I’ve been fortunate enough to be trusted with the keys to many different cars over the years. From Ferrari 288 GTO to Porsche 959, but I’ve never driven a hybrid. So the next ten days will be interesting as the Lexus RX450h arrived today. We’ll be writing a full Lexus RX450h review next month, but here’s a fire from the hip outpouring of initial thoughts.
Lexus RX450h Review – The First Thoughts
1. Damn, they are as well screwed together as ever. I had to admit right now to a soft spot for Lexus. I was one of the original Lexus salesmen in the UK way back in 1990, when nobody had heard of the brand and the establishment snorted with derision. A UK target of just 1300 units in year one… And they still have that feel of being bolted together with fastidious care that we perhaps take for granted today.
2. There’s an awful lot of tech in it. My recent daily drivers have been classic air cooled Porsche 911 and Lotus Elise. This is a space ship in comparison. I’m certainly going to have to admit defeat and break the habit of a lifetime…. And read the manual… Damn.
3. A quick twenty minute drive shows that the sport dampers on this F Sport RX450h are quite firm, less body roll than I expected, but without much crash n’ bang over UK potholes. Steering at low speed is super light, like Mercedes old servotronic and something I’ve never been a fan of. But as the speed builds, it’s quite pleasantly weighted. I didn’t notice anything wrong with it this evening, so in my view the fact that I could use it without thinking is a Good Thing.
4. Another Good Thing. There’s more storage places than you can shake a stick at. And not just cup holders, but wine bottle holders. For our destination next week of Cognac and the Bordeaux area of France can only be a Very Good Thing… The Lotus Elise string bag behind your shoulders was never a good place to be carrying ice cold Voignier…
5. Electric is cool and CVT gearboxes are an acquired taste. For the first time, I’m the one creeping up on people in car parks. Whispering through the housing estate, it makes you feel good. Petrol mode kicks in and the V6 is a distant rumble. Wind it up, sounds fine, but I’m waiting to hear a gearshift that never comes. I’m sure that will grow on me, but its a little odd.
Of course, the proof of all of this tech will be in the efficiency, which will be very interesting. The design is fascinating, but at the end of the day it has to offer better economy than pure petrol, up there with a diesel. I’m hoping so, as I’m no diesel fan.
Mid to high thirties to the gallon will be acceptable to me, given the varied driving we will be doing, the size of the car and how we will be loading. I’m known for not really liking gimmicks in cars and carrying weight for the sake of it. My favourite cars are lightweight Porsche 911s and Lotus featherweights. But you can’t carry cameras and family all the way to Angouleme in an Elise.. So yes, this will be interesting.