Those looking for a luxury SUV are well catered for, with the latest generations of Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 both bringing fresh offerings to the market and competing with the Range Rover Sport for dominance. The new Q7 and XC90 also made hybrid powertrain models available for the first time, a path well trodden by Lexus.
So as not to get left behind, Lexus has refreshed its fourth-generation RX SUV with two engine options - the 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid (also known as the RX450h) and the new-to-the-line-up turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine (the RX200t).
Of the two powertrains on offer, many will be tempted by the low CO2 figures of the RX450h, and the savings they bring to those burdened with benefit in kind taxation. However, with the hybrid model costing in excess of £48,000 there is a cheaper way of getting behind the wheel of Lexus's upmarket SUV.
Does the petrol RX make sense?
If you can do without four-wheel drive, you’ll save yourself £7000 over an entry-level RX450h. Considering that it already undercuts rivals and offers generous levels of standard kit, it seems like good value for this kind of vehicle.
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.