By Patrick James on 2018-01-21 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Lexus RC 300h F
LEXUS motors have always had the ability to attract attention and perhaps none more so then the RC.
It's not that familiar a sight, being a luxury motor with a luxury price tag, but it's a car that will be familiar if you watch Channel 4 drama box sets, Walter Presents, which Lexus sponsors.
There are three power options including the fully hybrid model tested here which offers good economy, rapid, if not startling performance and unexpected practically from what looks a compact cabin.
It looks beautifully crafted, sitting low off the ground and with a muscular, swooping profile. Lexus says it has been designed with a younger market in mind and you can see why it would be attractive, with its slightly flared wheel arches and slim light clusters.
The F Sport also features a spindle grille that's wider and set lower than on any other Lexus model and finished with F-pattern mesh.
They also feature a multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheel design with darkened finish and F Sport badging. To the rear neat light clusters feature together with twin-exhaust profile and aero-stabilising fins at the far edges of the rear bumper. It offers a real alternative to German market leaders.
The interior is a masterclass in design. The centre piece is a full-colour seven-inch multimedia screen together with 4.2-inch multi-information display in the binnacle which displays real time information.
Much of the infotainment is controlled from a tracker type mouse pad on the central console. It seems a good idea, but can be fiddly and distracting when driving. It controls major functions like infotainment, navigation and smartphone connectivity.
All models are well equippedand feature LED headlights, cruise control, parking sensors, smart entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and power-adjustable heated front seats
On Luxury and F Sport models, the package includes six-speaker audio with Bluetooth, DAB, CD player and reversing camera, heated and cooled front seats.
A raft of safety equipment includes a full set of eight airbags, stability and traction programmes, pre collision system and adaptive cruise control and on this model blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.
All instrumentation and controls feel high end and well built. As does the soft finish trim throughout the cabin together with bright metal detailing and ambient lighting.
Entry to the rear two seats is simplicity itself. When the huge door is opened, a one touch lever folds the seatback forward and pushes the seat forward for easy entry and then returns when the seatback is returned. The same applies for exiting the vehicle.
While there is not a great deal of room in the rear seats, two adults can be accommodated, but its a bit of a squeeze. However they split 60-40 and fold to create additional boot space.
There are two power plant options, the petrol engine or the full hybrid petrol and electric motor combination tested here. Economy from the 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor delivers a combined 220bhp.
While the design of the car screams sporty, in the real world of this hybrid, performance is brisk rather than startling, while the CVT gearbox may not be to everyone's taste, becoming high pitched when pushed hard. However most of the time there is little noise intrusion from the engine and there is the ability to switch to manual via the steering wheel paddles.
Also on this version, different drive modes can be selected, from electric vehicle mode, to standard and sport and sport plus.
This changes the driving dynamics, suspension set up and gear changes for a sportier, or economical drive, depend on what mood you are in. Switch to EV mode and the motor will run on electric power only, ideal for around town or stuck in traffic.
Combined economy and emissions are good but not fantastic, with around 57mpg and 116g/km. Drive more carefully and in electric mode, however and mpg increases substantially, while emissionsion disappear.
On the road, the car is both comfortable and composed with dynamics benefitting from tuned electric power steering and adaptive variable suspension maximising ride comfort and handling agility. It handles well enough while the ride is firm, but comfortable.
Road and wind noise are muted, as is the engine combination, except under extreme acceleration.
Lexus RC 300h F Sport
Mechanical: 220bhp, 2493cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving rear wheels via automatic gearbox.
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Insurance Group: 35
C02 emissions: 116g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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