Our test car was the RX 350h Premium Plus model with panoramic roof which costs £67,700 finished in a special Sonic White metallic paint – a £250 optional extra.
The 2023 RX is the all-new, fifth generation version of the popular model which we first saw in 1998. Our test car is the 350h – equipped with a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder engine plus electric motors making it a self-charging hybrid which produces a total of 247 bhp. Lexus also makes a RX450h; a plug-in hybrid electric model and a range topping RX 500h – a performance focused turbocharged hybrid.
The 350h will do 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph. It is equipped with E-Four electric all-wheel drive as standard. At first glance, the RX is a large and striking looking vehicle with impressive road presence and an aggressive wide stance.
With its superbly comfortable electrically adjustable, heated, and cooled memory seats, high commanding drivers view and 14-inch touch screen near the steering wheel you feel like a pilot in charge of a state-of-the-art high-tech aircraft. Taxiing to take-off is not a problem in such a huge car thanks to the 360-degree panoramic view monitor which you can quickly access with a physical button. This gives you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings so you can easily navigate parking and confidently move away from other cars in a tight car park knowing you are not going to have a prang. With the hybrid battery charged you can move away in EV mode and the internal combustion engine fires up seamlessly and so quietly once you are on the move, you hardly feel the difference. If you plant your right foot the engine can sound slightly harsh upon acceleration but becomes almost whisper quiet when you are up to speed. Cruising on the motorway at 70 mph is indeed effortless and often feels like you are doing only 30 mph as the RX is so beautifully built and quiet.
The 12-speaker sound system sounds beautiful and the clarity is brilliant with FM, DAB, USB Audio (CD quality ‘Lossless’ files accepted), Bluetooth, Android Auto and Miracast at your disposal. The touchscreen infotainment system is one of the best we have tested and is easy to get used to, the only small criticism we had was we wished we could zoom in further on the Lexus navigation map. Plug your phone in with a USB data cable and the ‘Android Auto’ system takes over providing you with ‘Google maps’ with superior navigation and a far more detailed map which allows you to zoom right in, also you will be able to access non video playing apps (for safety reasons) from your phone such as Spotify. While driving you can keep your hands on the wheel and just say “Hey Lexus” followed by a command such as “open the sunroof” or “play Classic FM” and it will do it for you.
The ride is superb and has a ‘floating on a still lake’ type feel, the steering feels perfectly balanced, and the car tackles potholes and speed humps well. The RX grips and corners confidently, the brakes feel positive and reassuring. With large mirrors and plenty of glass around you, the RX offers excellent all-round visibility. The Blind Spot Monitoring system (BSM) serves as an excellent co-pilot on such a wide car letting you know when other road users are getting close. The excellent ‘Lexus Safety Sense+’ system is constantly monitoring your position and looking out for hazards on the road. It warns you visually and audibly and can even take evasive action. We were about to join a large roundabout when a fast Audi driver appeared from the opposite side at a crazy speed; a loud audible warning of the cross-traffic danger sounded thanks to the excellent ‘Extended Safety+’ system which employs radar monitoring for heads-on and cross-traffic. The constant beeps can be annoying; however, you can switch them to visual only, however the system reverts to ‘audio and visual’ notifications upon restarting the car which is frustrating. The more time you spend in the RX the more you get used to all the various beeps and what they mean.
The customisable colour heads-up display is fantastic and when you set the sat-nav to a destination it displays your next turn up there also. Overall, it feels like the car’s many safety systems are working with you rather than against you to keep you safe and out of trouble – much needed on a car as huge as this. The RX does have a sports mode and paddle shifters, but most drivers will leave the car in normal mode as the sports mode is slightly gimmicky and makes little difference to the car’s driving dynamics.
Five passengers can sit in comfort on long journeys. The rear seats have manual reclining function and there are plenty of USB charging sockets around the car. The rear middle seat passenger has no uncomfortable transmission tunnel to worry about and the panoramic sunroof gives a pleasant light atmosphere at the rear. Rear passengers also have their own ventilation controls, and the centre armrest folds downs with cup holders built in. All the interior materials feel soft, padded, and luxurious. The electric tailgate with hands-free kick sensor opens to a massive 461 litre boot, you can easily fold the rear seats electrically by pressing the buttons inside the boot. You can also fold down just the centre seat.
Road tax will be expensive for the first five years at £560 a year and then goes down to standard rate at Band ‘H’. Fuel consumption is stated at 44.1 MPG combined. On one trip we achieved 38.1 MPG with a combination of motorway and town driving with plenty of electrical systems (heated/ cooled seats, infotainment, and air conditioning) switched on. Our range computer showed we will get 399 miles out of a full tank; we managed 380 miles with one bar of fuel remaining.
In conclusion, the RX is a very fine motor car with that legendary Lexus build quality to give you peace of mind. At Free Car Mag we like a decent engine tone so if we could make one change to the car, we would give it a V6 engine rather than a four pot, other than that the RX is an almost perfect family car.
Scroll through selected images below:
Also check out Kiran’s astounding pictures here: Link to gallery: https://500px.com/p/kirankparmar/galleries/lexus-rx-350h