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The Lexus RX450h: An argument for hybrids

Lexus has pledged to expand its line-up of hybrid vehicles globally, and my time behind the wheel of the RX450H has given me a taste of the high-end amenities available in these eco-friendly vehicles.

LEXUS is Toyota's premium brand; therefore, I have never understood why they do not have a dealership in Zimbabwe. The ones that you see on the road are mostly grey imports.

Lexus has pledged to expand its line-up of hybrid vehicles globally, and my time behind the wheel of the RX450H has given me a taste of the high-end amenities available in these eco-friendly vehicles.

The elegant design of Lexus

To put it simply, the RX's external design is eye-catching because of its combination of sharp edges, prominent angles, and the segment's distinctive spindle grille.

Because it is a revised model, the RX has new front fog lamps and smaller headlights, and new rear lights with an L-shaped theme and a reworked lower bumper. Among the two new colour options for the range, the press vehicle was finished in Nori Green Pearl. The other shade is Moonbeam Beige Metallic.

Deep inside the RX450h

My test vehicle's caramel-coloured leather upholstery added an air of refined elegance to the already pleasant interior of the RX450h, the range's flagship model. The inside is a mishmash of modernism and nostalgic appeal, with a 12.3-inch centre display dominating the design and an analogue clock tucked underneath.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on the aforementioned infotainment system, which is great since using the standard system with the touchpad behind the gear lever is, to put it mildly, a pain.

A number of convenient features were included in the test car, including a temperature control system, 10 airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, a surround-view camera system for parking situations, a head-up display, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

What makes a hybrid so special?

I think hybrid vehicles could be the best way to get Zimbabwean drivers on board with electric vehicles, given that the United States, Europe, and China are all spearheading the electric vehicle movement.

Concurrently, establishing charging infrastructure and gaining public confidence in electric automobiles are critical given our power supply concerns.

By including an electric component in a person's vehicle, the hybrid vehicle makes them more prepared for a possible future changeover.

The Lexus RX 450h makes use of two power sources—an electric motor and a normally aspirated V6—to generate 230 kW and 335 N.m.+, slightly more than the non-hybrid RX 350 F-Sport's 221 kW and 370 N.m., respectively.

In comparison to the gasoline version, which consumes 9.6 litres per hundred kilometres and produces 223 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre, the hybrid uses 5,7 litres per hundred kilometres and emits 131 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

If you want one, cross Limpopo into South Africa but be prepared to pay from R1,2million (US$63 130).

Even though the well-off will not be too concerned about fuel mileage, hybrids offer a viable alternative because of their improved performance and reduced emissions in urban areas without compromising on comfort.

This is particularly important because pollution regulations are becoming increasingly strict.

Driving experience

It is irrelevant to cite the stated numbers from Lexus; what matters is the consumption in actual use. Checking whether the vehicle's hybrid technology enhances the RX in terms of performance, economy, and, most significantly, elegance, is also crucial.

As for fuel economy, if you are not always pushing the envelope, you should be able to get 7.2 to 7.8 L/100 km, which is really good for a V6 SUV. By the way, Lexus says it remains with the atmospheric V6 in the RX because it makes driving more pleasing.

The second point I want to make is how the RX's V6 engine, electric motor, and CVT transmission work together to make it easier to operate.

This is a good transitional point. At low speed, the RX murmurs along in EV mode, only firing up the V6 when required, which is well-balanced enough to not intrude upon your experience.

In contrast to the efficient 8-speed automatic transmission used in the "regular" RX vehicles, the 450h's CVT is more suited to its hybrid powerplant and general demeanour.

The RX is an attractive vehicle isolation tank that can traverse a great distance thanks to its tuned motor, excellent sound deadening, and sturdy construction. Using the RX's electronic windows—which work so perfectly, they made everyone who tried them wonder—is the simplest way to demonstrate the car's outstanding construction quality.

My decision

Segment heavyweights, including the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, and Volkswagen Touareg, are up against the RX 450h. While Lexus is caught in a bit of a bind, customers who do decide to buy one of their premium SUVs will be rewarded with an exquisitely crafted vehicle that is dependable year after year.

Overall, the Lexus RX450h lived up to my expectations. Indeed, it could prove to be quite difficult in off-road terrains or in the race track's harsh conditions. Customers of these vehicles, however, will never be tempted in such a way.

Ultimately, the consequences of Lexus's actions from years ago are finally becoming apparent.

Vehicles such as this will gain importance as the global movement towards sustainability gains momentum. Regardless of our feelings about it.


Acceleration: 7.7

Engine: 3.5 hybrid electric

Fuel consumption: 5.7

Power: 230e

Torque: 335+e

Transmission: automatic

Rev. at max power: 6,000 rpm

Rev. at max torque: 4,600 rpm

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com

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