tempting running costs for private and fleet drivers mean it’ll make a lot of peoples’ shortlists
- Low CO2 hybrid model drives well
- Quiet, comfortable and refined
- Five-star crash test rating
- Lots of standard kit
- Difficult to make a case for 200t version
- No plug-in hybrid option
- Expensive list price
- Infotainment system feels old already
Lexus claims the RX was the first premium hybrid SUV, but forget that for a second. The fact is, the third generation of this distinctive family car is priced alongside seriously capable opposition in the form of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Volvo XC90.
Though such illustrious company is going to be difficult to beat in terms of outright desirability or even cabin quality, we think this new Lexus offers a more tempting package when it comes to value-for-money – just so long as you can get over the imposing ‘spindle’ grille and origami-spec styling lines.
Sensible choice is RX 450h
Unlike the previous version, you’ve got a choice of two powertrains here, but we’d suggest the RX 450h hybrid is the only one worthy of consideration. It’s quieter, cheaper to run and better to drive than the petrol-only 200t. With CO2 output of as little as 120g/km and fuel economy a claimed 54mpg, fleet drivers are a key market for the new RX as well as trying to tempt private buyers away from their beloved established premium brands.
There’s the option of adaptive suspension, which again works better on the hybrid, but does a decent job of blurring the lines between comfortable cruiser and sporty SUV.
We came away impressed with the refinement inside the RX, with more sound deadening and acoustic glass matching the hybrid powertrain’s quieter running.
Safe, Sound and Sturdy
Less capable is the infotainment system, which uses a 12.3-inch screen to display curiously old-fashioned graphics. It’s controlled using the latest iteration of Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface – a small pillow-shaped control – but we found it clunky and counter-intuitive to operate. We did love the Mark Levinson sound system on top-spec Premier models, integrating beautifully with the cabin and sounding fantastic, but you’ll pay a lot for the privilege.
A recent winner of a five-star Euro NCAP award, you’re not left wanting for safety equipment. As we alluded to earlier, each trim level comes with an impressive amount of toys compared to its rivals, too.
Of course, one thing you can certainly count on with any Lexus product – the firm being the luxury wing of Toyota – is reliability. It’s finished particularly well too, so while some of the materials on offer don’t feel as high-brow as the competition, the way they’re put together in the cabin never fails to impress.
Should I buy one?
So does the 2016 Lexus RX do enough to tempt buyers away from more established premium brands? It offers something different – you can tell that just by looking at it – and tempting running costs for private and fleet drivers mean it’ll make a lot of peoples’ shortlists.
To find out what it’s like in more detail, read on for the full Lexus RX review.