The Lexus RX is a well-built, luxurious SUV that’s only available as a hybrid. It’s very comfortable for four people, but let down by a relatively small boot and the lack of a diesel engine
The Lexus RX is a well-built SUV that swaps sporty styling and driving aspirations in favour of being well built and extremely comfortable.
From the outside, the Lexus’ lustrous paint and bold chrome grille make it look posh, but not as showy as an Audi Q7 or BMW X5.
It’s more tasteful from the inside, too, with wood trim pieces favoured over the brushed aluminium panels you might find in a BMW or Audi.
The dashboard has an asymmetric design that’s quite appealing, but it’s the standard of fit and finish that really shines through. Gaps between trim pieces are so consistent they look like they’ve been measured using lasers, and the curved slab of wood in Premier models is hand picked by the same craftsmen who build Yamaha pianos.
Perhaps these piano builders also designed the infotainment, because it clearly wasn’t put together by anyone who knows a great deal about electronics, because the Lexus’s joystick control system is fiddly to use and the screen’s graphics are too low resolution for an expensive car like this.
On a more positive note, the front seats are brilliant. They’re electrically adjustable, heated and cooled on all but entry-level models. The back seats have room for six-footers, and they slide back and recline to give your passengers more knee room and comfort on long journeys.
Sadly, although the boot space is a reasonable size, it’s significantly down on capacity compared to the BMW and the Audi, which might call for some strategic packing if you’re planning a fortnight away with the family.
The Lexus RX gives you more pampering than a weekend away at a five-star hotel
Faced with a long drive though, you’ll be extremely happy to climb aboard the RX. Its cabin is quiet, the suspension absorbs bumps well at higher speeds and it’s also very safe.
The Lexus hybrid motor can carry you through town in silent electric mode, before switching to a smooth 3.5-litre six-cylinder petrol that can waft you along effortlessly at higher speeds – the only downside is it can’t match a diesel’s fuel economy on long-distance drives.
That said, it is quick, but the Lexus isn’t a car you’ll want to drive fast. It leans in bends and has light controls that focus on comfort rather than feedback.
But that’s fine in a car that’s going to spend most of its time transporting the family – who’ll definitely appreciate the RX’s excellent comfort. Factor in the Lexus’ brilliant build quality, hybrid engine and the level of equipment you get as standard in top-of-the-range models, and it’s hard to understand why more people don’t have an RX parked on their drive.