New Lexus RX

Third incarnation of Lexus SUV breaks cover in LA

There's probably been a better time to launch a full-size luxury SUV, especially in a US gripped by financial crises and rising fuel costs. But nevertheless, the all-new Lexus RX has been brought into the world at the LA Auto Show.

In a reposte to negative four-wheel drive vibes, though, the range is now all-hybrid - this RX450h replacing both RX350 and RX400h models in the UK. It's not all about good publicity, either - current RX sales here are 94 per cent hybrid, so blanketing the range with that little 'h' makes all sorts of sense.

Little is known about this new version, but expect both performance (208bhp, 212lb ft, 124mph, 7.6sec to 62mph) and economy (35mpg, 192g/km) of the current 3.3-litre V6 hybrid RX to improve, with a slight rise over the car's £36k price. The new RX should go on sale in the middle of 2009, by which point it will be much closer to finally gaining a petrol-hybrid rival in the SUV market.

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