our discovery of the new premium plug-in hybrid SUV

New design, new interior, new platform, new engines, new features. The Lexus RX is making a makeover and intends to follow the success of its greats. Head to Brussels to discover the new Lexus RX 450h premium SUV + Lexus plug-in hybrid.

With more than 3.5 million units sold since 1998, the Lexus RX is the undisputed bestseller of the brand. The premium SUV returns today with an updated fifth generation, more modern than ever. Among the three models on offer, focus on the basic range: the Lexus RX 450h + plug-in hybrid.

The Lexus RX 450h + on the side of appearance: sleek dynamism

After the 100% electric RZ 450e, it gives way to rechargeable hybrid refurbishment. Not surprisingly, the Lexus RX 450h + receives styling codes from the brand’s latest productions. The SUV has a dynamic and refined design, the result of the premium approach so loved by the manufacturer. A design driven by generous volumes, but also and above all its elegant profile and a sporty touch. True to the RX’s historic architecture since 1998, the RX 450h + continues the line of the floating roof at the rear. A “floating roof” characterized by its long black quarter / rear pillar, which joins the rear gate. The lower grille leaves room for more body surface above the logo. The hourglass is gone, Lexus subtly asserts its desire to be fully electric and its grills complete. The sharp shape of the front extends to a high waist line, to the trunk at the back.

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The latter houses a luminous signature that crosses the tailgate from end to end, in line with the current trend. Its dimensions: 4.89 m long, 1.92 m wide (+25 mm) and 1.71 m (-10 mm) high. The slight lowering of the roof contributes to the coupe look, lined with 21-inch wheels for the sporty side. Finally, the pioneer of the luxury SUV sees its wheelbase extended by 60 mm to 2.85 m. For the rest, we find some details seen in the RZ such as handles, mirrors and sharper lights. The F Sport package adds a little touch of dynamism, with its specific shields, grilles and side skirts. However, it is exclusive to the Lexus RX 500h, the most efficient model in the range. Overall, the Lexus RX 450h + plug-in hybrid is upgraded, without taking too many risks.

Inside: premium cocoon

On board, the “Tazuna” cab (horsepower in Japanese) of the Lexus RX 450h + focuses on the driver. Understand why it aims to offer more direct and intuitive control thanks to smart instruments. In even more concrete terms, the design is designed to be ergonomic avoiding distractions. This is thanks to a unique dial counter, centralized indicators and a relatively minimalist interior. The 14-inch center touch screen brings together all functions in a minimum of gestures, in a promising HD interface. Special mention to the integration of physical buttons for temperature control, very successful and appreciable. The RX uses a variety of materials, including wood (inserts), vegetable leather (upholstery) and fabric (interior panels). If the seats look comfortable and tight enough, we still feel a little “overwhelmed” by the large center console.

This, quite wide, imposes a limit on our right leg quite quickly. Comfort is still promising, thanks in particular to the electric thigh support cushion. The rear passengers will also be very well seated, thanks to the flat floor and the three real seats. It should be noted, however, that those over 1.85 m may be hindered by roof protection. This was especially the case with one of our fellow locals, who played the headliner. Wide electrical adjustments, panoramic roof, folding seats 40/20/40: the practical aspects are there. At the rear, the trunk threshold of the Lexus RX 450h + is lowered by 30 mm for easy loading. Meanwhile, the new design of the trunk door saves 50 mm in depth, ideal for long objects.

Lexus 450h + plug-in hybrid: “Lexus Driving Signature”

The plug-in Lexus RX 450h + hybrid is based on an optimized version of the NX’s GA-K platform. Longer wheelbase, increased stiffness and lower center of gravity announce maximum driving comfort. Maintaining the “Signature” driving experience of the manufacturer is the goal. In terms of performance, our 450h + represents the heart of the range. In the program: 4 cylinders of 2.5 l, two electric motors (front and rear), and a lithium-ion battery of 18.1 kWh. All these beautiful people develop a combined power of 225 kW (306 hp) and 572 Nm of torque. The 0 to 100 km / h occurs in 7 seconds, and the combined consumption advertised at 1.2 l / 100 km. The RX 450h + is presented as the ideal transition vehicle for all-electric, without too much pressure on the usual brand either. Efficiency is therefore the center of concern, between low consumption and CO2 emissions of less than 26 g / km.

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The battery promises 65 km of fully electric range and a speed of 135 km / h. When the battery is discharged, the RX becomes a classic self-charging hybrid. It remains to be seen all this behind the wheel! There are two other engines available: 350h and 500h. The first (245 hp / 335 Nm) will not be available in France. It will therefore be necessary to choose between 450h + efficiency and 500h performance. The latter inaugurates Lexus’ first turbocharged hybrid engine, with Direct4 all-wheel drive. Key figures: 273 kW, 371 hp, 645 Nm, 0 to 100 in 5.9 seconds. With CO2 emissions of 189 g / km and a console of 8.5 l / 100 km, the high-performance SUV is aimed at drivers looking for … performance. Finally, in the absence of definitive prices, Lexus announces a budget that ranges between € 88,900 and € 98,900 for the Lexus RX 450h +.

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