Express & Star

First Lexus hybrid powers ahead

It’s all about the numbers with this new RX, fifth generation, with a number of firsts. A key player in the Lexus stable, it is a striking luxury SUV, a road and car park presence impossible to ignore, particularly with the copper livery of this model.

Lexus RH 450h

It is the first plug-in hybrid RX, a first with a new multi-media touchscreen and a first with its new ‘spindle’ body profile.

The numbers keep coming as the RX became the world’s first luxury SUV in 1998 and is  historically its best-selling model worldwide.

The firm says the RX will help build the “Next Chapter” of the Lexus brand, one of three models will give the company its most comprehensive coverage yet of the D/E premium SUV market.

The latest RX retains its mixture of sharp creases and curves and now offers the latest plug-in technology.

Lexus RH 450h

How is it powered?

This combines a 2.4 litre petrol engine with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 18.1kWh capacity. An additional rear electric motor enables Lexus E-Four full- time all-wheel drive. This delivers 304bhp and powers the vehicle to 60mph in 6.5 seconds.

It is a slick, sleek looking design, with sculpted curves giving the aura of power, while the trademark spindle design on the front grille has been upgraded, with a bolder, more aggressive style.

It features trapezoidal headlamps, lower spoiler and 20-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels.

To the rear, the L-shaped LED light clusters extend forward from the tailgate into the rear wings and rear pillars have a blacked-out gloss finish to create a floating roof effect.

Inside the fixtures and fittings scream luxury with attention to the finest detail obvious throughout the light and airy cabin.

The plush upholstery, thick carpets and high-end soft touch finish to dash and doors  are complemented ambient lights that illuminate key controls to the intelligent climate control system.

One innovation which took some getting used to was the the new e-latch electronic door release system, which has to be pushedd, rather than pulled.

The cabin of this model features a central14-inch touchscreen.

It controls smartphone connectivity and remote services accessed via the latest Lexus Link Pro multimedia system with “always connected” services. This allows remote locking and unlocking of their car. It can also activate the air conditioning system to warm or cool the cabin prior to a starting a journey.

It also controls the swish 21-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound audio.

The touch screen is complemented by the instrument cluster’s multi-information display. The ambient illumination changes according to the drive mode selected – blue for Eco and Normal and red for Sport S and Sport S+, otherwise, it’s a comfortable and luxurious place to be.

All models feature a comprehensive list of equipment, which is what you would expect from a premium motor.

On the road, real-world economy simply depends on the style of driving and how often and for how long the car is powered solely on electric power.   Fort this test around the 50 mark seemed the case., with low emissions of 26 g/km.

Lexus RH 450h
Lexus RH 450h
Lexus RH 450h
Lexus RH 450h

The beauty of plug-ins is that they can safely navigate low emission areas without attracting a charge, but offer plenty of power outside of those areas.

The range is 42 miles, with all-electric driving possible at speeds up to 80mph.

Not only that road and wind noise are virtually absent, and for such vehicle, handling characteristics are good.

The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), featured as standard on this model provides independent damping control at each wheel, giving a more comfortable ride on uneven surfaces, higher damping force when turning and flat ride stability.

Like all SUVs, it is a practical vehicle and has decent if not over generous load space with the seats in place of 496 litres.

How good is the storage space?

The single touch tumble system allows the rear seats to be folded or split 40-20-40 and create masses of extra space.

On high spec models the air suspension can also be lowered so heavy objects can be lifted out more easily, while the tailgate is electrically powered.

As well as the array of hi-tech equipment, reversing aids and sound systems safety equipment is of the highest standard with a full set of airbags and traction and braking assistance ts.


  • Price: £54,190

  • Mechanical: 3,456cc, 295bhp V6 petrol engine and electric motors driving all wheels via E-CVT automatic transmission

  • 0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds.

  • Top speed: 124 mph.

  • Combined MPG: 47.8 mpg.

  • Insurance group: 41.

  • CO2 emissions: 134 g/km.

  • Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles.

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