From £43,665
Lexus has reduced the emissions and yet increased the economy and power of the RX's V6, but the hybrid is still the more convincing proposition.

Our Verdict

Lexus RX 2009-2015

The Lexus RX has headline-grabbing emissions, but do they stand up to scrutiny?

  • First Drive

    Lexus RX 450h F Sport

    Lexus’s F Sport specification takes on BMW’s M Sport and Audi’s S-line, with only partial success
  • First Drive

    Lexus RX 450h

    European test route confirms latest 450h is a major step forward
25 April 2006

What's new? Right now Lexus is at the forefront of the hybrid revolution – next year there’ll be a flagship LS600h, we’ve just sampled the sporting GS450h and Lexus’s first hybrid, the RX400h, is selling well.And so it should: putting hybrid technology in the RX boosted performance, cut emissions and delivered an elegant answer to the anti-SUV brigade. Unfortunately for Lexus, the RX400h has also rather overshadowed the more conventional RX300, which is slower and thirstier, if £5000 cheaper. Last month, the 400h outsold the 300 almost two-to-one.To put the regular model back in the spotlight, Lexus has given it an enlarged 3.5-litre V6, bringing an extra 71bhp and 44lbft and cutting the 0-60mph time by over a second to 7.8sec. Crucially, and despite its larger capacity, the new engine is more efficient: the combined cycle improves to 25.2mpg and emissions fall.What's it like? On the road, the new engine is not only more sprightly but more relaxed. Driven on three-quarters throttle it remains unobtrusive, but extended beyond this the note becomes less sonorous. The five-speed automatic ’box has reprogrammed shift patterns for a quicker and smoother response; undoubtedly an improvement, but not as quick or seamless as the best.The RX350 also gets other amendments, including a sound deadening windscreen and new satellite navigation. Lexus claims to have retuned the steering for improved feel, but it remains artificially light, indirect and now the car’s most obvious weakness.Should I buy one? With a price rise of £1250 over the RX300, an RX350 will cost a higher rate tax-payer around £1400 per annum more in tax than the RX400h. If you’re set on an RX, hybrid is still the way to go.Jamie Corstorphine

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK