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Easy to impress


It’s hard not to like the Lexus RX. The large SUV has been the biggest seller for the premium Japanese brand for many moons now and, for 2020, the people’s choice has been tweaked and updated. We got stuck into two variants of the new car over a two-week period. So, the 2020 RX, is it still good? Well, yes actually.

 

 

Eight models, petrol and hybrid, make up the range, with petrol and hybrid powertrains available.

Things start at $97,400 for the base RX 350 petrol, and top out at $127,500 with the flagship RX 450hL hybrid. In between, you have the F SPORT and the high-end Limited options for the RX 350 and RX 450h, but Limited only for the roomier seven-seater L spec cars.

Power for the RX 350 and RX 350L comes in the form of a 3.5-litre petrol V6 putting 221kW/370Nm through all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic, while returning 9.6L/100km respectively. The RX 450h and RX 450hL naturally get the petrol-electric hybrid set up, with 230kW/335Nm and a CVT box. Economy is more frugal at 5.7L/100km.

The new RX gets some more goodies. Apple Car Play and Android Auto now come as standard, along with the same 12.3-inch infotainment system as before, albeit now with touchscreen capability.

2019 Lexus RX 450h Sports Luxury interior with Rich Cream trim and Bamboo ornamentation.

 

It also sits 138mm closer than before, but the touchpad interface can be a tad unresponsive at times.

Safety kit includes lane tracing assist, lane centring, road sign assist and cyclist detection.

Also, let’s not forget BladeScan. It may sound like a prequel to ‘Blade Runner’ but it is in actual fact, a world-first in headlight tech.

Both the F SPORT and Limited models have 12 individual lights incorporated into each headlight and BladeScan utilises tiny mirrors spinning at 100 times a second which help reflect the light through each headlight.

Lexus claim this shines more light on the road ahead than having 200 individual LED lights; a bright idea indeed.

First to test was the V6 petrol F SPORT, which from the get-go was rather nice on the move.

The howl of the 3.5-litre V6 was stimulating to say the least, and a linear torque curve above 2000rpm made for a smooth delivery of power.

The eight-speed box provided slick changes and perfectly weighted steering means plenty of feedback was on offer.

The RX 450h provided all the silent running you could expect with Lexus’ hybrid set up.

You can remain in EV mode up to speeds of 50km/h, but give it too much foot and it defaults to petrol power.

The choice of petrol or hybrid can be a conundrum for some however, for this writer, the hybrid represents the best choice for its frugality, refinement and efficiency which few in the game can do like Lexus can.

However, whichever you choose, the new look RX, like its predecessors, is easy to be impressed with.

The changes might be minor, but they bring the RX up-to-date in great style.


 

Lexus UX

Dynamic Attitude: Lexus UX


It’s Lexus’ answer to the compact SUV segment; a segment which has an offering from almost every single car brand.

 

Lexus UX

 

But the new Lexus UX, which will be introduced to the New Zealand market early next year, manages to stand out in the crowded market with a raft of brave new design elements and the efficiency of a petrol and self-charging hybrid system. Designed to appeal to younger buyers who seek what is new and exciting and relevant to their lifestyle, the UX is infused with dynamic attitude.

“The UX is likely to be the first Lexus for many customers, but also their first luxury vehicle,” Senior General Manager of Lexus New Zealand Paul Carroll says. “It is designed for the modern urban lifestyle with a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving.”

 



 

Lexus NX

Hot property: The Lexus NX needs to go home with you

When Lexus launched the NX back in 2014, it very quickly became hot property for buyers in the luxury compact SUV market, with its groundbreaking design, quality and attention to detail. Fast forward to 2018 and the old favourite has been given new life by way of a few updates, so we went to find out exactly what’s what.

Lexus NX

Lexus has a unique design philosophy that couldn’t be more Japanese. The same striking Transformer like angles and curves carry on, but it offers an updated front end, accompanied by the trademark wide grill and LED headlights are fitted as standard.
There are four models that make up the revised NX range. The entry level NX300 in two-wheel drive, the NX300 in four-wheel drive, the F-Sport and the Limited spec, with the latter two available with an optional hybrid set up.
The NX300 AWD featured in our test, is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine producing 175kW of grunt and 350Nm of torque. Mated to a six speed automatic box, the AWD returns 5.7L/100km respectively. A 2.5 litre petrol engine works in conjunction with hybrid models and eco, normal and sport drive modes still make an appearance.
The major overhaul as far as tech is concerned is with driver safety, with all models now coming standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlights, lane keep assist, lane departure alert, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.
The 7-inch infotainment screen, displaying sat nav, air con, media and other bits and bobs has grown to 10.3 inches, giving much more clarity. Plus the Mark Levinson sound system, which has been a regular feature in past models, makes a welcome return. All features can be controlled via Lexus’ laptop like touchpad, though this is not quite as cutting edge as I was expecting.
The sumptuous heated/air-conditioned leather chairs are perfect for slobbing out on the commute home. For rear seat passengers, head room can be a little restrictive however, this can be remedied by titling the electric reclining 60/40 split folding rear seats.
On the move, the turbo four pot pulls well, with most of its 175kW coming to life low in the rev range. The new NX range benefits from retuned suspension so cornering smoothly is an effortless pastime.
Select sport mode and flick down a paddle for the often mandatory overtake and the NX performs this task with ease. The NX’s coup de grace is ride quality, even the pothole-ravaged roads of Christchurch are hardly noticeable. Simply stick it in eco mode and waft away.
Prices for the 2018 NX range start at $82,400 and, after spending a week in its company, the Lexus NX’s little updates all add up to make a better all rounder and leaves little doubt that it’s future in this very competitive market is secure.