Skip to content


When Lexus burst on the motoring scene all those years ago with the LS400, right away not only had they become a new member of the premium club, but they produced a car of the utmost quality. This was a large saloon that was able to go head to head with in particular the German premium brands, quite an achievement from a new badge on the motoring scene. Since then many models have been adorned with the Lexus name, for me and I have test driven many down the years they have been able to maintain the high standards set by the LS400.

Recently, over roads which I have used previously on a number of occasions, I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new RX500h, the first performance-focused turbocharged hybrid with six-speed automatic transmission and the Direct4 all-wheel drive torque control system. The focus has clearly switched from optimum efficiency, to deliver a vehicle with a distinct performance edge. Beneath the bonnet lies a 2.4 litre turbo hybrid engine with a total system output of 366bhp, which can whisk you from rest to 100kph (62mph) in just proud of six seconds- achieved with a smooth delivery that few others can match. The front electric motor is positioned between the engine and transmission; this permits a more flexible power delivery and the ability for this SUV to run in an all electric EV mode. The hybrid control system switches automatically between parallel and EV modes thus giving more powerful acceleration and the all important efficiency; this of course depends on the driving situation. The battery used in the RX500h is a low resistance nickel-metal hydride, positioned beneath the rear seat, thus not hindering space. Direct4 controls power delivery and this intelligent system uses a separate electric motor and inventer to constantly balance the power and torque under all driving situations. This system also aids handling and comfort, in particular at high speeds and the instant torque helps in the control of body movement.

It is fair to state that Lexus has reinvented the RX, the original model appeared back in 1998, and then it played an important role as a founder of the luxury SUV. This new model takes luxury to an even higher level, dressed in a sharper body and packed with the latest technology and driving aids. Equipped with chunky twenty one inch wheels, this further adds to on road presence. Lexus designers set themselves a mission to deliver an exterior design, one distinctive and drawing from the Next Chapter design a feature of the new generation NX. Luxury shines through with the simplicity of the interior design and what really impressed me was the focused driver’s cockpit which made me feel that I was completely in charge of the RX500h. Good design has delivered better forward vision for the driver and for fellow passengers high comfort levels are part of the package.

Forgive me for returning to the original LS400 which, amongst its many qualities, had a quiet cabin and now the RX500h can claim the same. Behind the wheel, not only do you get that performance, sporty feel, but one of luxury too, the overall driving experience is not disappointing. Few vehicles in this sector of the market will be able to match or better what this member of the Lexus family achieves.

The modern SUV, like so many other vehicles on the market, not only provides all round drive capability but has a major focus on technology, so I am happy to report that those lucky enough to get their driving hands on this newcomer will fully appreciate and enjoy all of the technology onboard. The multi media system I appreciated providing a wealth of information and entertainment on the move. Summing up, the RX500h is the complete package, performance meets luxury and for me it sets a very high standard.

Ian Lynas

%d bloggers like this: