The Lexus RX is a comfortable car that’ll leave you feeling relaxed after long journeys. It’s not remotely sporty though, and the lack of a diesel engine is annoying
The Lexus RX is only available with petrol-electric hybrid engine. The lack of a diesel option means no model will provide brilliant fuel economy on a long motorway run.
Surprisingly for a car of its generous proportions, it’s in town where the RX really feels at home. Its silent electric motor can power the car for a few miles on battery power alone, making it very relaxing to drive.
Asking a Lexus RX to drive quickly down a country road is like asking a P&O ferry to compete the America’s Cup
Get up to higher speeds and the electric motor makes way for a 3.5-litre petrol V6 that you’ll only ever hear as a constant hum when overtaking. On top of that, the hybrid can return decent fuel economy of 44mpg in the real world – not far off the 51.4mpg the company claims.
The other engine you can pick – the 238hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the 200T – is less convincing. It doesn’t move the RX along with the same effortlessness as the hybrid model and it’ll also cost more to run – Lexus reckons it’ll get fuel economy of 36.2mpg but you can wipe 10mpg off that in real-world driving.
But if you have no interest in emulating Lewis Hamilton on the school run, the Lexus RX will be right up your street.
In town, its high body gives you a decent view out the front of the car, the controls are light and easy to handle at low speeds and the silent electric motor makes the RX the perfect place to unwind after a hard day at the office.
Granted, the RX’s small rear windscreen and large pillars on either side of it do block your view slightly when pulling out of junctions or overtaking on the motorway, but the standard reversing camera means parking is easy. The only other complaint is suspension that can occasionally jolt over sharp bumps.
As the speeds rise however, the suspension smooths out bumpy country roads and motorways very well. Factor in the RX’s quiet interior, and how comfortable the padded seats are, and the Lexus is the kind of car you could drive hundreds of miles without feeling the least bit stressed.
For ultimate peace of mind it’s also good to know it has a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Standard safety features include active cruise control – that can slow the car when it detects traffic braking in front – lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking that can detect cars as well as people.
It’s only when you’re looking for excitement of a less extreme level that the RX comes up short because it suffers from plenty of body lean in bends and the slow steering means it doesn’t feel particularly enthusiastic on country roads.
Less of an issue is the fact that the RX isn’t a proper off-roader like a Land Rover Discovery. Sure, it comes with four-wheel drive that’ll be handy on slippery winter roads, but the Lexus won’t tackle the extreme conditions a Land Rover can and it can only tow a 2,000kg trailer to the 3,500kgs the Discovery can haul.