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Lexus RX 450h in the test

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Lexus RX 450h in the test
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R and savings of 12,000 euros are a house number. At least that much can be saved in Germany when buying a daytime registration of the Lexus RX 450h, Generation 3, in the most popular executive equipment. The fact that these tariffs will tend to give way in the future seems to have been agreed: Generation 4 is just around the corner and with it the usual question with discontinued models: buy now at a bargain price or wait for the successor model?

Luxury in the Lexus RX 450h

One of the often and gladly used arguments for this question is that of the 'teething troubles' of new models at the start of production. However, Lexus has not only proven in the past with the extremely reliable RX that the quality is right from the start. So we can concentrate on what the new Lexus RX 450h has ahead of its predecessor.

When testing the current model, which will be replaced at the turn of the 2016 model year, an almost petite SUV stands in front of the vehicle class Driver. With a length of 4.77 meters and a height of 1.68 meters, the Lexus RX 450h is visibly positioned on this side of the classmates like a BMW X5. In terms of design, the RX 450h, which was presented for the first time in 2009, shows that a few years have passed by now, especially at the rear - the new one already looks considerably more modern. Overall, however, the third generation of the RX 450h is still an elegant car that shows its price.

In the interior, this statement does not apply without reservation. The general equipment is already at a high level in the basic model and, depending on the version (further three variants Executive, F-Sport and Luxury) can be brought to a very exquisite level - LED headlights, air suspension, top-quality sound system, but also the Pre Crash safety systems with adaptive cruise control are on the option list.

However, the discrepancy between the individual materials used is clearly visible and tangible. On the one hand fine leather on the air-conditioned seats, on the other hand a dashboard cover made of the finest hard plastic. Just like the small, coarse pixel and monochrome display in the middle of the sober instruments, one would rather locate it in a Toyota Yaris. In the new generation, there is a real quantum leap towards fully-fledged luxury-class interiors.

Multimedia system for pragmatists

The multimedia system is also a case in pointfor pragmatists. In principle, the variety of functions is completely sufficient, the navigation function is a little grayed out under all aspects, the new Lexus RX 450h is of course clearly ahead here. However: Even in the still current model, menu control via the central controller with haptic feedback is intuitive, very simple and comprehensible.

The third generation of space is basically okay, a family of four will find a sufficiently spacious holiday partner here . You don't feel cramped or cramped in any of the seats, but the cargo space with the seats up does not deliver any record values. The latter is only slightly larger in the successor model, but there is more freedom of movement in all directions on the seats. But also a lower seating position - those who like to sit a little higher are better accommodated in the 'old' Lexus RX 450h.

The new model is supposed to drive quieter, more nimble and more manageable, everything else would be surprising. Indeed, confirmed the first driving impression with the fourth generation , there is progress in this regard. But at a level that can only be clearly felt when the two generations are compared directly. Even the current Lexus RX 450h has mostly binding springs and is extremely quiet in everyday use (at least off the highway). And even the new one still has the already known slight deficits in the response of the electric rear wheel drive or the directness of the steering, albeit somewhat weakened. To attest the third generation Lexus RX 450h therefore antiquated or uncomfortable driving behavior would of course be wrong. In order to keep up with the SUV elite on this point, the Lexus RX 450h lacks a little bit of fine-tuning, but switching to the new model for this reason alone is not so worthwhile.

Even the “old one “Lexus RX 450h drives well

Ultimately, this also applies to the drive system, which is what makes the hybrid SUV so attractive. At first glance, not much has changed between the two generations, but the 3.5-liter V6 in the successor model has been completely redeveloped, according to Toyota, and has always been converted to direct injection. This should result in a slight consumption advantage in everyday use, exact measurements for the new RX 450h are currently not available. In addition, the management of the electric drive was revised (new control, lighter cooling water pump, the battery is installed to save space). With the 2015 model of the RX 450h, consumption values ​​between seven and nine liters are realistic in everyday life; it only becomes considerably thirstier than a comparable diesel on the highway. Most impressive, however, isthe sprinting ability, the new Lexus RX 450h is hardly better: even if it feels relatively unspectacular because of the continuously variable transmission, with the measured pulling power, the hybrid Lexus clearly leaves a lot of diesel SUVs behind.

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