All this and I've yet to inform you of, in no particular order: the Hybrid Transaxle, the huge under-bonnet Power Control Unit, the DC/DC converter (that's right, DC twice), the high-voltage Ni-MH battery pack, the electric power steering and 4WD, the electronically-controlled braking system, the useful assortment of steering wheel controls, the dual-speed window operation, the Smart Entry and Start with Easy Exit and Entry, the active headrests, the comfy leather seating, the ten airbags, the water-repellent door glass and the SE-L's LED headlamps.

But instead I'll tell you that there's a little more wind noise than you'd expect from the A-pillar and door mirrors and that, due to the steeply-sloping, GT-style D-pillars and rear screen, the rear load space (496 litres with rear seats up) is still much more akin to a small-to-medium sized family hatchback than a traditional estate car.


So, apart from a whiff of wind noise, a genuinely below-par ride quality on the coil springs, painfully inaccessible accessory sockets and an improved but still compromised rear loadspace, the RX450h is all good. It handles and steers tidily, though not involvingly, and I long ago discovered that Lexus braking and stopping power is right up there in the supercar league. And let's not forget Lexus's laudable reputation for fit, finish, build quality and customer satisfaction levels, none of which are likely to be compromised by this new model.

Which only leaves the RX450h's pricing; from £41,600 OTR for the base SE rising to £55,505 for the range-topping SE-L Premium, it is not to be sniffed at. But when road tax, fuel costs, company car Benefit-in-Kind costs, likely depreciation and the RX's very high standard equipment levels are taken into account, and especially when all that's compared with the Audi, BMW and Merc SUV competition, then it's certainly competitive, and some.

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