Lexus RX (2005-2009)

An environmentally friendly SUV may seem like a contradiction in terms, but that's exactly what Lexus set out to create when it introduced the second-generation RX in hybrid form only - although a regular petrol-powered edition soon followed. As with any Lexus you can expect peerless build quality, superb dealer service and a somewhat detached driving experience. So while this isn't one for the enthusiast, if you're looking for a painless (but costly) ownership experience, it could be just the ticket.

Key Dates

5/05: The RX400h arrives, powered by a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine combined with an electric motor to give 208bhp.

4/06: A conventional petrol-powered RX joins the range; the 3.5-litre RX350.

4/07: An SR high-spec edition of the RX400h is introduced.

10/07: A facelift brings more exterior brightwork, a revised wheel design and a new radiator grille.

Lexus RX (2005-2009) Checklist

  • If the air-con isn't switched off manually before the ignition is switched off, the battery can go flat in less than an hour.
  • Don't buy one for its congestion charge-exempt status; since early 2008 the RX has not been eligible.
  • Lexus launched a hybrid RX primarily for the extra performance available, rather than for ultimate economy. If you're hoping for genuine frugality, you're still probably better off going for a conventional diesel.
  • The integrated hands-free phone can prove problematic to set up; even Lexus dealers have been known to be thwarted.
  • The rear bumper tends to get scuffed when the car is unloaded and unloaded.

We Like

  • Build quality
  • Reliability
  • Equipment levels
  • Hybrid's economy

We Don't Like

  • Lack of diesels
  • Limited off-road ability
  • Firm low-speed ride
  • Inert dynamics