No matter how many wheels get driven, the 200t makes 235bhp and 258lb ft. They may not sound like bad figures, but then the RX weighs nearly two tonnes. That means the all-wheel-drive model we’re testing takes a yawning 9.5sec to reach 62mph.
If you’re travelling at a sedate pace, the RX200t has plenty going for it. At low engine speeds, the petrol engine remains smooth and refined, and there are none of the nasty vibrations some diesel-powered rivals suffer from coming through the wheel or pedals.
However, if you've bought a car that looks like this, it’s unlikely you're planning on driving everywhere at a sedate pace. Heavy application of the right pedal will see the gearbox drop two or three cogs, even in Eco mode, to get it moving with a reasonable turn of speed.
At this point, the engine will start to make its presence known. It wouldn’t be the worst soundtrack for a hot hatchback, but the sound of a petrol four-pot seems a little out of place in a luxury SUV.
Performance is adequate but there’s none of the effortlessness that you get from an Audi Q7 or Range Rover Sport, although you wouldn't really expect there to be given the engine's 2.0-litre capacity.
Flicking through the drive modes to Sport or Sport + does make it feel a little sprightlier, but that’s mainly down to it holding on to gears for longer.
Those that want more involvement might be tempted to take control of the gearbox using the wheel-mounted paddles. These turned out to be a source of frustration, the ’box unwilling to change up or down unless it deemed a shift appropriate, and then changing gear for you as you approach the redline. Shifts were at least smooth and fairly swift.
Does the new Lexus RX meet its luxury remit?
Even with the F Sport’s 20in wheels, the ride is comfortable in all drive modes. You do feel bigger bumps and expansion joints but at no point do they upset the car’s balance. The downside is more body roll than you’d get in some competitors, even in Sport + mode.
If you were hoping the significant reduction in kerb weight compared to the RX450h has made it a more involving steer, you’ll be disappointed. The steering may be well weighted and precise but it never really tells you what the front wheels are doing.
At least you’ll have a fair idea after a couple of roundabouts. If you push the RX hard, the front wheels will always run wide well before the rear end loses grip. A lift of the throttle brings everything back in line but even a sharp lift mid-corner won’t unsettle it. It’s safe but completely uninspiring.
It’s also thirsty, really thirsty. On a mixed test route we couldn’t get better than 25mpg despite driving sensibly for much of the time. It’s therefore no surprise to find that CO2 emissions are a little high at 189g/km.
Speccing up the Lexus RX
The entry-level S trim is only available with petrol RX models, while the SE and Premier specs can only be had with the hybrid versions.
The RX200t S trim is certainly well-equipped, with 18in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, heated and electrically adjustable front seats, sat nav, reversing camera, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity all as standard.
Opt for the hybrid RX450h SE model and you will get a leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, ventilated front seats and an electrically adjustable steering wheel added to the package.