Lexus RX 450h F

Sport

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, dashboard
Lexus RX 450h, 2016, badge

RELIABILITY may be one of the important factors to anyone buying a cheap urban runaround, but if you're in the market for a prestige SUV costing upwards of forty grand it's absolutely critical.

Especially if said SUV is a hybrid - where a petrol or diesel engine is combined with an electric motor.

Japanese brand Toyota - and its luxury offshoot Lexus - has been a pioneer of hybrid power with remarkable success, to the point that the company aims to make half its UK vehicle sales hybrid by 2020.

It underlines how confidence in hybrids has risen. Buyers are no longer erring away from these vehicles because they don't understand them, or more to the point, are worried that a breakdown could also break the bank.

Driver Power, an initiative run by a leading motor magazine, called upon the real-world experiences of 50,000 motorists.

And topping the 2016 reliability poll was the Lexus RX, the principal variant of which is the 450h - a hybrid.

In fact the car it pipped to the title was its own stablemate the IS saloon and a top three clean sweep was only denied by another of the company's offerings, the Toyota Land Cruiser, ahead of the Lexus GS.

Impressive stuff, but then the Lexus RX 450h is an impressive vehicle. Now in its fourth generation, the RX comes with a choice of two powertrains - the established full hybrid system with 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine in the 450h and a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit in the RX 200t.

All the hybrids have all-wheel drive, while the 200t has front-wheel drive in the entry-level S model and 4WD in the higher grade versions.

The full hybrid model has also been re-engineered for more refined and powerful performance.

That means its output is up to 308bhp, enabling 0- 62mph acceleration in 7.7 seconds while average fuel economy is around 45mpg (officially 51.4mpg), which is handy for a big V6. CO2 emissions are also decent at 127g/km.

Otherwise the emphasis is on luxury, masses of it, from the plush upholstery to the quality of the fittings and sound of the audio system.

Opting for F Sport trim doesn't just bring in specific cabin touches like perforated leather seats, special lighting for the doors and instrument panel and drilled aluminium pedals.

It also ensures a pretty monstrous spindle grille along with stuff like dedicated front and rear bumpers, Premium Navigation with 12.3-inch display, a powered tailgate, wireless phone charger, black door mirror housings and 20-inch alloys.

Buyers also get dynamic ride, handling and control features like including adaptive variable suspension, a dynamics management system and sports-tuned electric power steering along with low-speed cornering lights and the comprehensive Lexus Safety System Plus.

FAST FACTS

Lexus RX 450h F Sport

Price: £52,435.

Mechanical: 308bhp, 3,456cc, V6 petrol engine and electric motor driving four wheels via 6-speed auto gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 7.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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