Lexus RX 450h

Premier

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

I'M sure the team which designed the latest version of the new Lexus RX range must have watched one of the Mad Max films the day before they started work on the project.

Certainly, viewed from the front the fourth generation of this upmarket SUV is so dramatic and daring it could easily have fitted into Mel Gibson's action-packed futuristic movie.

The huge, uniquely shaped radiator grille makes such a macho statement there is no chance of mistaking this car for anything else on the road.

Add to that the clever styling of the headlights, the cutouts for the spotlights and the sharp creases in the bonnet and you really have got a car which makes pedestrians take a second look.

Heavily tinted rear side windows and tapering dark glass panels which lead into the rear window continue the theme.

In the cabin the aspect is completely different. Typically Lexus and superbly luxurious.

A nice blend of black and tan leather panels with distinctive red stitching on the dashboard, door panels and seats sets the tone for one of the nicest interiors I have seen for a long time.

Contrasting aluminium inserts in the dash and a pale grey headlining add a tasteful contrast.

This Lexus comes with everything you might desire on a car and more, which helps justify the near £60,000 price tag.

Features include a head-up display, double glass panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide operation on the front panel, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, a Mark Levinson audio system and a huge central colour screen display operated by a computer style mouse.What's not to like about this car?

The RX 450h is the hybrid version of the RX range and is powered by a combination of a 3.5-litre petrol engine and a 650 volt electric motor.

The result is a car which is superbly quiet and beautifully responsive.

Despite its official 0-62 miles per hour time of 7.7 seconds I found it a little sluggish to get off the mark but once on the move there is power a plenty.

And for motorway journeys it's the crème de la crème, gliding along at high speed in such silent stability you have to keep a wary eye on the speedometer to ensure you stay legal.

A dial on the centre console tunnel near the gear shift allows you to change from Drive to Sport or Sport+ for more responsive motoring and in doing so the economy metre automatically changes to a rev counter.

You can also engage Sport on the gearshift or drive the car manually to get the most from it.

Whichever combination you go for the RX450h provides a limousine-like ride with plenty of power always in reserve when you need to use it.

Despite its height and size there is no body roll and the handling is crisp and sharp while reversing is made easy thanks to a full colour rear camera.

A powered tailgate gives access to a generous sized boot with an easy to load floor at rear bumper level helping to avoid back injuries when packing in heavy bags.

FAST FACTS

Lexus RX 450h Premier

Price: £57,995

Mechanical: 259bhp, 3,456cc, 6cyl petrol engine plus electric motor driving fourl wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 7.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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