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New Model: Lexus RX 350 EX/RX 450H SE


The fourth generation Lexus  suite of mid-size SUVs impresses at a number of levels. The Toyota premium brand has tossed out its jellybean generic fare and developed a range of cars with striking looks, superb detailing and very sophisticated technology.

That the cars have a distinct Lexus identity was amply demonstrated at the local launch of the new RX 350 EX and hybrid petrol-electric RX 450h SE. Bold, distinctive design is everywhere, from
the aggressive inverted arrow (‘spindle’) grille, to the sharp origami-like creases in the sheet metal, and to the blackedout C-pillar which appears to ‘float’ into the rear window glass. The new range is 120mm longer, has 50mm more in the wheelbase, and is 20mm lower. Both cars look sleek, hunkered down on 20-inch rims decked with ‘Sonic Titanium’ inserts.

The interiors ooze quality and refinement. Perfectly stitched leather trim abounds, and the seats are heated, cooled, 10-way electrically adjustable and incredibly comfortable − both up front and
in the rear, where legroom and headroom are generous.

A special pin-striped sapeleand- aluminium trim detail on the console was specially developed with Yamaha technicians; and the cupholders raise and lower to fit your cup. The controls have
great tactile quality, proper weighting, and (unlike they were before) are logically laid out; clutter is reduced in favour of a rather better mouse-like haptic controller at hands-reach on the centre console, interfacing with a large 12.3-inch wide touchscreen on the dash.

What looks like analogue controls on the instrument panel is a TFT screen, and in the case of the 450h, a heads-up display showing key driver information. The 350s 12-speaker sound system is pretty good, but for a remarkable audio experience, the 450s 15-speaker Mark Levinson system is hard to beat.

In all, an interior superb in every way, from the practical elements of space and comfort and safety, to the detailing which has a distinct, studied aesthetic. There’s pace to go with the grace.