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Lexus RX Review

Lexus RX Tested March 2016

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Quick Summary

Recommended. As a luxury SUV it’s up there with the best – but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not expensive to run.

Road Test

Oh Lexus, why do you do this to us?

We want to love the new RX, but its petrol-drinking habit makes it hard to.

But let’s start with the good stuff.

The fresh RX has plenty of Lexus’ good bits – the cabin quality is superb, there’s a bucket load of fantastic technology and it looks good.

On the inside things are most certainly in that luxury SUV camp – Lexus has aimed high and achieved it.

Interior quality is a serious rival to the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, for example, and it’s better than the Range Rover Evoque.

It feels quality throughout, whereas some Lexus models don’t quite feel that way.

There’s plenty of room, particularly in the back thanks to a flat floor, and the boot is capacious.

The masterpiece of the inside is the huge screen that sits in pride of place in the centre of the dash.

It houses a top-notch sat nav system, as well as digital radio – which features a neat rewind function – all of the info about the car and plenty more.

It’s one of the best around and there’s plenty more tech to enjoy – intelligent cruise, a wireless phone charger, lots of driver assistance and safety features, a power tailgate and electronically controlled, self-levelling, four-position air suspension.

When it comes to power your choices are simple – the 450h with hybrid tech and the 200t with a boggo 2.0-litre petrol.

While the latter is the cheaper option and is no slouch, getting to 62mph in 9.2 seconds, mpg of 36 and CO2 of 181g/km aren’t going to win you many friends in the green camp.

With that in mind you’ll probably be tempted to go hybrid and here it’s a hefty 3.5-litre V6 attached to an electric motor.

On paper it’s a beauty – with 7.7 seconds enough to get you to 62mph.

But, while progress is indeed pretty rapid and effortless, you don’t really feel like you’ve got six honking great cylinders in front of you.

And although CO2 is much better, at 127g/km, hybrid tech just doesn’t really work in a car like this.

Lexus claims 51 to the gallon and, because it’s a hybrid, that figure is supposed to stay steady in all driving environments.

That being the case, we were hopeful of great things, but, after nearly 500 miles our pockets were a lot lighter than we would have liked.

That distance was about a third rural and urban driving and about two thirds motorway cruise.

Our overall mpg was 27.

In this day and age that just isn’t good enough when a rival model with a decent diesel engine will easily sit between 40-50mpg.

But maybe if you’re spending this sort of cash on your SUV you’re not bothered about that.

Keen drivers, though, will still find the CVT automatic gearbox a slight source of frustration.

It’s fairly well-behaved attached to this much power, but is still ear-splittingly rev-happy at times.

But the RX is a nifty, assured, hugely comfortable drive and certainly a car in which you can soak up the long haul with absolute ease.

As good as it is in most areas, the RX is still what Lexus often is – an alternative choice rather than an obvious one.

Unless you’ve got a real thing for hybrid power you’ll still be equally, if not more, rewarded by rivals, which also include the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne.

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