The Lexus RX450h is a car which seems to embody two conflicting views, that of fuel efficiency in a large 4x4 vehicle. The previous model was very successful, especially in London where it neatly sidestepped Boris Johnsons congestion charges, however with the exemption for hybrids now being reviewed does anyone really want to be left with one?
The answer to that is probably yes. Regardless of how uninspiring the car is, and the £41,600 starting price the new Lexus RX450h has some pretty decent figures to back it up. Compared to the car it replaces, power is up 10% to 295bhp, but fuel economy improves by 23% to 44.8mpg and CO2 emissions fall from 198g/km to 148g/km. That’s Focus RS power, with better economy and emissions than a Focus 1.4.
The eco-drive system in the new Lexus RX450h is one of the top available in its class, displaying symbols which indicate how green you are driving, this is then followed by a handy score as you finish your to compare how green you drove in comparison to your last three journeys. This again seems to be a giant contradiction in terms in that surely if I was that concerned about the environment that I wanted a rating for my driving, I would buy a Toyota Prius, or ride a bike and not choose a two ton 4x4.
Outside the Lexus RX450h is about as aesthetically pleasing as a lamp post, and inside for a car of this size and weight, room isn’t great. The cabin is quite nice but would be far from receiving any awards for interior design, with large expanses of plastic interspersed with some light touches of mahogany. The big news is the arrival of the Remote Touch mouse-like controller for the main display screen, which fits your hand beautifully but works less impressively in practice.
The ride of the car is very good, and the acceleration of 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds is quite impressive, though it must be said but that’s pretty much the extent of qualities that can be given to the drive, as steering is about as responsive as a drunk.
The engineering element of this car is seriously very good, however I’m unsure why anyone would want a car that is this big and cumbersome yet has the cheek to tell you you’re driving too fast by colour codes. This job which had been sole responsibility of the female gender has now been stolen from them by a Lexus.
If you want an environmentally friendly car then I would look else where, however if you truly want a 4x4 and don’t want to be a hate figure to the Guardian readership then this hybrid car might just be for you.