By on 2018-01-09 -
Lexus RX 450h - Used
LEXUS was right at the forefront of petrol/electric hybrid vehicles installing the twin motor systems in all its cars.
That includes the RX SUV almost from its earliest days, and the 450h built between 2009 and 2015 had very impressive performance in every way.
This big 4x4 is immensely capable on the road or off - although few owners are likely to head into the rough stuff and take the chance of damaging such an expensive machine.
Previous models were also available with a normal petrol V6, but from 2009 the hybrid was the only power system available.
Putting things into perspective before we get to details, this is a Lexus, so quality, refinement and superb equipment come as standard, as does reliability and longevity.
With a total of 294bhp on tap, it has similar power and performance to the rest of the large SUVs on the market, but the hybrid system means it emits a fraction of their carbon dioxide levels.
The petrol engine is a silky smooth 3.5-litre V6, but as long as the batteries are charged, it will run on electric power alone in traffic and under 30 miles an hour.
The petrol engine then cuts in seamlessly whenever more power is needed, and charges the batteries as you drive.
Occupants will never notice which type of power is being used because everything is so beautifully quiet.
Drive is to all four wheels through a continuously variable (CVT) gearbox and this really takes the strain out of driving in any situation.
The petrol engine has stop-start for heavy traffic to help save fuel, and when pressed, petrol and electric power systems work together for maximum acceleration, giving a 0 to 60 time of just 7.6 seconds.
As befits such an up-market car, the ride is superb over all surfaces, even soaking up speed humps and potholes in town.
Yet is can still be hustled along a back road, giving very good grip and roadholding even though there is a fair amount of roll - just as there is with most other big SUVs.
Other similar vehicles, even with diesel engines, rarely give better economy than the RX's 44mpg, and no diesel is ever as smooth as this V6.
The Advance model at the lower end of the range comes complete with parking sensors, Lexus' marvellous sat nav, electrically adjusted leather seats, heated seats and mirrors, alarm, cruise, climate, traction control and more.
Pay about Â£21,200 for a '12 12-reg Advance, or Â£31,000 for a '14 14-reg Luxury.
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