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Long-term review

Lexus RX 450h - long-term review

£67,100 / £81,600 as tested / £524pcm
Published: 13 May 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Lexus RX 450h Takumi

  • ENGINE

    2487cc

  • BHP

    304.4bhp

  • 0-62

    6.5s

Lexus RX 500h

The Lexus is currently with TG’s art editor Elliott Webb, who needed something suitable for a family Easter break. But I’m wondering how suitable it really is. Elliott is much younger than me, lives in a fashionably urban London postcode, and hasn’t had a haircut in some time. His other half works for a majorly vogueish cosmetics company. Judging by Lexus’s recent ad campaign and the messaging around the LBX, it’s aiming for a younger, hipper demographic, but there’s no getting round its deeply sensible brand perception. Years of topping customer satisfaction surveys confirms that Lexus makes profoundly well-engineered products, and also knows how to look after its customers. But whither the excitement?

It depends how you get your kicks. Nothing this side of the Range Rover or Rolls-Royce Cullinan can touch the RX500h in terms of overall refinement and isolation. I may be a lone voice in a wilderness here, but I’ve never really seen the point of high performance SUVs, even ones that handle well. Give me a more laid-back character, amplify the sense of authority, ladle on the luxury by all means, but what’s the point of aiming all that mass and sub-optimal centre-of-gravity down a B-road? That’s what an Alpine A110 is for.

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The 500h is supposedly the sportiest Lexus RX, but it can’t – won’t – back-track on the company’s core dynamic attributes, so it’s comfort-oriented, turns in and grips better than you might think without flooding your senses, and feels imperturbable. But it doesn’t really want to hustle, its adaptive dampers keeping things level but rocking the occupants noticeably side-to-side on the B-roads I regularly use close to my north Essex base.

About them. They’re ruined, and I’m calling out Essex Highways here. We’ve replaced two punctured tyres in the past three years, which is expensive and inconvenient. Spare a thought for Sir Rod Stewart, who got so fed up with the holes near his Old Harlow home that he pulled on the hi-vis jacket, rustled up a few mates and sorted the mess himself. Ferrari alloy wheels are not cheap, after all.

But it’s a deadly serious matter. Two years ago I had to swerve off the road to avoid an oncoming car, whose driver claimed she had been swerving around a pothole. My home area is also very popular with cyclists, and the risk to life and limb is real. In the period between 2018 and 2022, 451 people were severely injured or killed due to pothole-related incidents in England, Scotland, and Wales. All politics is local, they say, and sorting our crumbling roads is a cause most of us can get behind. A shout-out here to Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole, who’s been banging this drum since March 2013. The worst one he’s campaigned to fix was almost 14 metres long, in Boston, Lincolnshire.

Of course, heavier cars aren’t helping. Back to the A110.

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