Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lexus is a brand synonymous with luxury automobiles. They are the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota.  

The Lexus brand originated in 1983 and has been making luxurious and outstanding cars ever since. 

‘We design to provoke, with bravery, courage, and confidence. We ignore the thinking of the crowd, always exploring new concepts, new outcomes, and new ways to express ourselves.’ 

I recently had the opportunity to try the new Lexus RX-L for a week. RX-L is their first seven-seat model in Europe. It’s an SUV with a focus on luxury. The Lexus RX-L is an elegant and spacious seven-seat SUV, engineered to make sure every passenger is pampered and protected. The build quality is excellent with top quality materials used throughout and fit and finish that most manufacturers can only dream of. 

RX-L is a luxury SUV with the added benefit of being a Hybrid.  

If you don’t currently drive a hybrid and haven’t owned one before, they’re very simple. The RX-L doesn’t need to be plugged in, it is self-charging. You just drive it like you would any other automatic. There are 4 driving modes that you can select; 

  • EV – encourages the car to be powered solely by the battery when city driving 
  • Eco – evens out harsh accelerator inputs and reduces the output of the climate control system 
  • Normal – the default drive setting for everyday motoring 
  • Sport – draws additional power from the battery to help boost acceleration. 

At low speeds, in town for example, the car will run on silent electric power alone, only using its petrol engine when you call for more power or if the stored battery power is used. The CVT automatic gearbox (continuously variable transmission) is smooth and seamless. Altogether, this makes the RX-L very pleasant to drive.  

The Lexus RX 450hL has a 3.5-litre direct-injection V6 petrol engine producing 259bhp at 6,000 rpm and 335Nm of torque at 4,600rpm. There is also a small additional boost from the electric motors which pushes the total output of the hybrid powertrain (engine and electric motors combined) to 308bhp.  

The RX 450hL features the sophisticated Lexus proactive E-Four all-wheel-drive system. This means that in normal use, the RX-L is rear wheel drive to save energy. When required, the all-wheel-drive system transfers power to all wheels as needed. There is also a regenerative element to the system, so under braking or deceleration, the car generates electricity. 

Takumi specification RX-L’s are fitted with adaptive variable suspension (AVS). 

This system controls the damping force of each shock absorber in response to road surface conditions and driver inputs. For example, on a rough road, AVS instantly switches to a more compliant setting to maintain ride comfort. When cornering, the damping force firms up to help reduce body roll. It rides very well as a result but you wouldn’t call it sporty. 

RX-L is based on the RX. Lexus have cleverly extended the rear section of the body by 110mm to create room for 2 additional seats. This has been achieved with no compromise in comfort for the other occupants. There’s tri-zone climate control and a console with two cup holders and air conditioning controls for the 2 rear seats.  

Accessing the rear seats is simple. A one-touch lever tilts the seatback forward and slides the seat smoothly forward.  

Semi-aniline leather upholstery is standard throughout and the front seats are heated and ventilated, 10-way electrically adjustable with memory function including 4-way lumbar support.  

The steering wheel is heated and there are front and rear USB chargers and a wireless phone charger. 

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Infotainment is taken care of through a 12.3” touchscreen multimedia display with Lexus navigation. Music comes through the 15 speaker Mark Levinson® surround sound system. For me, one of the coolest features about the system is that the audio system has neat, machined aluminium knobs.  

I really liked the colour head-up display (HUD) which projects information onto the base of the windscreen in your eye line, about adaptive cruise control status, speed limits and pre-collision system warnings.  

As we know, Lexus makes incredibly safe cars and the RX-L is no exception. To support this, there is a suite of safety and driver aids.  

Lexus Safety System+ is a multi-feature, integrated safety package that delivers exceptional levels of active safety and driver assistance to help prevent accidents. There are several elements to the Safety System+; 

  • Pre-Collision System. Uses a front-mounted camera and radar to detect vehicles and pedestrians. It warns of danger, adds braking force if needed and ultimately can brake autonomously if it needs to. 
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. 
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA). 
  • 3-Eye LED Headlamps with Automatic High Beam, Adaptive High-beam System for headlights and LED Cornering Lamps. 
  • Road Sign Assist system reads the road signs. 
  • 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor through cameras helps with parking. 

And more…… 

High quality, soft, semi-aniline leather upholstery covers seats, doors and centre consoles, excellent quality soft-touch plastics top the dash making the interior a luxurious and extremely pleasant place to be.  

Styling is divisive. It’s bold and unique but it has its critics. I liked it. I wasn’t convinced at first, but I really like how Lexus has been brave enough to style something distinctive and immediately recognisable as a Lexus.  

To summarise, this is a great car. It’s luxurious, practical, relatively economical and easy to live with.  

It’s not sporty but that suited me.  

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Fuel Combined WLTP (mpg)34.4 – 34.4 

CO2 Combined (g/km) 138 

5 years/60,000 mile cover for both hybrid battery and other hybrid components. 

3 years/60,000 miles manufacturer’s warranty. 

RX-L from – £54,145.00 otr 

RX-L Takumi £62,000 otr 

About the author: Mark Turner
Journo @ Blacktopmedia & freelance for various digital & print publications & some corporate mags. Big petrol head, particularly bikes!