of its larger than usual 18.1kWh rechargeable battery. The ability of any car to run on electricity alone but particularly an SUV (as they are prone to being demonised by climate activists) has to be embraced. It is also comforting to know that should you need to go travel further afield in your comfy car you can – albeit thanks to a large 2.5 litre, four cylinder petrol engine. The RX450h+ PHEV is rated at an incredibly low 25g/km of CO2 for taxation purposes.

Outside, the new RX looks more crossover than SUV with styling that is smart and futuristic. The imposing sci—fi front end is quite architectural and borderline aggressive (something the actual car is not). For many potential buyers the mere fact the RX is not a German SUV is a major selling point. The Lexus has one or two quirks such as the soft touch assisted door handles. These have a premium feel inside and out and add a sense of theatre to entry and exit but a word of caution – they take a bit of adjusting too. As with the Lexus NX with the same system you will on more than one occasion have to tell passengers how to open their doors as they exit. This isn’t a very premium thing to have to do.

Inside the cabin is huge and wide – this width is clearly seen in the huge 612 litre boot where it will accept very wide loads with ease (e.g a bass guitar case sideways). The dash layout has not gone fully widescreen digital as many German rivals have, yet it has a very well integrated centre display that looks great and won’t freak out older buyers and more importantly the American market. It’s all very familiar Lexus switches and materials inside, with an excellent level of standard equipment and creature comforts. A heads up display is available to increase ‘Driver’s eyes on the road time’.

On the road the RX450h+ is an easy car to drive, very quiet, with light controls and a suspension set up that does not encourage ‘vulgar high speed dynamic driving’ (okay maybe that line was a little OTT) – but the reality is the big Lexus is an easy and civilised companion. 0-100km/h takes a mere 6.5 seconds yet it is the car’s potential miserly fuel consumption that is the most interesting stat – the RX450h+ can consume as little as 1.1l/100km, when used with a charged battery.

Lexus RX pricing starts from €89,070 (Luxury grade) rising to €97,680 (Premium grade). The Lexus RX450h+ ticks all the premium SUV boxes and only drivers desiring a sporty, dynamically interactive driving experience will be disappointed – that said, we found it a very agreeable car.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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