The new Lexus RX 450h has received a makeover. The luxury hybrid SUV crossover now boasts a new front, new interior trim finishes, new steering wheel and instrument clusters, and a more advanced second-generation remote touch interface. Available in 'SE' hybrid trim and, for the first time in South Africa, an 'F-Sport' hybrid trim, the Lexus RX 450h caters to discerning buyers looking for cars for sale in the premium-quality SUV segment.
Up front, the car has a new 'spindle' grille which is flanked by revised L-shaped headlights that now include daytime running lights. There is a new bumper and fog light design and at the back, new LED tail-light clusters and a power-operated tailgate which comes standard across the range. On the RX 450h F-Sport model the front design has more of an aggressive look with a deeper more vertical front bumper and a bigger and lower grille with subtle aerodynamic design elements along the side and rear. Both models have 235/55 tyres on 19 inch alloys.
Inside the RX 450h there's a revised steering wheel, door trim, instrument panel and centre console. There is a head-up display which allows for key vehicle data to be projected directly onto the windscreen within the driver's exact field of vision. Seamless interaction with the on-board information system is made possible with a second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) which features the world's first slide-type joystick control mechanism which functions much like a computer mouse; the ENTER command is accomplished by simply pushing down on the controller. In the SE, model specifications include: semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats with 10-way power adjustment, roof rails, wood-rimmed steering wheel and gear lever and a 15 speaker Mark Levinson sound system with DVD capability. The RX 450h F Sport model gets a special steering wheel complete with perforated leather and F Sport logo, drilled aluminium pedals with a non-slip finish and luxurious black/grey leather upholstery, black roof lining and a metallic finished dashboard trim. Both hybrid models give a choice between various driving modes (Normal, EV, Eco and Sport) which modify throttle response, electric power steering, vehicle stability control and traction control settings for sharper responses and driving agility performance. The four driving modes can be selected through the steering wheel, while the electric only mode can now also be activated through a separate EV switch.
The Lexus RX 450h is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 direct injection petrol engine (183 kW / 317 Nm) and two high output electric motors (one 116 kW electric and one sealed metal hybrid battery pack). Thanks to this potent combination of petrol/electric power, the Lexus RX 450h goes from 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, while using just 6.3 litres/100 km of fuel on a combined cycle. Buy a car like this and EV (Electric Vehicle) mode will get you from A to B in near silence, using no petrol and emitting zero CO2. The hybrid battery needs no external charging and occupies minimum room giving the RX 450h generous boot space (446 litres). The RX 450h F-Sport is mechanically identical but has performance upgrades to improve handling and road-holding.
A comprehensive list of safety equipment on all models include ABS brakes with Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Hill Start Assist, parking assist, tailgate with child protector feature, and front, side and curtain bags (including knee bags for both front occupants).
In times of price-hikes all round, incredibly Lexus has introduced its RX range at the same price as its predecessors. This fact, coupled with the already extensive list of standard features included, makes the Lexus RX 450h a viable consideration when looking at buying a quality SUV. Pricing is quoted at R768 000 for the RX 450h SE and R755 000 for the RX 450h F-Sport. (Prices are subject to change according to various factors, so please consult your dealer for the latest price.)