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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Behind the wheel of the Lexus TX is arguably the worst seat in the house, but that’s mainly because anyone there has to pay attention to the task of driving. For all of the “no compromise” talk Lexus puts forth, there’s little about the TX and its behavior that encourages anything sportier than a quick lane change. With that said, it’s only bad because drivers can’t fully luxuriate in how docile the ride is overall.

So it’s comfortable?

Oh yes. In a fully equipped 550h+, the pairing of the variable suspension and electrified driving makes highway jaunts blissful, with any semblance of switching between power sources masked behind a thorough amount of sound baffling. It nearly does that thing where it’s so plush and silent, it disconnects you from the outside world which, as a passenger, is super but freaky from a driver’s perspective.

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Around town, the TX avoids feeling too ponderous thanks to its versatile platform, rounding tight city corners and handling town roads with relative ease. There isn’t escaping the sheer volume of the car, however, but thankfully a host of parking cameras and sensors give drivers a lift up when it comes to situational awareness.

How are the other powertrains?

The 2.4T and eight-speed automatic is nice, with decent low-end torque and silky smooth shifts. You might wish for more power when you're accelerating onto the highway or trying to punch the throttle to get through the light that just turned yellow, but 99 per cent of the time, the TX 350 is all you'll ever need.

That said the TX 500h is pretty compelling, not just for its added oomph, but the smoothness of the hybrid system. Lexus - and parent company Toyota - has a long history of making great hybrids, and these decades of refinement are apparent in the TX 500h. This setup works with a six-speed automatic transmission rather than the 350's eight-speed, and once again, gear-changes are imperceptible. The 500h is pretty clutch, and 27mpg combined in an SUV this size is solid.

How’s the hybrid’s fuel efficiency?

The TX 550h+ could do worse… but not by much. Even when you stretch the word “estimated” as far as it goes, a claimed 28mpg is hardly a game-changing improvement. Such is the trade-off when twinning a V6 with a battery.

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So which should I get?

You know, while PHEVs make a ton of sense for a lot of people, the TX is best with the parallel hybrid setup. The plug-in TX 550h+ has 33 miles of fully electric range, sure, but the operation of the engine is really coarse. The 3.5-liter V6 is kind of a dog and the continuously variable transmission just drones away at high revs when you lay into the throttle, and you can really feel the extra 400 pounds of weight the 550h+ carries around compared to the 500h.

Can the TX tow?

Sure can. Good news, too: every version of the Lexus TX is rated to tow the same 5,000 pounds, regardless of engine type or number of driven wheels.

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