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Spooky to drive in silence

Created on 29/06/2016 @ 08:39
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

It doesn’t matter how many times you get behind the wheel of a hybrid it’s still the spookiest motoring feeling to pull away in silence – and that’s just what happens when you drive the Lexus RX450h.

The fourth generation of the RX luxury SUV is a full hybrid RX450h which will drive for up to two miles in full electric mode, meaning it’s amazingly impressive around town.

It’s also no slouch on the open road either with a top speed of 124mph, 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and average petrol consumption of 51.4mpg, together with C02 emissions of 127g/km, making this Lexus an impressive all-rounder.

The 2016 model is a big improvement on its predecessor with a stunning new look which brought admiring glances everywhere it went on a week-long test drive. It’s packed with leather upholstery and luxurious seating and there’s a great electrically adjustable steering column to help you find the best driving position.

There’s a small price to pay for the stunning appearance with head room and rear vision slightly restricted for rear seat passengers due to the sloping roof but it’s not enough to put you off this model.

Some of the outstanding points include hill-start assist, dual speed electric windows, automatic mirrors, LED daytime running lights, illuminated door handles, rear privacy glass, integrated roof rails, a power tailgate with no-touch sensor, 20inch alloys and an optional panoramic roof.

On the road this Lexus is a pleasure to drive with barely a whisper of road noise from the 20 inch wheels and little or no wind sound. Sharp steering means you are quickly at home behind the wheel and the high seating position helps the safety feel.

And when it comes to safety Lexus has not skimped. This model gets a pre-collision safety system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam change.

There’s a full package of all-round airbags, ABS, vehicle stability control, traction control, and tyre pressure warning too.

There’s a choice of four driving modes at the flick of a switch, one of the best navigation systems I’ve encountered, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, smart entry and push button start, rain sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and all the other gizmos you would expect to find on such a luxury model.

So how well will this Lexus do in the luxury SUV sector? Everything you’ve heard so far suggests it will be a winner but there is a downside. Is an average of 51mpg enough for instance? There are more impressive options on the market and it’s an important factor for the company car man or woman.

But the business sector will be more impressed when it comes to CO2 emissions where figures of 127g/km mean a 20% benefit in kind opportunity -  which is much better than a lot of the competition.

It all comes at a cost of course and there was only a handful of change out of £55,000 for the fourth generation model on test and although the RX450h was stacked to the roof with goodies there’s a lot of impressive competition at this level.

Hybrid technology continues to improve with every launch and this Lexus is a genuine example of the money saving system at its best and don’t forget you’re help saving the planet too.

Verdict: If you’ve got over £50,000 to spend the Lexus RX450h is well worth a look.



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