Lexus RX 200t Luxury

Lexus RX200T, side static
Lexus RX200T, full front static
Lexus RX200T, front action
Lexus RX200T, rear action
Lexus RX200T, dashboard
Lexus RX200T, boot
Lexus RX200T, rear seats
Lexus RX200T, interior detail
Lexus RX200T, sat nav

THERE'LL be no mistaking the new Lexus RX 200t at the golf club, from the front, most certainly.

This fourth generation large, luxury SUV from Toyota's posh division is no shrinking violet in the looks department.

The vast radiator grille makes what Lexus calls a 'powerful visual statement' and will ensure it's easy to pick out from the sea of Range Rovers, Audi Q7s and BMW X5s that are this car's natural competition.

To these eyes this newfound visual boldness works a treat, toning itself down a little as the gaze moves along the side of the car - all dramatic swoops and swerves - before concluding in a tail that picks up the angled theme of the front.

Inside, things are more typically Lexus. That means an almost pared back feel, using leather and high grade plastics in a combination that quietly tells of good taste and attention to detail.

It was plenty good enough to impress the owner of a nearly new Range Rover Sport who came along for the ride, especially when he discovered his new baby cost half as much again as his recent driveway addition.

In fact the RX 200t range starts at £39,995 for an S model fitted with the same 2.0-litre petrol engine of the plusher Luxury version (£45,995) and tops out with the £57,995 RX 450h Premier.

That version comes with the other engine choice in this new RX range, a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that combines with an electric motor to produce a total of 308 horsepower and an official fuel consumption figure (54.3mpg) that shames the harder working 2.0-litre engine in the 200t.

That's rated at a mere 36mpg officially and managed just 28mpg in more than 500 miles of mixed motoring, none of it taken at much of a hurry.

The least expensive way of moving to the larger engine with electric assist is the £46,995 RX 450h SE but with a large, heavy body to move about that 50mpg-plus figure is likely to remain a distant dream.

Which points up an obvious omission in this new RX range. Where is the diesel; the power plant of choice for most UK and European buyers of big cars?

The answer is that places where the RX sells best - the States, for instance - simply don't buy diesels, sticking instead to petrol. That alone is going to limit the attractions of the car here in the UK, where hardly any Range Rovers, for instance, are sold without a diesel under the bonnet.

But, if you can make the sums add up, the RX200t will provide lots that's good about big car motoring.

And it'll do it for years on end without ever going wrong and be serviced for you by a dealer who is part of a select band that tops the poll for customer satisfaction so regularly they ought to have won the cup outright by now.

Most obvious plus point is the amount of space inside the RX, with genuine stretching room in the rear and a huge boot too. And it does all feel rather fine into the bargain.

Rides well too and goes far better than you'd ever expect with such a smallish engine doing the work. It can get a bit vocal if pressed but exercise a little restraint and the automatic gears will propel you in a manner befitting a car made to shrink big mileages.

FAST FACTS

Lexus RX 200t Luxury

Price: £45,995

Mechanical: 235bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 34.9

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 189g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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