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Car Review

Lexus RX (2015-2022) review

£44,391 - £63,600
610
Published: 15 Oct 2019
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The RX’s combined system output of 308bhp is enough to make it feel relatively swift - 0-62mph takes a claimed 7.7 seconds and the top speed is 124mph. Though it’s best to not work the engine too hard or the CVT automatic (continuously variable transmission) gearbox gets all droney.

To be fair, that CVT is an improvement on previous generations of the same thing. It’s 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.

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Better yet, just don’t accelerate/drive fast at all - Lexus’s hybrid system is at its most economical and refined around town, where the revs are kept low and more is made of the e-motor. Out on the open road the CVT is bit of a hindrance, and the artificial steps you can flick through with the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel are just plain irritating. As are the brakes, which are springy and can be difficult to roll onto/off of smoothly.

That said, 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 (once the revs have fallen), leaving you to waft along in comfort enjoying the decent Mark Levinson stereo system. Assuming you’ve worked out how to stick some music on (more on that later).

There is the choice of different drive modes ranging from Eco to Normal to Sport, all of which alter steering weight, throttle response and suspension stiffness. Eco also dials down the climate control to conserve energy. Models equipped with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) get Sport S and Sport S+ modes. This means reduced body roll and a stiffer ride for more schportiness. Ultimately, most will likely leave it in its Normal mode, and that’s how to experience the RX at its best.

Changes for the facelift include the use of more welding and structural adhesives to bond the chassis, giving better rigidity, new anti-roll bars, different damping and more electronic systems designed to keep things on the level. The RX does ride well and corners without rolling, pitching or heaving. Comfy is the operative word, rather than exciting or involving.

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In general, the RX works its hybrid system well, replenishing the battery at every available opportunity and idling the internal combustion engine more often than ever. Stick to using a light throttle and you’ll barely notice the V6 stopping and starting along the way. But you’ll be late for everything.

There is an EV mode, which uses only the battery to drive the car. But it’s a bit pointless as it doesn’t give any meaningful range and doesn’t let you accelerate quickly enough.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Lexus RX 450h 3.5 5dr CVT [Premium Sport Edition]
  • 0-627.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP313
  • MPG
  • Price£56,225

the cheapest

Lexus RX 450h 3.5 SE 5dr CVT Auto
  • 0-627.9s
  • CO2145.0g/km
  • BHP299
  • MPG44.8
  • Price£44,391

the greenest

Lexus RX 450h 3.5 Takumi 5dr CVT
  • 0-627.7s
  • CO2134.0g/km
  • BHP313
  • MPG
  • Price£61,450

Variants We Have Tested

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