The left footed futurist – Lexus RX 450h

 

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Look at it - the Lexus RX looks like nothing else within its class. Study its design and your eyes could spend hours linking all its Japanese Triangular Origami folds. As a design project, Lexus have succeeded in bringing to the market a car that looks like a prototype yet it's fully functional. The result is an art piece of perfected poetry in motion.

Looking to the future, the Lexus RX would probably date but who cares; it looks fabulous now and adds great talk ability for the Lexus brand.

The exterior of the car could be considered a playful trick regarding its character. The RX is sharp and can be likened to a ninja star - suggesting aggressive performance with sports car like handling. Coupled with its coupe-like profile and edgy looks implies an SUV that competes head-on with a BMW X6. You’d be wrong. You see, the RX is focused on being a supremely comfortable vehicle. It is paired with a new but an old-school 3.5l V6 (non-turbocharged) engine and an electric motor. The combined power output is 230kW of power and 370N.m of torque. The petrol sits at the front while the electric is housed in the rear - and voila, you have a hybrid!

Think of a hybrid, and you think of a Toyota Prius. This technology is essentially designed to create a vehicle that is more efficient and, therefore, kinder to the environment. Driving slowly – like in a parking lot or edging forward in busy traffic is done via an electric motor. As you increase your speed by accelerating the petrol engine is called to action. This hybrid technology really works - I was able to get a fuel consumption figure of 8.6l per 100km. Considering it was all around town and I was moving a 2.2-ton car at legal speeds that figure is very good. In fact, similarly powered cars of the same weight and size would be over 12l per 100km. Lexus claim a figure of 5.7l per 100km. To achieve this figure - this type of testing is done under a controlled environment.

 

As part, an eco-conscious vehicle the RX450h is fitted with a CVT gearbox. While the RX350 that relies solely on the 3.5l to power it, uses an 8-speed automatic. The 8-speed is the better gearbox but the CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) the more economical and hence the mating for the hybrid vehicle, which creates a linear flow of power without the traditional aspect of gears. Dashing from 0 to 100 km/h is done in around 8 seconds when the RX is in Sport mode.

On the inside, you’re met with large soft-to-the-touch leather clad seats and a huge 12.3-inch display screen that controls all the RX’s electronics.  Here are some of the RX’s features: Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (helps when backing out of a parking space), Hill Assist Control, Traction Control, VSC, Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (Hybrid only), Rear-Guide Monitor, Tyre Pressure Monitor as well as clearance and parking sonar. Navigating through the cars systems is done via a console-mounted mouse joystick. It is a novel concept that takes time to get used to but the BMW and Audi systems are superior to operate and navigate through.

A nice touch is the laser cut wood veneer. Created in partnership with Yamaha it combines wood and aluminium in a striking striped design. The effect is heightened by the application of a protective clear coat that is polished to a deep shine for a high-quality look and feel.

The feeling of safety is an overwhelming sensation when driving the RX – silence and high levels of refinement are the overt reasons. Hidden under this sophistication are 10 SRS airbags including dual-stage twin-chamber driver and front-passenger airbags, front passenger cushion airbag, driver knee airbag, curtain airbags and rear-seat side airbags.

 

Pro’s

·         Striking looks

·         Supremely quiet

·         Refined

·         Fuel efficient

·         Comfortable

 

Con’s

·         CVT gearbox

·         Non-turbocharged engine

·         Hybrid price vs. RX350 price

 

Pricing

RX 350 EX is priced at R799 000 Maintenance Plan – Lexus Distance Plan Plus

 

RX 450h SE (R999 000) Maintenance Plan – Lexus Distance Plan Complete

 

My choice – the RX350

 

Warranty and Service

 

RX 350 EX comes with a Lexus Distance Plan Plus: 4 years or 100 000 km (whichever occurs first) against manufacturing or material defects. This is a Service plan (only parts that form part of scheduled services are covered by Lexus) with the addition of a prescribed number of brake pads.

This cover can be extended to a maximum of 6 years or 220 000 km ensuring total peace of mind in the event of failure or malfunction.

 

 

RX 450h SE comes with a Lexus Distance Plan Complete: a maximum of 4 years or 100 000 km. This Distance Plan COMPLETE consists of a service and maintenance component - where it covers all aspects of the vehicle related to normal usage - not just service parts and brake pads.

This cover can be extended to 7 years or 195 000 km.

http://www.lexus.co.za/

 

 

 

 

 

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