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[Review] 2015 Lexus RX450h Hybrid SUV

2015 Lexus RX450h Sport 3

Priced from $125,900, the Lexus RX450h Sport is the premium offering to Toyota vehicles. The RX450h SUV screams luxury all around the car, interior and exterior. From the thick, comfy sport seats to the 3.5L V6 hybrid engine, the RX450h Sport is a very nice car to drive and be a passenger in.

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I picked the Lexus up on a Friday and when about to leave the dealership one of the guys told me to make sure I crank up the music in the car, as it’s got a very nice 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio built-in, which would cost the buyer an extra 3 grand! It sure does sound real nice, as when cranked all the way up, there is absolutely no distortion, and every note still sounds crisp as Gala apples.

The Lexus RX450h has three models: the base one, the Limited one and my F-Sport model. The only differences between the Limited and my F-Sport model is that Limited has a panoramic roof, and the Mark Levinson Premium Audio speakers are a permanent addition to the car.

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The hybrid engine in the Lexus RX450h is a 3.5L petrol-driven. It produces a maximum power of 230kW, including the electric motors. I was very impressed with the fuel economy on this, as I got an average of 9.3L/100KM after driving 330KM, considering it is an all wheel drive, and has a pretty beefy engine.

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Adaptive mouse to control the entertainment system.

Technology wise, the Lexus RX450h is considered a high-performer in this area too. The 12.3″ Electro Multi Vision (EMV) non-touch screen is controlled via an adaptive mouse with vibration feedback, and depending on how “far” the next option is on the screen, the mouse will adapt to that as well providing a longer mouse movement to get to that option. The screen resolution is 1280×480 and has an aspect ratio of 24:9. This makes it one of the widest/biggest entertainment screens in a car, apart from say a Tesla or the new Volvo XC90, with its iPad-like touch screen which basically takes over the center console. The wide screen is split into two layouts: two-thirds on the left side and a third on the right. What is so good about this layout is that the right side can be set to display either music, phone, AC, or details about the car, while the bigger side on the left can be used to do something else. When reversing the camera shows the usual reversing camera, as well as a 360-degree aerial view of the vehicle. There is even a front camera view as well!

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The instrument panel in the F-Sport RX450h is made of aluminium and is not a fixed analogue display as in most vehicles these days. The center of the digital instrument panel has a digital speedo, as well as a digital tachometer. There can be lots of other little signs on there thanks to its safety tech such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, radar cruise control, traction control, parking sensors, parking brake and if the car is in EV mode or not. However because of the colour scheme, it is definitely better on the eyes despite an almost cluttered instrument panel.

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2015 Lexus RX450h Sport 14

Speaking of technology, did I mention it has a head-up display as well as a Qi wireless charging panel for your phone? It was also nice that you could manually turn the wireless charging panel on and off, so it didn’t waste charge or emit tiny bits of radiation when you weren’t charging your phone.

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Eco, Sport and Sport+ Modes changes the driving dynamics of the car such as stiffer suspension for Sport modes. EV mode attempts to put the vehicle in electric mode only, if it has enough charge in the batteries.

A recent trend I tended to notice with most new cars these days is that when you are close to the car, about to unlock it, it senses you are near and illuminates the door handles and insides making it easier to see. The Lexus was no different.

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The car itself drives very nice, is very smooth and glides through imperfections on the road thanks to its adaptive variable suspension. People on the outside have said that the trouble with electric vehicles is that you just don’t hear them coming! And that is true, as when the car is in EV mode, the petrol engine will shut itself off, and if it wasn’t for me blasting out the music, you would not hear a single thing in the cabin apart from some road noise. Even that is pretty minimal because of the well-sealed cabin.

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One thing I did have trouble with is Lexus’ touch-less power rear door. The back Lexus emblem is also a motion sensor for the power tailgate. Supposedly when you hold your hand over it for a certain period of time, it will open up automatically. I only got that to work twice… When it does work, I see how it would be helpful.

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Backseat passengers mentioned how spacious and luxurious it was, as the rear seats have seat warmers too. The front seats have seat coolers, as well as seat warmers. Great for those summer long trips!

During my week with the Lexus, I had to take a few people to the airport and so all five seats in the car were filled. The boot was also filled with luggage, and just fit perfectly into place. Passengers also mentioned how comfortable it was, as there were no sudden jerks even when accelerating to speed or braking. That could be my driving too, but I’d say most of it was also thanks to the car.

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Does this look like Air New Zealand’s Spaceseat?

Another thing I must mention is the seats. They are absolutely a joy to sit in; thick and comfy. Just to show you how comfortable they were, I managed to fall sleep for an hour in them. Do they look like Air New Zealand’s premium economy Spaceseat offering?

Overall, the Lexus RX450h Sport is a very nice car to drive and be a passenger in. If I had $125,000 the Lexus would definitely be my top SUV choice to buy right now.