Lexus in lap of

luxury

Lexus RX 450h, 2016, side
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, front, static
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, rear
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, interior
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, dashboard
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, badge

BIG4x4s are lovely and comfortable but they go round the corners like a yacht under full sail don't they?

Oh no they don't - at least not the Lexus RX 450h - which hardly rolls at all and tracks through corners at high speed with very good grip and balance.

This is thanks to its standard air suspension, which gives the kind of body control normally reserved for the best of saloons, while also managing sumptuous comfort.

It's just one of the RX's many tricks, but sadly I could never own one.

That horrible gaping mouth of a grill is just too ugly - as if it was drawn by a teenager who'd been watching too many zombie films.

Other manufacturers like Volvo have also now caught up and passed this hybrid RX. The XC90 T8 hybrid is in the same price range, with the same comfort and the same huge safety and high spec.

Yet it's plug-in technology offers much higher economy, much lower emissions and lower benefit in kind tax.

Apart from the front view though, the RX has just about everything most owners could want, with every safety device on the market - even including front radar to warn of impending collisions and slam on the emergency anchors.

Under the bonnet is a silky smooth petrol V6, and that's supplemented by two electric motors, with drive to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic gearbox.

At low speeds and in slow traffic, as long as there is charge in the batteries, the electric motors give zero emissions.

But they only have a range of about a mile before the V6 starts up to charge the batteries again.

The smooth and immensely quiet combination gives an average economy of 51.4mpg and emissions of just 127 grammes per kilometre.

That equates to an annual tax cost for most business users of £4,600 with a benefit in kind rating of 20 per cent and 12 months road duty.

Performance is more than adequate in almost every situation and refinement is brilliant, with little road or wind noise and almost nothing from the engine or drivetrain.

Inside all is unashamed luxury and the cockpit has enough dials for a fighter jet. There are wonderfully heated and cooled leather seats, a wood and leather covered heated multi-function steering wheel and analogue-look digital instruments.

These have an eco meter to help conserve fuel, but put the gearbox into sport mode and up pops a tachometer instead.

There's plenty of room for four or five and the boot is big enough for all their luggage.

Other kit includes voice activation, electric tailgate, stability and traction control, hill start assist, blind spot monitor, head up display, wireless smartphone charging and keyless entry and starting.

FAST FACTS

Price:£60,000

Mechanical:335bhp, 3,456cc, 6cyl petrol engine and electric motors driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph:7.8 seconds

Combined MPG:51

Insurance Group:42

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating:20%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 5yrs/ 100,000 miles for electric motors

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