2015 Lexus RX 450h Sports Luxury

2015 Lexus RX 450h Sports Luxury

When it comes to vehicle propulsion, Lexus has well and truly grabbed the petrol-electric hybrid bull by the horns. Other alternative power sources don’t get a look-in.

And it seems the luxury arm of Toyota is on the right track. Diesel is rapidly falling out of favour after doing the dirty with the emission software sleight of hand by the Volkswagen Group; total electric is at the mercy of poor battery storage and hence range worries; and hydrogen fuel cells have so far failed to win the hearts, minds and wallets of the motoring public.

Now Lexus has turned up the ‘juice’ with a new line of sports utility vehicles, the fourth generation of the luxury marque’s RX mid-size SUV, which includes a serious hybrid component.

What was once a snooty SUV has taken on an everyman role. The core of this is a competitive model and price structure, with the entry-level RX 200t, using Lexus’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission driving through the front wheels, for $73,000, plus on-road costs.

Following are six more variants, including three with petrol-electric hybrid powertrains, topping out with the RX 450h Sports Luxury at $106,000. A series of optional enhanced equipment packages are offered throughout the range.

For example, the RX 200t, already replete with standard features such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, LED headlamps and wireless phone charger, can be up-specced even further with one of three enhancement packs incorporating panoramic sunroof, head-up display and 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio, depending on the pack chosen.

2015 Lexus RX 450h Sports Luxury

The range-topping RX 450h Sports Luxury has 20-inch wheels with coloured inserts, adaptive headlights, panoramic view back monitor and sequential LED front and rear indicators.

However, it is really left to the turbo-engine entry level variant to produce the real point of difference with competitors. The motor, which debuted in the NX 200t and has since found a home in the Lexus line-up including IS, GS and RC, puts out 175 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque, 38 kW more power than the naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine it replaces in the RX 270 and more torque than that of the previous generation RX 350. Towing capacity is a modest 1000 kg.

Interestingly, it out-powers the 2.0-litre turbo engine in the Audi Q5 TFSI quattro and tops the 2.0-litre turbo of the BMW X3 xDrive20i and X4 xDrive20i in both power and torque.

Add to this a high level of specification, which includes the Lexus Safety System+, and it becomes obvious that Lexus Australia is keen catch the attention of first-time customers.

The V6 engines of the Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, with their eight-speed automatic gearbox and constantly variable transmission, respectively, and all-wheel drive, also show power, torque and fuel efficiency improvements over the units they replace.

Performance for the RX 200t and RX is matched at 9.2 seconds for the run from zero to 100 km/h, while the RX 450h cuts the figure to 7.7 seconds.

2015 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

The new Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h F Sport and Sports Luxury have, for the first time, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) which improves the ride by controlling all four dampers according to road conditions and the manner in which the vehicle is being driven. Drive Mode Select sends the AVS into Sport S+ mode for a sportier drive.

Up to five occupants can be seated in a cabin that is a place of comfort and calm, as only Lexus can do. A longer wheelbase adds more legroom in the back.

Quality materials and craftsmanship are everywhere and the Human Machine Interface ensures operation and display zones are kept separate for easy access while on the move.

The entire Lexus RX Line features the company’s Safety System+, which incorporates active cruise control, pre-collision safety system, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and sway warning control.

The controversial Lexus spindle grille dominates the front. Redesigned daytime running lights blend in well with the drama of the huge grille.

The rear takes its cue from the radiator grille shape, continuing the wide styling, while the vehicle profile is angular, yet sleek and aerodynamically sound.

On the launch, Lexus mapped out a city drive with just enough open road cruising to show off the variants to their best advantage. Little could be faulted – a credit to any ‘cruise line’.


Lexus RX 200t: $73,000
Enhancement Package 1: $3500
EP2: $4500
EP3: $7000
Lexus RX 350 Luxury: $80,000
EP1: $3500
EP2: $4500
Lexus RX 350 Sport: $92,000
Lexus RX 350 Sports Luxury: $98,000
Lexus RX 450h Luxury: $88,000
EP1: $3500
EP2: $4500
Lexus RX 450h F Sport: $100,000
Lexus RX 450h Sports Luxury: $106,000
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Lexus dealer for drive-away prices.

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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