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Lexus first drive review in India
It’s radical and a hybrid. An SUV and a Lexus. The new Lexus RX 450h is just too much of a temptation.
Of all the Lexus cars we drove in the scenic hills of Ooty (Udhagamandalam), the RX 450h is clearly the most outstanding design. And being a hybrid at the steep rupees one crore price point, it doesn’t even have any direct competitors. You definitely haven’t seen anything like this on Indian roads before.
Lexus hybrid range driven in India

What grabs your attention upfront is the distinctly Lexus spindle grille. It’s massive and pretty much engulfs the entire face of the RX. The fog-light console, running from the skid-plates towards the frowning full-LED headlamp, adds a unique character to the SUV’s face.
2017 Lexus RX 450h first drive review

The side profile is equally aggressive with crisp character lines and a black section on the chunky C-pillar giving the impression of a floating roof. The sloping roof-line is accentuated by a sporty rear spoiler and the sharp angle of the rear windscreen. There are L-shaped LED tail-lights, while the lines on the boot-lid also follow the spindle design. One of the biggest attractions of the RX is that it’s such an unusual looking car. This Lexus refuses to merge with the crowd.

There are two variants on offer: Luxury and F-Sport. Both have been specced differently, which is more evident inside. The latter has a sportier cabin, right from the red upholstery to bucket-like front seats. It also gets paddle-shifters, aluminium floor pedals and an engine sound enhancer.
2017 Lexus RX 450h first drive review

Its SUV-like design makes it easy to get in and immediately you’ll notice that the RX has a driver-centric cabin with the console tilted towards you. The steering wheel size isn’t large as in SUVs nor sports car-like tiny, but just about right. The grip is reassuring and has nicely positioned control buttons on it. The F-Sport we drove comes with an eight-inch information display which also includes a G-sensor that tells the driver about the steering angle and accelerator position, etc. The Luxury trim gets all-analogue instruments, similar to the ES 300h sedan.

The cabin is beautifully crafted and the finish is top class. Plus there are plenty of customisation options and you can definitely tone down the red leather, if you like, to match the rest of the cabin’s understated design. You get up to 180 different leather and wood combinations to choose from. Our test car came with eight-way electrically adjustable front seats (both), while the driver seat also had memory function.
Lexus RX 450h dashboard display

The dashboard gets a large display with the cool joystick-like dial near the gear lever. The infotainment system’s interface is similar to the ES’, but here it gets a larger 12.3-inch screen display. So what do you do with a screen that large? How about using a part of it to display some basic car info while using the remaining to show your music play-list? What I can’t understand about the centre console is why it needs to have so many buttons when there’s already a massive touchscreen and a dial.

Coming to the all-important rear seats. These can be reclined electrically and the knee-room can be adjusted manually. The cushioning is firm, comfortable and well-bolstered, but could do with more under-thigh support. There’s decent cabin space in front and back and can easily accommodate four grown-ups. The sloping roof-line does take up some headroom from the rear but nothing that I would complain about.

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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