Lexus RX review - parsimonious SUV is still no driving machine - Performance and 0-60 time

Luxury SUV is now available with a 2-litre turbocharged engine, but hybrid is still the car to go for

Evo rating
Price
from £39,995
  • Luxurious and eco-friendly with lots of equipment
  • Not particularly exciting, turbo engine lacks sparkle

An SUV with more of an eye on shaving emissions than tenths off the school-run time, the RX 450h still manages to reach 62mph in a credible 7.7 seconds, on the way to a 124mph maximum speed. To achieve that it’ll be draining its battery faster than the loser on the Duracell bunny adverts using both its electric motors and the engine in unison.

The back axle gets its drive from an electric motor, while another electric motor and 3.5-litre V6 drive the front wheels through a planetary gearset that mixes petrol and electric power. The general feel is similar to that of a continuously-variable transmission.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

That CVT is likely to limit your desire to do repeated runs against the clock, as it launches the V6 to its peak power revs and holds it there to get the most of its performance. There’s the option to artificially step the transmission with a sequential shift mode, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel the need to. Think of the RX 450h as transport then, as opposed to something you’ll want to drive quickly. It’s more suited to lounging, if only its suspension wasn’t so busy.

Keep the pace more sedate and it's hushed, the EV-only mode working at town speeds and for up to a mile. You’ll be doing well to get near that distance though, as it operates more like a stop-start system with added boost to the engine rather than more recent plug-in hybrid vehicles with their more useful electric-only ranges.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The RX 200t is the new addition with this generation of RX, but its performance isn't headline-grabbing: it takes 9.2 seconds to reach 60mph, and that's on paper - in the real world, it feels more lethargic and does little to coerce you into exploring all of its potential. In automatic mode it tends to hang onto gears too long, wheezing its way to the limiter instead of riding the unit's torque - you're better-off changing gears manually. The V6 of the hybrid is a much nicer powerplant to use.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/honda-civic-type-r-limited-edition-revealed-amongst-range-wide-updates
Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition revealed amongst range-wide updates

Our hopes have been addressed and more, as Honda launches two more Civic Type R versions at the top and tail of the range
20 Feb 2020
Visit/bmw/3-series/202267/new-bmw-m340d-xdrive-saloon-and-touring-revealed-with-516lb-ft-of-torque
BMW 3 Series

New BMW M340d xDrive Saloon and Touring revealed

BMW has released its range-topping black pump 3-series models, with a predictably impressive torque figure
20 Feb 2020
Visit/porsche/cayman/202238/porsche-cayman-gts-40-2020-review-a-cut-price-cayman-gt4
Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review - a cut-price Cayman GT4? 

The 2020 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 regains its flat-six and therefore top-billing in the class. It’s a brilliant package for those whom a GT4 is a bit to…
16 Feb 2020
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019