FEW SUV models make the instant impact that the mighty Lexus RX 450h does with its bold athletic styling and larger-than-life character.
The sheer size of the car makes it impossible to ignore with head-turning design cues including sharp angular styling, massive 20-inch alloys, a huge front grille, roof rails, rear privacy glass, a powered tailgate, LED running lights, LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED rear lights and LED illuminated scuff plates (where would we be without LEDs?). This particular car also featured a double panoramic sunroof which added £1,295 to the asking price.
The interior is typically Lexus and that means it is packed with innovative technology and offers excellent comfort levels by utilising the finest materials throughout.
The electrically-adjustable leather front seats come complete with memory settings and can be heated or ventilated.
Techno treats include the likes of a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, a colour head-up display, wireless smartphone charger, a heated leather and wood steering wheel, dual zone climate control and Lexus premium navigation system which is exceptionally simple to use.
The whole car has a very futuristic feel to it - there's stacks of technology to be explored yet somehow the designers have kept it all nicely clutter-free.
Five adults can travel in style with ample room to stretch out and there will never be any luggage restrictions thanks to the 453-litre boot which can be increased to a capacity of 924-litres with the rear sears dropped flat.
Elsewhere there are convenient door pockets, a deep central bin, a practical glovebox, a few little trays and an extra pocket on the passenger's side of the central console.
So on to the business end of things. As you might expect a car boasting such premium features and all the gadgetry you could wish for is not cheap. This car was priced at £57,995 (£59,935 with options) and that price-tag will make a dent in any bank balance.
That said, you do get an incredible amount of kit for the outlay and this is a car that, despite its size, can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 7.7 seconds which in all honesty is outrageously fast. It has a top speed of 124mph with combined fuel economy of 51.4mpg and carbon emissions of 127g/km.
But it's the manner in which the RX 450h performs that cannot fail to impress. Like all hybrid models it's eerily quiet when being driven in electric-only mode. But even when the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine kicks in, there is still very little noise that breaks into the well-insulated cabin.
The road-holding is assured and the car's suspension is so efficient that the Lexus actually feels like it's gliding across the Tarmac with total disregard for any potholes along the way.
The CVT automatic transmission is smooth and responsive and there is always ample power on tap.
In busy town centres the high-seated driving position and excellent all-round visibility are plus-factors, although you will need quite a large parking space.
Then on faster roads and especially the motorways, the Lexus is a pure delight to drive with a choice of driving modes - Eco, Normal or Sport. The car can also be driven in EV-only mode.
The safety spec on the vehicle is comprehensive with all the usual features and more such as blind spot monitoring, sway warning alert, lane departure alert, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive high beam, rear cross traffic alert and, of course, the car is all-wheel-drive too.