What is it?If youre looking for a five- or seven-seat SUV that mixes premium quality with hybrid tech then the Lexus RX could be right up your school run. The Japanese brand has been at the hybrid stuff since 2004 and these days the RX offers close to diesel-like fuel economy without the need to plug in anything. Surely the dream for prospective SUV buyers?The unapologetically edgy styling that were used to seeing from Lexus has been turned down a notch for the RX. Its still more eye-catching than most other SUVs in the class, though, and its relative rarity helps it stand out in a crowd.Aside from an infotainment system that looks dated and is a bit fiddly to use, the layout of the dash is good and doesnt feel cluttered. In the newer RX L version, the section beyond the rear doors is all thats changed. A stretch that increases overall length by 110mm combines with a more upright rear window to help squeeze in a third row of seats. Like many others, it is more of a five-plus-two seating arrangement thats best suited to kids in the rearmost chairs. Saying that, with all the seats in use, theres still enough boot space for two golf bags behind.Most people are unlikely to spot the difference between the standard and long RX in passing, but the easiest way to tell them apart is that the RX Ls rear wiper moves from the top to the bottom of the glass. Now you know; go forth and amaze your buddies with your car knowledge.In a world still focused on downsizing, the prospect of a 3.5-litre petrol V6 SUV would seem daft were it not for the hybrid powertrain. Dont expect blistering performance, though, as this is optimised for refinement and economy. All-wheel drive is a bonus.What is it like on the road?Lexus keeps things simple for the RX range, offering just one powertrain. Its not going to worry rival SUVs with AMG or BMW M badges, but the Lexus is silky smooth on the move. Its combined system output of 308bhp is enough to make it feel brisk, though its best to not work the engine too hard as its CVT automatic (continuously variable transmission) prefers to make use of the torque instead.To be fair, that CVT is an improvement on previous generations of the same thing. Its slightly counterintuitive, but the most efficient way to drive fast with this hybrid is to accelerate hard, get the car up to speed as quickly as you can and then cruise along with the revs falling back down to an acceptable level.Motorway journeys are nothing short of serene in the RX, assuming your passengers are keeping quiet. Wind and tyre noise are suitably muted, as is the drivetrain, leaving you to waft along in comfort enjoying the decent Mark Levinson stereo system.There is the choice of different drive modes ranging from Eco to Normal to Sport, and these all perform subtle changes to the drive systems as you might expect. Not only does Eco moderate the throttle response, but it dials down the climate control to conserve energy.In general, the RX works its hybrid system well, replenishing the battery at any available opportunity. Stick to using a light throttle and youll barely notice the V6 stopping and starting along the way.Models equipped with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) get Sport S and Sport S+ modes over the regular Sport. This means reduced body roll and a stiffer ride for more enthusiastic drives. Ultimately, most will likely leave it in its Normal mode, and thats how to experience the RX at its best. On the larger 20-inch alloy wheels the ride comfort is good, and versions riding on 18s should improve that further. To maximise that, the driver can select the EV mode, which uses only the battery to drive the car, but the range is very limited in both driving distance and speed.On the insideWhen it comes to interiors, few do them as well as Lexus. Its designers practice omotenashi, which translates as offering the best hospitality without the expectation of reward. You climb up a little into the supportive drivers seat and the view ahead is excellent, with little obstruction and generously sized door mirrors giving plenty of rearward visibility – even if the rear window is a tad shallow.The seats, aside from the sportier versions in the RXs F Sport spec, are akin to armchairs and add to the high levels of comfort. They can be heated or cooled, should you so desire.All bar the base models get the Premium Navigation 12.3-inch display. Its controlled via a quirky touchpad as ever, which is comfortable to use (theres even a pad to rest your hand on), but its nowhere near as smooth or easy to navigate your way around as rotary-based controllers like BMWs iDrive.That aside, every button and switch exudes quality; the volume knob, for example, is more like something on a high-end home stereo system. You wont hear any squeaks and rattles in here.Passenger space is equally good, with plenty of head- and legroom complemented by generous door apertures. In the RX L, accessing the third-row seating isnt that tricky; the middle row seats tilt and slide forward in one movement and can be set along a 150mm range to give those sat further back some extra space.Where the RX L gets an edge over many other seven-seaters is that the rear seats are not only power operated, but get their own cupholders and air conditioning controls to keep the cool kids at the back of the bus, um, cool.With all seven seats in place, there is still some boot space available (211 litres), certainly enough for a golf bag, buggy or several backpacks. Otherwise, in the RX L, you get 652 litres in the five-seat mode when the middle row is slid all the way forward, a good deal more than the 539 litres you get in the regular RX.VerdictConsidering the relatively small additional cost to upgrade to the RX L, and the extra features that brings, we see that as the model to choose. So long as you realise that, while it is possible to fit two adults in the back, they might ruin the cars refinement by complaining the whole journey.Regardless of version, the Lexus RX is geared towards comfort, efficiency and refinement. Hustle it along, and it will begin to show some of its dynamic shortcomings. Nonetheless, few premium SUVs feel as well nailed together as the Lexus does, and given the companys track record for hybrid systems, it should prove to be trouble-free motoring.