First Drive: Lexus RX 450h — Green Creds In A Sharp Suit

By Jobo

After years of waiting and rumours galore, Lexus is finally here in India. The Japanese carmaker has brought three vehicles into India, and the fourth-generation RX is the best looking one of the lot.

Introduced in 1996, the RX soon became the best selling model lineup for the Japanese car brand. The RX 450h was first introduced in 2010, and like the rest of the RX lineup underwent an extreme makeover, that transformed it into one of the sharpest looking SUVs on the planet.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

So, despite its price tag, does the RX450h have what it takes to take on its German rivals and Volvo (the XC90 is the only other hybrid in the segment)? Is the new Lexus RX450h the perfect hybrid SUV for India or is it another utility vehicle that's trying to be green.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Exterior

There is no denying the fact that the RX 450h is a looker. The RX's design isn't for the faint of heart and helps the SUV grab eyeballs everywhere it goes.

Dominating the front end of the RX 450h is the massive chrome framed honeycomb spindle grille. Flanking the grille, are sharp angular LED headlamps that feature distinctive L-shaped DRLs.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Sharp character lines run across the sides of the SUV giving the Lexus RX450h a rather sculpted look. One of these lines passes by the illuminated door handles which alloweasier access in the dark. The blacked-out C-pillar gives the illusion of a floating roof. The muscular wheel arches play host to 18-inch 7-spoke aluminium wheels.

At the rear, the stylised tail lamps wrap around the corners of the rear end of the SUV giving it a much wider look. Connecting the tail lights is the narrow strip of chrome. The Lexus badge at the rear plays host to a sensor that allows for hands-free access to the 453-litre boot.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Interior

The interior of the Lexus RX450h radiates opulence. The F-Sport variant (which we tested) features red leather everywhere you look along with aluminium, wood and chrome trim pieces.

The front seats of the Lexus RX450h are large and comfortable. The leather seats can be adjusted in 10 different ways and offer lumbar support and loads of support and can be cooled and heated as per the passenger's preference.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

The low-slung dashboard allows for good visibility while driving. Sitting on top of the off-set centre console is a 12.3-inch infotainment display.

Controlling the display is the Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) controller which looks like a joystick and works more like a mouse. The infotainment display is connected to a 15-speaker Mark Levinson Audio System which will blow the mind of many an audiophile.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

The rear seats are supportive and can at the press of a button recline. Rear legroom is more than sufficient, however, headroom can be an issue for taller customers due to the sloping roofline.

Road and wind noise are kept to a minimum as well, thanks to the double glazed windows and other features include the large panoramic roof that allows for an ample amount of light to stream into the cabin when needed.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

The Lexus RX450h comes with multiple safety features including ten different Airbags (Driver, front passenger, driver knee, front passenger cushion, front side, rear side and curtain). Other safety features include multi-terrain ABS, cruise control, parking cameras and sensors and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Performance

The Lexus RX450h is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine which is helped along by two electric motors. The combined hybrid powertrain pushes out 308bhp and 335Nm of torque which is sent to all four wheels by an e-CVT gearbox. The RX450h comes with multiple driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport +.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Start the Lexus RX 450h and you're greeted by the sound of silence. The electric motors handle driving duties for just a few kilometres before the twin-turbo V6 kicks in and starts helping out while charging the motor at the same time (helped along by the regenerative braking).

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Lexus claims that the RX450h will accelerate from 0-100kmph in 7.7 seconds and that the hybrid SUV will continue sprinting till it tops out at 200kmph. While the initial push is quite noticeable thanks to the electric motors, the expected violence as the revs climb never happens.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

Bring the RX 450h onto the highways and the hybrid SUV shows off its true colours, rolling over undulations as if they didn't exist.

While the soft suspension is great on the highway, it isn't that helpful on twisty roads. Switching to the Sport+ mode though cuts down on the body roll and allows drivers to handle the curves with a lot more ease.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

DriveSpark Thinks!

The Lexus RX 450h is the complete package. Combining stunning design with oodles of luxury and the uttermost attention to safety, the RX 450h also includes thoughtful features like a full-sized spare alloy wheel (a feature on all three Lexus models on sale in India), something its European rivals tend to forget.

Lexus RX 450h Review - First Drive Report

At Rs 1.07 crore ex-showroom (Delhi), the RX 450h butts heads with the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace and the Porsche Macan and the BMW X6. While not as dynamic as its European rivals, the Lexus RX 450h adds a green quotient into the luxury SUV battle and may just be the perfect luxury SUV for those looking to stand out in a crowd.

Click the photo gallery above to view all the images from our drive of the Lexus RX 450h F Sport.

English
Article Published On: Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 12:40 [IST]
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