What is it?
The midsize offering in the Lexus SUV lineup.
The big news with this one is the company is talking about adding a third row of seats, though we’re not sure where it will fit with that steeply raked roofline.
Until now if you needed to seat more people the one real option was the very capable, but extremely large LX570 – a V8 version of of the equally gigantic 200 Series Land Cruiser.
What’s it cost?
With nine models prices range from $74,540 for the front-drive 200t Luxury, with 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine, up to $108,610 for the top of the line 450h with a hybrid powertrain.
Our test car, the very affordable but desirable 200t F Sport comes in at $86,840 plus on-roads.
If you want all-wheel drive, it comes with a V6 and a $7000 premium.
The equipment list is extensive which is one of the RX’s major attractions.
It includes 20-inch alloys, LED headlights, powered, heated and cooled front seats, power operated tailgate and wireless phone charger.
F Sport adds sports front seats, sports-tuned adaptive suspension, sports steering wheel with paddle shifters, sports grille and bumpers, unique alloy wheels, 12.3-inch display screen, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio, colour head-up display, smart key card, rear passenger door sunshade and aluminium film ornamentation (not sure what this last item is).
Safety stuff includes 10 airbags, rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, auto high beam, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and pre-collision safety with auto emergency braking.
What’s it go like?
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine has been a real asset since introduction.
It’s smooth, powerful and economical, with 175kW of power and 350Nm of torque between 1650 and 4000 engine revs.
That’s more than enough oomph for the majority of drivers.
The engine is hooked up to an 6-speed auto with change paddles and fuel-saving auto stop-start tech, while the more expensive V6 gets an 8-speed.
The combination is not overly quick off the line, at 9.2 seconds for the dash from 0-100km/h – but it is nevertheless a solid performer with little or no turbo lag.
Our main gripe concerns the feeling of isolation, lack of feedback from the steering and unengaging drive experience.
Of course that won’t worry most people but this particular model also misses out on the ambience that we have come to associate with the brand.
As well as the standard drive setting, there’s sport and sport plus modes, but it could do with something in between – it’s either too sluggish or too frenetic.
That’s not to say the F Sport is unappealing because it discharges it main responsibilities easily and without fuss.
It’s roomy and comfortable with relaxing accommodation for four adults and a high class audio system.
We also like the simplified instrumentation and huge 12.3 inch computer screen that provides plenty of real estate for info.
But while the system warns of approaching speed cameras it does not show the current speed limit like some systems – nor in fact the name of the street in which you’re travelling.
The heads up display is also not visible with polarised sunglasses – Lexus/Toyota seem to have dropped the ball with this one.
On a more practical note, fuel consumption from the 72-litre tank is rated at 8.1 litres/100km and we were getting 9.9 after close to 500km of mixed driving.
The boot which hides a space saver spare is shallow and a bit small.
What we like?
- Head turner
- Lexus build quality
- Plenty of standard kit
- Nice and roomy inside
- Easy to drive
- Reasonably economical
What we don’t?
- Feels plasticky
- Unexciting to drive
- Lugs in standard mode
- Feels frenetic set to in sport
- Tyre noise on coarse chip bitumen
- Suspension needs fine tuning for Aussie roads
What are the alternatives?
BMW X5 2.0 sDrive 25d, priced from $89,200
Sure it’s a BMw but you’re just scraping in at this price and you’ll want options.
Infiniti QX70 3.7 S Premium, priced from $85,900
Probably the most direct competitor, but the 3.7-litre V6 is liable to be thirsty.
Land Rover Discovery 2.0 TD4 HSE, priced from $87,150
The HSE is three steps up the food chain but the trade off if you want to call it that is the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Deal or no deal?
Not for me. Feels too big, boxy and overdone.
My wife on the other hand loves it. What more can I say?