- Published On: 11 May 2017
- 6 min read
Does this attractive hybrid SUV live up to its ₹1 crore-plus price tag? Let’s find out.
The new fourth-generation RX will surely stand out - it's rakish design and extremely aggressive detailing give it uniqueness that will have this car stick out even in a ₹ crore-plus car parking garage, Also, it is one of two hybrids in its class, the Volvo XC90 T8 is the other.
On the outside
You’ll immediately notice that huge ‘spindle-like’ grille up front - the bumpers are aggressive, the headlights look like a pair of swords and, around the side, that fast flowing roof just 'floats' above the rear in an extremely interesting manner. There certainly isn’t a car in the market that looks like this Lexus.
This car uses all-steel underpinnings, and has a 2,790mm wheelbase, extremely slippery aerodynamics and adjustable dampers that are designed to handle our roads. Petrol and electric power make up the hybrid drive system that powers this car. The petrol V6 mated to a pair of electric drive motors come together to put out 313hp. There’s a decent amount of torque too, at 335Nm, it is delivered at a high 4,700rpm though. The electric motors provide all the torque from start-up though, and the two systems blend very well together. Drive at the rear is provided via an electric motor. To aid efficiency, the rear motor also acts as a generator and charges the battery when the vehicle is braking.
On the inside
The cabin looks quite futuristic. The low-slung dash gives you a good view of the road aided by the steeply raked windscreen that stretches far ahead of the driver. The huge 12.3-inch screen’s high-res display is controlled by a cross between a mouse and a mini joystick. Lexus calls it Remote Touch Interface (RTI). This unit feels natural and easy, if a bit over sensitive, but it’s easy to get used to.
The offset centre console adds a touch of uniqueness. The buttons are pretty conventional, but the manner in which the black and red leather bits contrast each other is quite novel. The metallic slashes and chrome highlights add a touch of class.
The steering wheel, gear lever and pedals are brushed aluminium bits, crafted to a very high level. The cabin doesn’t feel as solidly put together as its German compatriots, and the build feels lighter for sure, but, as far as overall fit and finish is concerned, this car is up there with the class leaders. The big and very comfortable seats are built to carry large American frames. The front seats are tall, wide and wonderfully supportive. The leather is of an extremely high grade and the seats are adjustable in a variety of ways and are cooled.
Space and comfort are also very good in the rear. Passengers at the back also get cooled seats, legroom is more than sufficient, the seat is very supportive and you can recline the backrest via a button here as well. Headroom, however, is a bit tight in the rear though. The car’s 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System features is exquisite. You also get a heads up display (HUD), multiple driving modes like Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport +, and there's a 360-degree camera as well. Additionally, beneath the rear cargo area floor is a full-sized spare tire. Plus, there’s a massive panoramic sunroof and 10 airbags. This car comes loaded with kit.
From behind the wheel
On the move, the RX is quite refined, especially when driven in a relaxed manner. You can’t miss the silent take off delivered by this full-on 288V (650V system voltage) hybrid. It feels refined even after the petrol motor kicks in. Sound insulation is great, barely any noise enters the cabin. The car is quite a performer too – it can hit 100kph in a claimed 7.7sec. Also, there are no virtual gears – tap the paddles and click down, and all that happens is that the rpm jumps up a bit. This increases the rate of acceleration. The grouse with this system is that the feeling of accelerating hard is nowhere near as immersive as it should be.
Ride comfort is great – more so in Normal mode, which, helped by its adjustable dampers, seems to have the best balance between suppleness and control. This car deals with potholes without a whimper. The Lexus doesn't roll much around corners, even when you are driving it in an enthusiastic manner, and grip is good if you’re in the mood for a bit of sporty fun – this car allows you to chuck it into corners. Steering responses are decent and grip is moderately good.
Is it worth the money?
If you are looking for an attractive, hybrid SUV that's well-built on the inside, comfortable to sit in and light and easy to drive, this car is for you. The Lexus brand is famous for making cars that are extremely dependable and that, for many, will be the clincher, despite its high price-tag. So, if you are in the market for something very different, and budget isn’t a concern, this car just could be for you.