Review: Lexus RX (2015)
Very refined and smooth. Impeccable interior finish. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Lots of standard equipment for the money. 2,000kg towing capability.
Not great in corners. 200t is very thirsty. No plug-in option so lowest CO2 is 120g/km.
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Lexus RX (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £48,690, brokers can source from £44,364
- Contract hire deals from £506.40 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 34–42
- On average it achieves 65% of the official MPG figure
The 2015 incarnation of the upmarket RX showcases Lexus new look design to the full. It's all angles and and sharp edges with that striking front end and huge grille giving it real road presence. This is one SUV that won't get mistaken for anything else...
It certainly doesn't follow the conventions of other SUVs either. Like the rest of the Lexus range there is no diesel engine, instead Lexus offers the RX with just two means of power. A 200t petrol or the more popular 450h hybrid. Hybrid's are of course a Lexus speciality and no one does them better, especially in big cars like the RX.
The hybrid has a 3.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor which combined provide 313PS. There are huge reserves of torque available from a standstill, meaning the Lexus always provides effortless yet swift performance. You're certainly never left wanting for pace when you need it.
Yet what the RX does so well is travel along in impeccable refinement. It's near silent at motorway speeds thanks to improved sound insulation and while the CVT can take some getting used to if you've come out of a big diesel SUV, it doesn't take long to appreciate how effortless it makes the RX to drive.
True the Lexus RX isn't the best handling SUV. In corners it feels a bit cumbersome and lacks the agility of alternative SUVs, but that's not it's strength. Instead this is a car to make smooth and relaxed progress - it's ideal for long distance motorway travel.
It's also practical and spacious inside. Despite the coupe-like design, there's actually lots of rear headroom and a huge boot too, along with incredibly comfortable and supportive seats. The interior design is a little hit and miss but there's no denying the impeccable quality that runs throughout.
On paper the RX looks quite expensive. The entry-level model is around £40,000 and the top Premier version is close to £58k. But standard equipment on all but the S model covers pretty much everything you'd ever want or need - and includes many features which would cost you extra on an alternative like the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
What does a Lexus RX (2015) cost?
Lexus RX (2015): What's It Like Inside?
This RX is slightly longer than the model it replaces and it also has a bigger wheelbase. What does that mean for you? Well there's more legroom for those in the back without impacting on boot space. The seats are also lower than before which means better headroom plus all three rear seats can be reclined. If those in the back want a snooze.
Fitting a child seat is easy thanks to easy to access Isofix points with rubber covers rather than the ones hidden away between the seat back and base. The rear doors open nice and wide too so it's easy to get little ones in and out.
The boot is reasonably large but if it's outright carrying capacity you want it's best to look elsewhere. The RX can carry 453 litres of whatever you want to throw in it but a Jaguar F-Pace can cope with 650 litres. If you're going across for Europe with the kids in tow - that shortage of boot room could be a real issue.
There's no quibbles over the quality of the interior though. The Lexus feels like a top quality product with a real attention to detail and a plush feel to all the materials used. All models (apart from the S which is only available as a 200t) come with leather seats as you'd expect, heated and ventilated for your pleasure naturally.
What's not so good is the interior layout. It lacks the style and cohesion of similar premium SUVs. For example it lacks the cutting edge feel of an Audi Q7 or the simplicity of a Jaguar F-Pace. There are a lot of buttons and controls, many hidden away down by your knee, while some of the buttons wouldn't be out of place on a 10-year old Toyota - the cruise control lever being a prime example.
What Lexus has improved is its navigation and infotainment system. There's a huge high resolution widescreen if you go for a Luxury model or above - 12.3-inches if you're measuring - which sits atop the dash. The RX sticks with the off mouse-type controller rather than a dial or touchpad, but Lexus has made it easier to use although it still takes a little getting used.
There's still no digital speedo on the Lexus - something which seems quite baffling considering it's a feature on most small family cars. There is a head-up display which projects speed - and it's world's largest according to Lexus - but it only comes on Premier models. Other useful features include a wireless smartphone charging pad standard on Luxury models and above.
You can't argue with comfort levels though. The RX has superbly supportive yet comfortable seats plus there's impressive sound insulation and very little noise in the cabin - even at motorway speeds, helped by acoustic glass and new door seals.
S is available exclusively with front-wheel drive and gets dual-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, heated front seats, Lexus Navigation with an eight-inch display screen, a nine-speaker audio system with DAB, reversing camera, LED headlamps, roof rails and dual chrome-tipped exhausts.
SE leads off the full hybrid range, with the addition of an auto-dimming rear-view and door mirrors, smooth leather upholstery, eight-way power adjustable heated/ventilated front seats and memory settings for the steering wheel, driver’s seat and door mirrors. Roof rails are not included in the SE specification.
Luxury models feature all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with memory settings, Lexus Premium Navigation with 12.3-inch display screen and DVD player, 20-inch alloy wheels, power tailgate with “no-touch” opening, “triple-L” LED headlights, wireless smartphone charger and auto-dimming door mirrors with memory setting.
F Sport models havea different front spindle grille and the addition of F Sport-specific features, including dedicated front and rear bumpers, black door mirror housings, F Sport 20-inch alloys and (on the 200t) twin F Sport rear exhausts. The F Sport treatment continues in the cabin with F Sport front seats and steering wheel, perforated leather upholstery, drilled aluminium pedals and a specific illumination design for the instrument panel and doors. As well as a sharper appearance, the F Sport models also benefit from dynamic ride, handling and control features, including Adaptive Variable Suspension, Lexus’s Sport Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system and sports-tuned electric power steering. In other respects the F Sport models share the same impressive equipment list as the Luxury grade, plus low-speed cornering fog lights and sun shades on the rear doors.
Premier grade is exclusive to the RX 450h and adds semi-aniline leather upholstery with 10-way power adjustable front seats. Both driver and front passenger seat have memory settings and multi-adjustable, power lumbar support for ultimate comfort. A colour head-up display, 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround audio system, 360-degree view monitor and a heated steering wheel are also provided and illuminated scuff plates add extra quality detailing. Customers can select their preference of a sunroof or (opening) panoramic roof. In common with the F Sport, the RX 450h Premier is fitted with Adaptive Variable Suspension and low-speed cornering lights.
Child seats that fit a Lexus RX (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Lexus RX (2015) like to drive?
The majority of RX models are the 450h hybrid and its gentle nature puts you at ease as you set off silently in EV mode. The RX is all about refinement and the ride quality is impeccable - this feels every inch the luxury SUV it's billed as.
If you go for an F Sport model, you have a choice of Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport S and Sport S Plus modes, which hold the gears to increasingly high revs. You also get paddles behind the steering wheel to select gears if you want to. However, the RX is a car that's much happier left in standard automatic mode as it's rarely found wanting for power.
The CVT gearbox means continual and effortless acceleration, albeit accompanied by that strange whir which can be disconcerting if you've never driven a similar hybrid before. However, Lexus has worked hard to minimise this with better sound insulation compared to the old RX and the similarly powered GS saloon.
It's a rapid SUV if you want it to be and has no problem overtaking slow moving trucks or dealing with inclines. But even one the bigger 20-inch wheels with 235/55 R20 tyres, the essence of the RX is luxury. While it handles and grips competently, there is nothing for keen drivers to get excited about.
It’s no Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport in its road manners. It's better to enjoy the supportive and comfortable leather-covered seats and the Mark Levinson sound system than pretend you’re a rally driver.
Drive it in the relaxed manner it's suited to and you'd hope to see closer to the official economy figure of 51.4mpg (on 18-inch wheels). But Real MPG shows that mid 30s is more realistic. However, it's the low CO2 that makes this such an appealing company car choice, as low as 120g/km for the 450h. An Audi Q7 3.0 TDI emits 150gkm.
As a less expensive alternative to the RX450h, Lexus is offering the RX with a 2.0 litre four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and front wheel or four wheel drive - the 200t.
It’s nicer to drive than its smaller brother, the Lexus NX and uses a conventional 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission, so has none of the disconcerting CVT effect you sometimes feel in the 450h. It's also actually proving more economical with owners, despite a lower claimed economy figure.
|200t||35–36 mpg||9.2–9.5 s||181–189 g/km|
|450h||45–54 mpg||7.7 s||120–127 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Lexus RX (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Lexus RX (2015)?
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Is It possible to buy a hybrid SUV that can tow a 2000kg caravan?
What Cars Are Similar To The Lexus RX (2015)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Four-wheel drive, High quality interior, Large boot, Luxury finish, Modern technology, Motorway cruiser, Raised driving position, Refined ride, Room for a buggy, Petrol engine, SUV and Premium crossover.
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.
What do owners think?
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