The first-generation RX — the RX300 — was introduced in 1998 and continued in production until 2004. The second-generation model was first shown at the 2003 Detroit motor show, and a year later Lexus used the SUV to launch its hybrid programme. The hybrid RX was first introduced to the UK in May 2005, with 195g/km of CO2.

Lexus continues to believe that hybrid technology is superior to diesel power for its cars. This is the third generation of its RX sports utility vehicle and the second to be offered with a hybrid powertrain. In fact, the hybrid version is now the only RX offered in the UK, in a market dominated by large diesel engines.

Lexus’s persistence with the petrol/electric technology is driven by fewer particulate emissions and a smoother powertrain compared with diesel rivals. But if the headline figures for the new RX450h are anything to go by, class-leading CO2 emissions are on the cards too. This new RX450h has recorded 44.8mpg on the official European combined cycle, which makes its taxable carbon dioxide emissions figure just 145g/km. That’s not only substantially less than the latest Range Rover Sport TDV6, but also less than some superminis. That means it is eligible for a cheap tax disc and a low benefit-in-kind rating.

Your choice of RX trim levels comes down to two things: whether you want steel springs or air suspension and how much kit you want – although even the entry-level cars are reasonably specced.

Top 5 Luxury SUVs

  • Range Rover Sport
    The new Sport, from a keen driver’s point of view, might just be the best SUV in the world at the moment

    Range Rover Sport

    1
  • Volvo XC90
    The new Volvo XC90 costs from £45,750

    Volvo XC90

    2
  • Porsche Cayenne
    The Porsche Cayenne is available as a hybrid for the first time

    Porsche Cayenne

    3
  • Land Rover Discovery
    The Discovery really is the defining go-anywhere super-utility vehicle

    Land Rover Discovery

    4
  • The second generation Audi Q7
    Audi Q7 is priced from £47,755

    Audi Q7

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Lexus range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads
  • Lotus Elise Cup 250
    First Drive
    29 April 2016
    The fastest, most track-focused and most expensive Elise ever made. It's simple, raw and immersive
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
    First Drive
    27 April 2016
    Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?
  • Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d
    First Drive
    26 April 2016
    Jaguar's debut SUV wowed us abroad, but does it still impress as much here on the UK's roads?