Inclines and hard acceleration cause a stereotypical surge in RPM, but the V6 sounds decent and you soon learn to treat the throttle in a way that doesn’t cause the engine to just sit at 6000rpm as you accelerate hard. You can manually select ‘gears’, which offers some engine braking and extra engagement and control, if necessary. Stopping power is good and easily metered out, while traction isn't an issue.
The ride is supple and relaxed, with minimal suspension noise and jarring over harsher bumps, while wind and road noise – in part thanks to those narrow tyres – is negligible, even at speed. Make no mistake; this is a fine car in which to cover distance.
Inside, it’s as luxurious as you’d hope. The seats are some of the most comfortable offered in recent history, and the cabin feels spacious and airy. Everything is finished to a high standard, lending the RX a suitably upmarket feel. Grab the door handle, for example, and you’ll find no harsh plastic edges, only soft leather and plush fabric-lined wells.
All of the switchgear operates in a slick, precise fashion, adding to the air of quality, as do practical touches like large, adjustable door bins that take A4 documents. Forwards and rearwards visibility is also good, although the B-pillar obscures your over-the-shoulder view somewhat.
Similarly, in the back, there’s decent room for passengers up to six feet tall. You can even seat three abreast with ease, but there’s less headroom for the middle passenger due to the slightly higher-set seat. There’s no transmission tunnel to straddle, though.
You won’t be at a loss for kit, either. In flagship Premier specification the RX features adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate, ventilated and heated electric front seats, DAB, a clear and informative HUD and a 360-degree camera system. There’s a battery of safety systems, including 10 airbags and lane-keeping assist.
A 12.3-in media and navigation system is also standard, as is a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, adding extra high-end sheen. The Lexus’s infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive to use initially, due to its mouse pointer-driven interface, but it otherwise works well and connects to phones quickly and easily.
Boot space still isn’t remarkable, due to the rear-mounted battery pack and axle assembly. At 453 litres, it betters the 446 litres on offer before, but it's still some way shy of the 650 litres available in a BMW X5. It’s a shallow boot, too, which can be restrictive, but the rear seats can be dropped flat.
Our test route didn’t permit any meaningful assessment of the Lexus’s efficiency, but we’d be surprised if it averaged less than 30mpg. Not stellar, compared to modern diesel SUVs, but far cleaner. It packs a 14-gallon tank, so its range should prove tolerable, either way.
Should I buy one?
If you’re looking for a relaxing, cosseting and easy-to-drive SUV, then the Lexus RX is a fine choice. It has its flaws but it would likely prove an affable car to own, particularly when taking into account aspects like the excellent Lexus dealer network.