Lexus RX 450h: The hybrid SUV is now a more refined, precise and quiet car
The Lexus RX 450h is renewed now that the Japanese brand turned 30. It does it to polish more if it fits its attributes of comfort, softness and silence of march, while receiving some touch-ups at an aesthetic level, inside and in terms of its technological endowment. We have driven it and we tell you what it offers.
The Lexus RX has changed a lot since the first generation was put up for sale in 1998, creating the first premium hybrid SUV in history according to the Japanese brand.
Although in some aspects the jump has been giant, the truth is that the RX remains true to its principles, offering a product with a very strong personality and a very specific positioning.
These attributes have allowed it to become the best-selling model in Lexus history and currently in our market occupies the second place of sales within the brand, which expects to reach 10,000 units sold this year for the first time.
It is necessary to have the precision for the detail of the Takumi masters to appreciate the evolution that this Lexus RX 2020 has undergone with respect to the previous model, with denomination 2018.
They are small touches on the outside, materialized in new front and rear bumpers, a front grille with a new frame and thinner and sharper front optics.
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In the later part of the daylight it is almost impossible to appreciate differences with respect to the previous model, since the main changes come from the optics with new L-shaped LED lines.
It also slightly changes the design of the lower part of the bumper. In short, touch-ups so that the car looks more current without it being necessary to attract attention with very radical changes.
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More space for the third row of the RX L
As until now, the Lexus RX 2020 is offered in two versions, the normal one with five seats and the RX L with a third row and seven seats.
One of the main novelties is found precisely in that rear row, which now has two positions allowing the bench to be moved up to 95 millimeters forward or backward to improve space for occupants or gain liters of luggage.
For the rest, the new RX incorporates a new touch screen in the center of the dashboard, whose commands can also be selected from a new touch plate located between both seats. The old “mouse” so characteristic of this model disappears.
Technically, the induction charging plate for mobile phones is also new, or the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity that is so lacking today, especially if we take into account that the Lexus browser is still very poor in terms of graphics of the cartography or precision in the indications, as we could verify ourselves.
For the rest, the interior of the Lexus RX remains an example of refinement in the shapes, materials and adjustments, forming a car that is very pleasant for the occupants of the front or rear seats.
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Novel lights that spin very fast
To present this renewed Lexus RX, the Japanese brand took us to the island of Ibiza, a site “a priori” not very suitable for testing a large SUV like this, since even now that the summer season ends, its roads are still quite full of cars.
We thought then that perhaps they had chosen the magical island for its nightlife and to be able to show us how another of the technological innovations of the Lexus RX works, a world first since only this model has it.
I mean AHS with BladeScan technology, which basically consists of LED lights that reflect on rotating blades. These, move so fast projecting a beam of light towards the road, that the human eye sees it as a continuous and fixed beam of light.
To put a simile, it is as if a marine lighthouse of LED lights turned so fast that it formed a continuous beam of light with the naked eye. According to the Japanese brand, this area illuminates better areas that may be difficult to see with conventional long lights, such as roadside shoulders.
It also helps the driver to see pedestrians and traffic signs more quickly and, combined with the AHS (Adaptive High beam System), also avoids other vehicles that circulate in the same direction or the opposite to avoid dazzling them.
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In progress everything is smoothness and refinement
Already underway in a first contact with the Lexus RX, the most notable changes compared to previous generations of this model, we do not find it in the engine or in the gearbox, which remain the same.
The RX450h equips a 3.5 V6 engine that relies on another electric to generate a total of 313 horsepower. The hybrid system, as long as you drive at quiet speeds and rates, allows you to make many kilometers without the thermal engine being activated.
This way we could verify it by the Balearic Island, where the traffic rhythm forces to circulate quite slowly in the majority of the occasions, reason why it is possible to make routes of about 60 kilometers, with average speed of 54km / h using the electrical way for 40% of the time.
Perhaps that is why it is able to declare very tight WLTP consumption, with 7.6 l / 100 km and thus earn the DGT’s ECO label that enables it to enter areas such as Central Madrid or to circulate at times of traffic restrictions.
But apart from all this, dynamically what changes most with respect to its predecessor is the response to the movements of direction and precision in curves, since the set is somewhat more agile and precise than before.
Part of that precision comes with new shock absorbers that make the car turn very flat, with hardly any rocking that penalizes the dynamics.
The stabilizer bars have also changed very slightly. Now they are hollow inside and have a millimeter more in diameter than before, enough to give more rigidity to the whole.
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In addition, 4.5 meters of high strength glue are now used in the assembly of the structure more than before, which also helps to improve stiffness.
In short, what we can assure is that the car treads better and transmits to the driver more confidence, without losing an apex of ride comfort, its main attribute.
It also feels softer thanks to the significant reduction in vibrations that reach the passenger compartment, whether from the engine and gearbox assembly or from the road.
In addition to all this a solution that we knew in other cars but not in a Lexus RX. Now the SUV has the Active Cornering Assistant, which is responsible for exercising some brake on the inner wheel in the curves, thus improving its dynamism.