MOTORING NEWS & VIDEO - The Lexus RX 350 EX reminds me of Charlize Theron - dressed for success with a monster lurking under the bonnet.
Last week I had the chance to test drive this beauty that demands a lot of respect.
It's a functional artwork designed with the L-Finesse philosophy in mind: luxury-finesse. This design philosophy you will also find in the brand new UX, LX and other Lexus models.
Hey, good lookin'
The pattern on the iconic spindle grille is of such delicate complexity, it required an exceptionally high level of skill in both the design and fabrication stages. The RX makes use of slim design headlights with a blade-like daytime running light design. It also features LED cornering lights. Underneath the lights are front and back parking assist sensors.
The blind spot mirroring system and rear cross traffic alert are welcome extras. The 20-inch low rolling resistance wheels ensure impressive grip and with the polymer inserts saves fuel. The RX also features a tyre pressure control warning system.
The inside of the Lexus RX oozes quality and boasts all the bells and whistles. It has a large LCD central display panel where you can see most of the functions of the car. It will help you to arrive safely at your destination with a large GPS display. You also see the back view when reversing. The leather seats are soft and silky and heat up or cool down according to your needs. On the centre panel is the traditional Lexus analogue clock, while the inside panels were designed by Yamaha - renowned for their craftsmanship. The interior lights can be activated with gesture control - it was a hit with my children, as was the wireless cellphone charger. They insisted I drop them off at school - the ultimate sign of approval and proof of any vehicle's snob value. The RX features a tilt and slide moon roof for those times you feel a little breezy.
The vehicle has more than enough legroom. I am 1,85m tall and sat in the front and the back without a problem. Driver settings can be set for four different drivers and seat and rear-view mirror settings are adjusted electronically.
Softly press the smart entry system button to open the boot. At first I thought the RX had an average-size boot, but with the backseat down, it easily tripled in size. A tonneau cover keeps the content of your boot hidden from peeping Toms and grocery hooks will prevent your shopping rolling all over the place.
A unique selling point and massive plus is the full-size spare wheel under the carpet in the boot.
Watch a video here:
This Lexus RX 350 EX with its 3,5 V6 engine purred like a kitten when I started it with the keyless start button. The vehicle has three gear settings, Eco, Sport and Normal. I started off in Eco mode. This mode saves fuel and the vehicle has slightly less power, but I still really had to concentrate to stay within the speed limit.
I headed for the Outeniqua pass wanting to get a feel of its roadholding around the bends. With the turn of a dial in the middle console, the car jumped into Sport mode. The kitty morphed into a roaring lion as soon as I stepped a bit harder on the gas and glided up the mountain without further ado.
It gripped the road like a nettle on a sock. There was no over- or understeering and I never felt it wanted to lean or tip to the side on a sharp corner. The centre of gravity of this vehicle is low and it handles like a much smaller one.
The Normal mode is something between the Eco and Sport - enough power but less fuel consumption.
I was not aware of any rattles and the Lexus glided softly over the road. The brakes were sharp and impressive. When I braked hard, the vehicle immediately came to a full stop.
The top speed is given as 200km.
But do yourself a favour and go experience the RX first-hand.
The specific 2018 Lexus RX 350 EX I drove is a demo model from Halfway Lexus George with 9 000 kilometres on the clock. The asking price is R779 000 including on-road costs plus free smash and grab. It comes with a four-year or 100 000km balance from the date of sale.
For more information, phone sales executive Jacques du Plessis on 044 802 8200 or 082 956 7767 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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