Lexus RX

The Essentials

  • Price from £44,495
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 44.8mpg
  • What is it? A luxury 4x4 that's also green and cheap to run - no, really.

Great

  • Heaps of standard equipment
  • Space for five and their luggage
  • Low running costs

Gripes

  • It's not exactly inspiring to drive
  • The CVT gearbox can takes some getting used to
  • The ride is too fidgety
  • Drive

    Plenty of power, but the ride and handling are disapoointing

  • Inside

    Infotainment system is really awkward to use

  • Safety

    There are enough airbags and safety devices to keep even the most nervous of drivers happy

  • Reliability

    Not as classy as rivals, but ownership experience is among the best in the business

  • Space

    Lots of space for four adults, five at a push

  • Standard and extras

    Lexus has been very generous with kit, even at this money

  • What's it like to drive?

    The RX will run on battery power along for short periods but its normal role is to support the V6 petrol engine. Together, they give the RX impressive pace and flexibility.
    Under battery-power alone, the RX is eerily quiet, especially to passers-by. Things don't get much noisier when the petrol engine kicks in, unless you hit the throttle hard, when the CVT gearbox works the engine extremely hard. There's some wind noise on the motorway but otherwise the cabin is well isolated from exterior noises.
    The ride isn't as relaxing, though, because the car feels way too jittery on all surfaces. Cars on air suspension are a little better, but they're still not smooth. Body control is pretty strong, but the steering is devoid of feel and the tyres don't grip as well as they should.

  • What's it like inside?

    The dashboard is reasonably attractive and the quality is generally good, although the interior isn't as posh as those in other premium brands. Lexus's infotainment interface is called Remote Touch and is operated via a mouse-like controller. It's way more distracting than the dial-operated systems of BMW and Audi, because you have to be accurate with the cursor - while driving a car.
    The hybrid system's batteries are stored under the rear seats, so the boot is decent rather than generous. The back seats fold flat easily, though, and there's plenty of space for three children across the back, plus lots of space and cubbyholes up front.
    SE models provide dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry, a nine-speaker stereo with CD changer, Bluetooth, xenon headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. Luxury trim adds sat-nav plus front and rear parking sensors, and more stereo speakers. F Sport includes sportier styling while Premium cars have air-suspension, a sunroof and even more gizmos.

  • How reliable is it?

    Lexus has consistently topped the JD Power customer satisfaction survey (owners love the cars and the dealers) and the RX was voted as the best in its class in the 2012 study. Every model gets an impressive ten airbags, including curtain airbags that run the length of the cabin and knee 'bags at the front of the car. Laminated side glass is a safety and security bonus.

  • Should I buy one?

    Although the car is pricey to buy, residual values are strong and the hybrid drivetrain means high mpg and low CO2. However, a diesel-powered BMW X3 will still be cheaper to run.