Coast's Jason Reeves test Lexus's luxurious RX SUV
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Lexus RX350 Limited
The iconic 80's TV show Knight Rider came to mind as I touched the doorhandle of the Lexus RX350 and it unlocked.
No it didn't talk to me, and it was as far removed as you can get from a shiny black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am - but the indicator lights did that "swish across" thing that brought back memories of the iconic red light on the front of KITT.
The screens and lights were impressive inside too, but that's to be expected. Lexus does bells and whistles (and lights) very well and the new SUV carries on that tradition in abundance.
Press the Start button and the seat pulls you towards the (heated) steering wheel, into your previously selected driving position.
As impressive as the cabin is, the ride surpasses it. The V6 is more than capable and it's not a small piece of machinery, but it feels unbelievably smooth to drive.
It's so user-friendly, too. The centre screen is large at 12.3 inches, the “heads up” display is crystal clear, the Mark Levinson surround-sound system is crisp (and perfect for listening to Coast on!) even when the moon-roof is open.
As a Dad to two young boys, parking was always fun because my co-pilots could "help" me by watching everything on the big cameras from the back seat.
It’s a luxury SUV of course, but it’s such a practical one too. There’s plenty of room for the things you “need” to take when you go anywhere (scooters, helmets and toys that simply can’t be left behind), as well as groceries.
Canterbury | Christchurch
$563.87 p/w $2,255.48 p/m
Canterbury | Christchurch
$402.53 p/w $1,610.13 p/m
Auckland | Auckland City
$386.32 p/w $1,545.28 p/m
Safety is a massive thing for any of us I’m sure – but especially with precious cargo riding with you. Like I said, Lexus has always done “bells and whistles” well and the safety features are comprehensive.
Thankfully we never had to hear from the pre-collision or pedestrian warnings, but it’s a comfort to know they’re there.
However, that’s hardly a complaint. And I’m not about to complain about the roadworks everywhere right now either, because I know it’ll all be worth it in the end.
The same could be said for the Lexus. If you want a smooth, practical, safe ride for your family, with a fantastic sound system and renowned reliability – in the end it’s well worth checking this luxury SUV out.
The electrified option
The appearance and specification choices are remarkably similar between the two, but what sets the RX450h is its petrol-electric hybrid engine.
The 450h isn’t technically an EV, because you don’t plug it in. But it’s “electrified”, with the battery system adding extra performance while also dramatically improving fuel economy (5.7 litres per 100km versus 9.6l for the non-hybrid petrol car).
Seems like the best of both worlds and the hybrid models do indeed account for half of RX sales, although there’s a price to be paid: at $126,900 the RX450h Limited costs $18,000 more than the RX350 in the same specification.