We drive this attractive hybrid SUV and see if it lives up to its Rs 1 crore-plus price tag.
What is it?
Arguably the most attractive car in Lexus’ current range in India, the new fourth-generation RX is a car you just can't ignore. It's rakish design and extremely aggressive detailing make it stand out from the crowd, even in the Rs 1 crore-plus segment, and what helps differentiate it even more is the fact that it is only one of two hybrids in its class; the Volvo XC90 T8 being the other.
But it's the design that draws your attention to it first. And what you notice immediately, without a shadow of a doubt, is that huge ‘spindle-like’ grille up front. It is a bit over the top, but there's no denying that those sharp angles and edges draw your eyes in. The maws are aggressive, the headlights look like a pair of swords and, around the side, that fast flowing roof just 'floats' above the rear in an extremely interesting manner. One thing's for sure, there is currently nothing like the RX out there, and that, coming from a Japanese carmaker, is something to celebrate.
The new Lexus RX 450h is equally interesting under the skin. Built on a stiffened and extended all-steel platform, it uses a longer 2,790mm wheelbase, extremely slippery aerodynamics and adjustable dampers that are ideal for our difficult and variable road conditions.
Under the bonnet, petrol and electric power make up the hybrid drive system. The drive system combines a 262hp petrol V6 mated to a pair of electric drive motors that put out 123Kw (167hp). Total combined power is 313hp. The combustion engine also makes a decent amount of torque but, most of its 335Nm is delivered at a high 4,700rpm. Still, because the electric motors provide all their torque from start up, the two systems blend very well together.
Further down, the V6’s power is sent to an E-CVT gearbox whose maximum and minimum ratios have been widened to both provide better punch off the line as well as a lower engine speed while cruising. And the RX uses a four-wheel-drive system that is very different as well. Here, drive at the rear is provided via an electric motor, and, to add to efficiency, the rear motor also acts as a generator and charges the battery when the vehicle is braking. A hybrid car's regeneration system also messes up brake feel so to get around that the RX 450h uses a much improved actuator to help the transition from regen to the brake discs.