What is it?
More fresh fodder for the heavy-of-wallet luxury SUV buyer, should the lustre already be wearing off the six-month-old Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 or Mercedes-Benz GLE on the driveway. We drove the new, fourth-generation Lexus RX in Europe, in left-hand-drive form, only last month. Now’s our chance to see how it copes with British roads, in otherwise identical, top-of-the-range Premier trim.
The all-new car is no softly-softly rehash. Built on a stiffened and extended all-steel platform, it is a sizeable 120mm longer than the outgoing RX, with half of that extra length added within the wheelbase in order to address one of the car’s long-standing shortcomings: a deficit of cabin space.
An aerodynamic body design is alleged to deliver telling improvements on cruising efficiency and refinement, while slightly softened suspension springs and stiffened bushings, steering mounts and anti-roll bars have been adopted in order to supersede the excitable ride of the outgoing RX, with the accepted dynamic compromise of the car becoming more of a luxury family cruiser. Over all of that, Lexus has wrapped a body styled more adventurously than that of its predecessor, to which fans of the brand’s alternative aesthetic should quickly warm.
There are only two powertrain options in the RX range: a 235bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, badged RX200t, and our 308bhp RX450h, which combines a 259bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with an electric motor mounted on each axle.
With CO2 emissions from 120g/km, the 450h offers a generous equipment level as well as the prospect of a £100-a-month company car tax saving to those who might otherwise buy a six-cylinder diesel alternative.