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The Top Gear car review:Lexus RX
For:Great interior with build quality to match, comfortable ride
Against:Only available as a petrol hybrid, not as sharp handling as its rivals
What is it?
If you’re 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 we’re used to seeing from Lexus has been turned down a notch for the RX. It’s 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 doesn’t feel cluttered. In the newer RX L version, the section beyond the rear doors is all that’s 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 that’s best suited to kids in the rearmost chairs. Saying that, with all the seats in use, there’s 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 L’s 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. Don’t expect blistering performance, though, as this is optimised for refinement and economy. All-wheel drive is a bonus.