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Old 8th June 2017, 05:14   #1
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Default Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Lexus is finally here! Read this analysis to know more about the challenges facing the brand. It's definitely going to be an uphill climb, especially with the late entry & CBU line-up.

Lexus was planning a 2013 entry in the Indian market. The luxury car division of Toyota was going to get a series of imports into the country then. Almost when the plans were in their final stages, the Union Budget of 2013-14 came as a shocker. The finance minister increased import duties from 75% to 100% on CBU cars. Manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW and Audi - having been in the country for some time - had already started assembling their cars here. So, having shelved their entry plans then, Lexus finally started reconsidering the Indian market some time back as we saw several cars being imported into the country + being tested all around.

More than focusing on sales, we believe Lexus will work on establishing its brand here first (luxurious image, customer experience etc.). Brand is everything in the premium segment -
if it weren't, most current E-Class / 5-Series / A6 owners would be driving Skoda Superbs. The first dealerships would be in Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Mumbai, while there will be additional service support in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi. To widen its reach, Lexus would also be training select Toyota dealers to provide service support to Lexus cars (they will need to set up a dedicated service bay).

The line-up for the Indian market includes three models - ES 300h, RX 450h and the LX 450d. Lexus skipped the smaller IS and introduced the ES 300h to compete directly with the E-Class, 5-Series and gang. With the introduction of the obscenely-priced LX 450d, Lexus probably wanted to make a statement in the luxury space. The brand is planning to get its flagship sedan - the LS 600h - to India sometime next year.

We spent a little time with the Lexus trio in Ooty. Below are our initial impressions.

This review has been jointly compiled with Gannu_1. Thanks to him for the expert observations & photography!

Lexus LX 450d

The grossly overpriced LX 450d SUV is the most expensive Lexus model sold in India and is being imported as a completely built unit (CBU). The SUV is heavily based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 200, which is also sold in India. The body on frame type SUV comes with a 4.5L, V8 diesel engine making 261 BHP @ 3400 rpm and 650 Nm @ 1600 - 2600 rpm, same as the Land Cruiser. The transmission duties are handled by a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. Front suspension is an independent double wishbone type and the rear is solid axle sprung on steel coil spring with multiple linkages.

In terms of off-road hardware, everything is carried forward as is from the Land Cruiser 200. Off-road gadgetry includes Terrain Modes along with the Active Traction Control, Crawl control system, Ride height control, full time AWD system with low range gearing, but surprisingly the rear differential lock is missing on the Indian car! Interestingly, low range gearing can be used without locking the center differential, which will be useful for high altitude driving on hard surfaces.

In terms of design, the front end is dominated by the Lexus Spindle grille. The edged trapezoidal grille, which is standard across all Lexus cars, is a love it or hate it design element, and honestly, I am yet to come across someone who likes it! Looks damn weird / ugly.
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-1.jpg

There is very little in the side profile to differentiate it from the Land Cruiser:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-2.jpg

18 inch Bridgestone Dueler A/T tires shod on boring 5 spoke alloys. The more aesthetic 20 inchers are not even optional! Both the cars had a different make of tyres - the static display car had Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber, while the review car had Yokohama Geolandar H/T tyres on it:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01823.jpg

The LX 450d has to be the one of the widest cars on the road! Driving it on narrow lanes will need some experience. All lights including the headlights, fog lamps and the cornering lights are powered by LEDs:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-3.jpg

Plenty of L-shaped design elements integrated, including the foglamp and cornering lamp enclosures:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-4.jpg

The rear end looks familiar too! Trademark L-shaped tail lamps and the Lexus logo are the only reminders that 'this is not a Land Cruiser':
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-5.jpg

In moderately narrow winding roads like this one in Ooty, the mighty LX 450d occupied almost all the road:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-8.jpg

A quick walkaround video so you get a feel of it:

Interiors

Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-9.jpg

The dashboard is a big step up from the Toyota Land Cruiser in terms of quality and the luxury feel, but if you compare the LX to its competitors like the Range Rover LWB Autobiography, the Lexus doesn't even come close. The seating position is pretty high, the visibility is excellent for the front and the sides (even with the driver's seat set at its lowest position). Save for the fake wooden inserts, the complete dashboard and some areas of the front doorpads are covered in leather.

No, the large display screen isn't a touchscreen although it looks like one. It is operated by using a multimedia controller located on the center console. The LX can be customised using various colour options for the interiors and exteriors.

Personally, I liked the black coloured interiors over the beige ones:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-10.jpg

A view from the rear seat. Check out the width of the center armrest. The front occupants sit too far apart. In terms of width, this must be one of the w-i-d-e-s-t cabins I have ever seen:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-11.jpg

The center console buttons are a notch smaller in size and thus, a little inconvenient to operate in a moving car. The piano black finish looks swell:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-13.jpg

Controls for the height adjustment, terrain modes, crawl control, front seat ventilation & multimedia system are all placed on the center console:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-14.jpg

The storage below the center armrest is a refrigerated cooler:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-15.jpg

The LX 450d comes with steering mounted paddle-shifters:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-16.jpg

The high placed XXL-sized ventilated seats are supremely comfortable and offer good side bolstering + underthigh support:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-17.jpg

The extra wide cabin and flat rear seat ensure that the 5th occupant is reasonably comfortable:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-18.jpg

Rear seats get these huge displays mounted behind the front seat-backs. No, they aren't touchscreen either:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-12.jpg

The display although huge, has a surprisingly basic resolution and looks out of place in such an expensive car:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-19.jpg

And because they are not touch-based displays, the only way to operate them is using this remote. In this era of high resolution displays, this system with a remote operation and limited utility is so not done :
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-20.jpg

The LX features a keyless entry-and-go system which they refer to as the Smart Access System. With the key in your pocket, simply pull the door handle and the car unlocks itself. The smartkey also comes with the valet key built in:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01789.jpg

These massive ORVMs offer an excellent field of view, much required for driving this huge SUV in tight traffic:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01795.jpg

LED cabin lamps feature a touch-based operation:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01797.jpg

The rear tailgate opens in two parts (similar to the Land Cruiser). While the bottom hatch is operated manually, the top hatch opens and closes with a touch of a button:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01803.jpg

The split tail-gate with the upholstered surface is great for outdoor camping:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01804.jpg

Shockingly, there is no 7-seater option for the LX 450d! The Lexus team suggested that a variant with the petrol engine is expected in the future which will have a 7-seater arrangement. The last row of seats on the Land Cruiser is pretty spacious and comfortable. For now, you will have to make do with this luggage space cover:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01809.jpg

Driving the 4.5-litre V8 Diesel

Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01813.jpg

The LX 450d is the odd one out here in the Lexus range, it’s the only car in the line-up with a diesel engine, and that too a massive 4.5 litre V8! This is also the only car here to get a conventional torque converter automatic transmission as the others get a CVT. The engine bay is neatly organised. Two pneumatic struts support the heavy bonnet. Like the older Toyota designs, the intercooler is top-mounted. The 1VD-FTV V8 engine has two variable geometry turbos and 32 valves with dual overhead camshafts. This diesel is in fact the first V8 diesel engine produced by Toyota and has been around in the Land Cruiser 200 series since 10 years now.

The monster V8 engine has a sweet engine note, with a super sweet idle. Although a little noisy outside, heavy sound dampening in the cabin ensures that the clatter stays out and just the sweet humming sound filters into the cabin. The engine idle speed is at around 500 rpm, but the revs are raised to 750 rpm as soon as the A/C compressor starts. This constant rise and drop in the revs sounds a little strange.

While the engine size and the torque output might have you believing that this car is super-fast, this isn’t the case because of the almost 3 tonnes weight and lazy gearbox which excels at smooth shifts, but lacks the ability to execute hurried shifts. The six-speed gearbox is nowhere near in comparison to the awesome ZF 8-speed gearbox which is standard in almost all expensive Euro SUVs these days. The lazy gearbox even in Sport plus mode shifts in an unhurried manner. The V8 Diesel too does not love to be revved hard unlike some of the Euro diesels. Performance is adequate - it does not feel slow but it isn’t neck snapping either. Driving this car hard on the road is completely missing the point anyways. Low end and mid-range performance however are strong. With medium throttle input, the LX accelerates well and does not require frequent downshifts.

The best part about the LX is the high seating position, the super wide cabin and unmatched road presence. For first time SUV drivers, this vehicle can be intimidating though. I did not expect this monster of a ladder frame chassis based SUV to be a sporty handler. The loads of electro-mechanical wizardry of AHS, AVS, variable sway bars live up to their promise, but all they can do is reduce the roll when thrown hard and control the nose dive in a surreal way when braking hard. So, even when thrown hard in the twisty roads, the handling was safe + composed (but not sporty). The hydraulic steering is on the heavier side and gains even more weight in the Sport plus mode.

It’s the ride comfort which is compromised for regular use. The soft long travel springs and live rear axle make their presence felt all the time; not even these complex suspension systems can hide the imperfect ride quality. That constant up & down movement which is a trademark of these ladder frame SUVs is very much present. It becomes bothersome especially when you drive it back to back with any Euro crossover. The bounce however is well contained. I got to drive this car for a very short period of time on twisty hill roads, so cannot comment in any more detail about drive dynamics. I am curious to see how this SUV behaves on bad roads, no roads and off the road...the kind of usage it was built for.

Last edited by GTO : 8th June 2017 at 10:20.
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Old 8th June 2017, 05:14   #2
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Lexus RX 450h


The fourth-generation Lexus RX was unveiled at the 2015 New York International Auto Show. The RX is essentially a midsize hybrid crossover SUV, of which we get two variants. The Luxury variant is priced at Rs. 1.07 Crore while the RX 450h F Sport variant is priced at Rs. 1.09 Crore. The crossover is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 Hybrid Atkinson Cycle petrol engine with a combined power output of 308 BHP. Lexus claims that with this powertrain, the RX 450h can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds. That's not too fast, but it isn't slow either.

The RX 450h has a monocoque construction with an independent type suspension system. MacPherson struts in front and double wishbones at the rear; both ends get the steel coil springs and shock absorbers with AVS (which is a type of variable damping system). The ground clearance is 195 mm and the car gets adequate underbody protection.

Sharp edges visible all around the car. The creases on the bonnet seamlessly integrate with the gaping front grille. I am not a fan of the Lexus spindle grille, but this grille design integrates well with the rest of the design language here in the RX, unlike the Land Cruiser-based LX where the design language and the grille don't really go hand in hand:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-1.jpg

Massive front grille with the fat chrome surround is sure to catch the attention of onlookers:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-2.jpg

The crossover has a rearward sloping roofline and blacked out C-pillars which lend it a floating roof effect. The slope doesn't intrude into the headroom of passengers seated on the rear bench. Body profile still carries inspiration from the early generation Toyota Harriers on which the older generations of the Lexus RX were based:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-3.jpg

18 inch 7-spoke alloys shod with Bridgestone Dueler H/L 235/65 profile tyres. In an era of machine finished alloy wheels, we felt Lexus could have bundled better rims with this car. All the wheels including the spare wheel get a direct TPMS with sensors mounted on the wheels:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01863.jpg

The flared fenders lend a sporty stance to the crossover. The Japs sure know we love chrome! The chrome boot-lid strip and the chrome step garnish are available as accessories:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-4.jpg

The L motif of the new Lexus design - looks like a katana wielding samurai had fun slashing all around and the result is a sharp + chiselled design. Each headlamp cluster houses 3 LED lamps with the signature L-shaped DRLs and a sequential LED indicator light:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4538.jpg

The boomerang-shaped foglamp cluster also houses an LED cornering light:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4537.jpg

The two-part rear combination LED tail light envelopes the tailgate, while wrapping forward around the fender:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01857.jpg

Design elements inside the taillight cluster. Lexus claims that the tiny protrusions on the taillight aid aerodynamics. Not a new feature though, the present generation Toyota cars adopt these features as well:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01861.jpg

All the door handles have an LED puddle light built in à la BMW...
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4426.jpg

....and they light up the area below rather well too:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4645.jpg

It's all in the detail. The car's VIN is displayed on the bottom right corner of the windshield with the Lexus logo in the background:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4425.jpg

A quick walkaround video of the RX 450h:

F Sport

The F Sport variant costs around 2 lakh rupees more than the Luxury variant. The honeycomb grille up front in place of the straight grille and a lower front diffuser are the first differentiators from the Luxury variant. The F Sport comes with a sound generator which is basically a system that generates a sporty engine intake note by resonating intake air using a different type of chamber. It also gets F Sport front seats, different meters and an F Sport MID with additional driving related graphics (including G force). Other changes include blackened ORVMs, front fender emblems, perforated leather steering wheel, drilled aluminium pedals, aluminium finished gear knob and black scuff plates:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-8.jpg

4 parking sensors at the front, but no park assist option??! Even the Endeavour gets a semi-automatic parallel park assist feature!
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4648.jpg

Rear view of the F Sport variant in a shade of white has a cleaner derrière without the chrome accessories:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-5.jpg

Interiors

Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-9.jpg
The RX 450h has well-appointed interiors with a lot of features. Leather upholstery with contrasting stitching for the seats and the dashboard, comfortable heated and ventilated seats with 3 memory settings (including the steering wheel adjustments), 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a backlit analogue clock on the center of the dash, ambient lighting, head-up display on the windshield atop the instrument cluster...the list is nearly endless! The Luxury variant can be ordered in 5 different shades of leather upholstery and 4 different kinds of trims, while the F Sport variant can be ordered in 3 different leather options which include Black, White and Dark Rose, but it's only available with an Aluminium trim.

The heated steering wheel finished in leather with contrast stitching and glossy inserts is a delight to hold and operate:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-10.jpg

The left spoke gets media and telephony controls, while the right spoke gets MID controls. Don't miss the tiny stalk at the bottom right for cruise control operations. The F Sport variant gets paddle shifters as well:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4448.jpg

Like most luxury cars, the wide center console runs across the length of the front seats. The center console houses controls for a large 12.3" display. The non-touchscreen display is controlled using a unit functionally similar to a mouse, with a palm rest finished in leather. There's a pair of ENTER buttons on either side of the unit:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-10a.jpg

The instrument panel with a colour MID gets a variety of information readouts. Larger dial on the left gets switchable displays between the tacho and EV modes. Worthy to note that the F Sport variant gets a completely different all-digital cluster with a large center dial:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-12.jpg

The head-up display indicates the speed, current gear, EV status and compass. The HUD can be adjusted for brightness and location:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4460.jpg

The RX can memorize and store the settings for the driver's seat (except lumbar support), the ORVMs and the steering wheel:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4466.jpg

While some might love it, others would hate it - pop-up door locks finished in chrome:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4450.jpg

All windows get an auto up-down function. The window control switches get brushed metallic edges:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4452.jpg

Storage space on the front doorpads can be expanded by pulling the trim. Smart!
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4421.jpg

The backlit analogue clock is a classy touch:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4410.jpg

Drive modes (ECO, SPORT and NORMAL) are selected using this dial:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4408.jpg

Wireless charging cubbyhole in the front console for smartphones that support it:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4436.jpg

Organ-type accelerator pedal with an extra-wide dead pedal. On the RX 450h F Sport, you have slotted aluminium pedals in place of the rubber inserts:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4428.jpg

The 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system offered an exceptional soundstage with tight bass and clear vocals:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4406.jpg

The 200 mm subwoofer - one of the many things that makes listening to music in this car a unique experience:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4476.jpg

The 12.3" display looks massive! Here's the startup splash screen when you press the POWER button of the car. At first instance, one would be inclined to touch the display thinking it's a touchscreen unit (it isn't):
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4434.jpg

The unit displays a whole host of information such as the media info, energy monitor, trip info, climatronic data etc. But get this, no navigation support! Sadly, the unit doesn't get Android Auto or MirrorLink either. We are hoping Lexus updates the HU with these features ASAP:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-combined_final-copy.jpg

Panoramic sunroof with the tinted glass makes the cabin spacious. Don't miss the touch-operated LED cabin lights, controls for the sunroof and the sunglass holder ahead of the sunroof:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4463.jpg

The front doors get an illuminated door sill finished in brushed metal...
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4541.jpg

...while the rear doors get a bland metallic door sill:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4552.jpg

The rear seats recline and fold electrically:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4548.jpg

The rear seats get a pair of vents, a cubbyhole and a 12V socket. That dummy plastic cover (we are guessing it is possibly for the 230 V AC socket) sticks out like a sore thumb on such an expensive car! Lexus might as well have placed the 12 V socket at the center instead like this:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-11.jpg

The rear seat armrest gets a padded storage area and a pair of cupholders with a soft opening mechanism. No controls for the HVAC or media unit though!
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01839.jpg

The blue hue in the logo suggests that the crossover has hybrid technology under the hood. The logo doubles up as a sensor for the hands-free tailgate operation. Simply place your hand over the logo and remove it once you hear a confirmation tone. The tailgate also features touch-free gesture opening, just swipe your hand above the Lexus emblem and the tailgate will open automatically for you. Read more about it here:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01858.jpg

Opening the powered bootlid reveals massive boot space (with toggle lights on either side) and a cover for the spare wheel + toolkit (don't miss the chrome finished handle). The foldable luggage compartment cover (not visible in this snap) attaches itself to the two slots on either side:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01859.jpg

Electric tailgate opens high enough...
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4468.jpg

...and gets a memory function similar to the Fortuner:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4477.jpg

Spare is a full-sized alloy wheel. Notice the Styrofoam padding underneath the spare wheel cover to dampen noise and aid cabin insulation:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-dsc01860.jpg

A word on the toolkit - the crossover comes with a regular screw jack . For a car worth over a crore, we really wish Lexus bundled a hydraulic bottle jack (like the one in the LX 450d) which makes it convenient for owners to quickly swap tyres. It also lacks an air compressor:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4475.jpg

Driving the 3.5-litre V6 Petrol Hybrid

Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-6.jpg

The RX 450h is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 Hybrid Atkinson Cycle engine with Dual VVT-iW and D-4S fuel injection. The fuel injection system is basically a combination of direct injection and port injection, and it distributes fuel according to the driving conditions. The car has an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) and a part time four-wheel-drive system. It uses a separate electric motor to power the rear wheels. Thus, the electric AWD (E-Four) system provides power from the hybrid powertrain to the front axle, while the second motor powers the rear axle. The power delivery is altered based on the requirement at each wheel. With the Lexus hybrid drive, the car can be driven either only on the petrol engine, only on the electric motor or both working together. The car gets regenerative braking and the system also charges batteries while running on the IC engine.

The V6 motor generates 259 BHP @ 6000 rpm and 335 Nm of peak torque @ 4600 rpm, while the electric motor makes 165 BHP and 335 Nm. The combined power output of 308 BHP and max kerb weight of 2210 kg means a healthy power to weight ratio of almost 139 BHP/tonne. We had the F Sport variant for the drive, and unlike the Luxury variant, this isn’t completely silent as you expect a hybrid car to be. The V6 Petrol engine with a purpose built resonating chamber for sporty intake noise is audible in the cabin. Some people might mistake it for a sporty exhaust system as it sounds like one! Whenever you revv the engine to the redline or drive hard, the sporty engine sound feels wonderful. At other times though, it sounds intrusive and annoying, more so because that’s not what you expect from a hybrid. Performance right from a standstill is strong. Electric motors help the drivetrain deliver a surge of performance from idle speeds and until the midrange. You do believe that this car can do 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds as claimed. Though, it is only when revved hard that the whole system starts to feel detached. Even in the Sport+ mode, it fails to make the transmission sporty enough and it is also slow to respond. For instance, if you floor the magic pedal exiting a corner, the car will typically respond so late that by the time power actually arrives, you are already on the straights. Overall performance is fast, but the car isn’t sharp or engaging to drive at all. For relaxed driving however, this is an effortless crossover to drive. The over-servoed steering in Sport+ mode gains good weight, although not in the straight ahead position. In all other modes, it remains super light and is clearly tuned for easy driving in traffic rather than precise corner carving.

The suspension setup is quite impressive if you are seeking a comfortable tourer or a car to gobble up bad roads. The 265/65 R18 tyres are pretty high profile for a crossover with sporting intentions, they no doubt help with the supple + controlled ride. There is a noticeable change in suspension damping between the various drive modes, but it does not alter the spring rates like the air-sprung BMW X5 or Audi Q7. Even in the Normal & Eco modes, the ride does not get floaty. Handling is not engaging enough, but you can throw the car hard and it will retain its composure well. There is a higher level of roll in any mode except the Sport+, and also a lot more suppleness.

Here again, we had limited time with the car with not much variety of road surfaces and traffic conditions, so I cannot go into our official review's level of detail covering all the driving aspects. Overall, I liked the behaviour, but it isn’t as dynamically accomplished as its Euro rivals. It does impress on many aspects, yet at this price, I can list out a lot of other crossovers which are more desirable and enjoyable.

Last edited by GTO : 8th June 2017 at 10:20.
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Old 8th June 2017, 05:14   #3
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Lexus ES 300h

The Lexus ES 300h is a midsize luxury sedan, competing with the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6. The ES 300h shares its platform with the Toyota Camry hybrid and is available at a price of Rs. 55.27 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). In Lexus terms, ES stands for "Executive Sedan" and it is equipped with quite a lot of niceties. The Lexus ES has been the best-selling Lexus sedan for over 15 years in the United States.

The ES 300h comes equipped with 10 airbags and has been listed by the IIHS as their 2017 ‘Top Safety Pick+’ in the midsize luxury segment (source). Though, the Indian version misses out on some features in comparison with the international model such as lane departure alert, blind spot monitor, high beam assist etc. The co-driver's seat lacks seatbelt warning too - in a 50+ lakh car, this is a major omission.

Just like the Camry hybrid, the ES300h is powered by a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and an electric motor. The maximum combined power output is 202 BHP which is transmitted to the front wheels via an E-CVT. The ES 300h is available in 10 exterior colour options, 4 colour options for the interiors and 3 different trim designs.
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-1.jpg

At almost 5 metres (4,915 mm) in length, the car is huge:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-2.jpg

The simpler and cleaner rear looks far more pleasing to the eyes as compared to the front end:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-5.jpg

L-shaped elements are present everywhere. The LED tail-lamps light up in an inverted L shape:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-6.jpg

Weird front end is a love-it-or-hate-it design. Front bumper is equipped with 4 parking sensors, but the car lacks an auto-parking feature:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4634.jpg

Smart looking machined 17” alloy wheels shod with 215/55 rubber. Ground clearance is low for Indian roads, and no rough road package for our country either:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4565.jpg

Headlamps are equipped with a pair of LED projectors, LED DRLs and halogen indicator lamps. The projectors do not come with an adaptive lighting system wherein the projector moves left-right depending on the steering input. No cornering lights either!
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4633.jpg

Here is a quick walkaround video of the Lexus ES 300h:


Interiors

The interiors are a mix of mocha brown and beige shades. The trims are finished in wood with a glossy finish – looks very elegant. Though I cannot say much when it comes to the design of the dashboard. It looks too dull + dated when compared to its rivals like the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90. The design feels like it belongs to an era of the last generation Mercedes E-Class. It simply doesn't have the charisma of the latest European cars:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-9.jpg

The top part of the dashboard is covered in leather. Fit and finish are top class:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4575.jpg

The fabulously crafted steering finished in glossy wooden inserts and leather, with a contrasting stitching feels great to hold. The steering is shared with the RX 450h and does not get paddle shifters here:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-11.jpg

This exposed screw for the steering column cover looks ugly in such an expensive car (a simple screw cap would hide it):
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4598.jpg

Instrument cluster features a colour MID which displays a whole lot of info. The left dial can switch between the tachometer…
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4603.jpg

... or EV info:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4604.jpg

The MID displays the different drive modes. Sport mode alters throttle control and steering assist. It does not change the suspension's behaviour like the other two Lexus cars here. The energy monitor shows the use of energy in the system. For instance, in the image below, it is showing that the hybrid battery is getting charged by the IC engine. The car comes with an active TPMS with sensors mounted on all the wheels (including the spare wheel):
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4592_edited1.jpg

Dummy switch covers on a 50+ lakh car are such an eyesore :
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4573.jpg

A soft-opening felt-lined cubbyhole is provided on the right side of the steering wheel:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4599.jpg

3 memory settings for the driver include configuration for the seat, steering and ORVMs:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4597.jpg

Ventilated + perforated front seats offer great comfort (with adjustable lumbar support):
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4621.jpg

Auto-dimming ORVMs offer a good view and dip down when the reverse gear is engaged:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4616.jpg

All the Lexus cars now feature a backlit analogue clock on the dashboard:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4577.jpg

The Mark Levinson audio system sounds punchy, but overall, it does not sound as good as the audio system in the new E-Class. The 8-inch display which Lexus refers to as the EMV (Electro Multi-Vision) is not a touchscreen (contrary to what it may look like). The screen is operated by a system which Lexus calls the Remote Touch Interface and is the same for all 3 cars in the line-up. Media system lacks built-in navigation, Android Auto or MirrorLink support which is definitely a major omission:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4579.jpg

The display shows media content, climate control info, EV info and the view from the reversing camera. Information can be displayed in a tiled fashion which can be customized by the driver:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-final-ice.jpg

The EMV display is controlled using this mouse-like controller which gets a padded palm rest upholstered in leather. It may take some time for owners to get used to the system:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4602.jpg

The ES 300h gets triple-zone climate control. The 15-speaker audio system is pretty good, but not the best in class. The well-insulated cabin accentuates the overall experience:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4584.jpg

Smart cubbyhole comes with an adjustable cup-holder:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4612.jpg

Soft-opening glovebox is felt-lined, lockable and has a partition inside:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4581.jpg

Trunk opening can be disabled using this switch:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4580.jpg

The sunroof comes with a manually retractable cover! Why not electric, Lexus? The LED cabin lights ahead of the sunroof turn on by sensing the movement of the hand without a physical touch – neat! There’s a tiny sensor in each of the cabin lights which catches the movement:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4629.jpg

Brushed stainless steel door sills for the front doors:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4572.jpg

Rear windows get manually retractable sun-blinds (including one for the quarter glass):
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4628.jpg

Spacious, just like the Toyota Camry it's based on. Unfortunately, the co-driver's seat lacks the boss buttons for adjusting the forward-aft movement of the seat. The lack of these buttons is a glaring omission in a chauffeured car! We think this is an oversight as the Camry has these buttons (reference image). Shockingly, the rear seat cannot be reclined either! It does on the less expensive Camry
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4624.jpg

The audio and HVAC control panel feels similar to the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but the recline controls are missing. The powered rear sunshade is standard. The central armrest offers controls for the media, rear AC, rear sun-blind and a felt-lined storage area:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-16.jpg

Boot space is decent enough for a Hybrid. The boot is unlocked using the smart-key or by pressing the button from the driver’s cockpit, but the boot-lid has to be manually raised up! On a 55 lakh car, we would expect a pair of pneumatic struts to open the boot:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4587.jpg

Spare is a full-size alloy:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4589.jpg

Driving the 2.5L Petrol Hybrid

Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-17.jpg

The petrol engine (2AR-FXE) is a 2.5 litre inline 4-cylinder aluminium block which makes 158.2 BHP and 213 Nm of torque. The electric motor makes 140 BHP and the maximum combined output is 202 BHP. We got the least amount of driving time with this car, and over 70% of that was spent inching forward in the weekend traffic of Ooty.

There is no escaping the fact that it shares the engine, hybrid system and transmission with the Camry Hybrid. As a result, it drives similarly too (quick but not fast, comfortable, refined, boring). To start with, the sound damping is far superior to the likes of the Camry Hybrid & Accord Hybrid. It completely cuts off outside noise and the overall operation being hybrid is completely noiseless. This is a big change from the clattery diesels which we are used to seeing in luxury cars. There is an EV mode to start off in complete silence, even the engine sound in the cabin is completely muffled. The engine comes on smoothly and with the combined output, low-end power delivery is peppy. The steering is super light and does not weigh up even in Sport mode. It does not feel direct or connected either.

Just like the RX, the power delivery stays strong till the mid-range and after that, the e-CVT gets annoying. Revving hard isn’t rewarding either. Even the basic lowest variants of its German rivals feel sharper and faster when driven hard. This is not a car for an enthusiast; it is a heck of a car for the chauffeur-driven though. The brakes have that weird feel which you mostly get in Hybrids.

The suspension setup is soft along with low profile tyres. The low speed ride is supple, but once you gain a moderate amount of pace, there is too much of up and down movement which does not feel right for a car of this price. It's not rock-solid planted like the Germans at speed. We did not get enough space and time to test the handling balance of the car. From the limited opportunity to stretch her legs, the dynamic competence felt slightly better than the likes of the Camry Hybrid and Accord Hybrid, but still not in the league of the BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-Class.

The bonnet is held up by a pair of pneumatic struts. The exposed strut mounts are an eyesore. The plastic trim below the windshield could have been designed in such a way so as to cover the strut mounts as well:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-img_4630.jpg

Separate coolant for the inverter unit:
Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)-19.jpg

Disclaimer: Lexus invited Team-BHP for the test-drive in Ooty. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 8th June 2017 at 10:20.
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Old 8th June 2017, 10:57   #4
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing, Anshuman & Gannu!

Nice cars – I can see why the ES 300h & RX 450h would appeal to people. Toyota reliability, splendid after-sales, high on comfort & a refined + efficient hybrid experience. Toyota might not have diesels for these cars (which is a disadvantage), but the hybrids do sort of make up for it.

On the other hand, this half-hearted approach of launching CBUs when Mercedes / BMW / Audi are more aggressive than ever means that Lexus is starting off on a back foot. The pricing is plain ridiculous. At best, they will be selling a handful of units. I’m a fan of the LS sedan, but almost wet my pants thinking of the price it’ll be launched at. Looking at the asking $$$ of the LX 450d, I think you could buy an S-Class & Porsche instead of one LS.

In many interviews, the Lexus management has said that they’ll be targeting existing owners of the Innova Crysta, Fortuner & Camry. But what they are forgetting is that this class of customer has paid for sensibility & the pricing of Lexus cars simply doesn’t make them ‘sensible’. I can’t understand why they aren’t assembling cars here when they have ready access to the splendid facilities of Toyota.

A late entrant to a matured segment has got to be super aggressive, but the pricing & slow action show Lexus is anything but. There’s a reason why the USA is Lexus’ only prominent market; it’s a small or average player in most other countries.

Seen the new E-Class? It murdered the ES 300h even before the latter's launch.

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Old 8th June 2017, 11:20   #5
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Excellent review. Rating a well deserved 5 stars!

I feel like giving Lexus a pat on their back for launching in India. Rising (maintenance) costs of unreliable German cars and lousy A.S.S is what really irritates some people. Although I will wait before passing a verdict on how reliable Lexus is, the Toyota DNA should give it an upper hand in maintenance costs. Our very own V.Narayan sir has bought one.

On the other hand, why not use Toyota's VFM DNA for Lexus as well? If Toyota can give us aggressively priced CKDs, why can't Lexus do that? Even Mercedes now assembles it's 12 crore S-Class Guard in India. What's a 1 Crore Lexus then?

Regards,
Vishy

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Old 8th June 2017, 11:23   #6
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
Rising costs of unreliable German cars and lousy A.S.S is what really irritates some people.
Forget service costs, you can buy another German itself as spare car and still have excess cash for service instead of paying such huge amounts upfront for Japanese reliability.

All of the above cars are fighting a full segment above their worth due to the pricing only for the Indian market. Example - the ES300h which has Camry origins and fights it out with the C class, A4 etc abroad is priced above E class, A6 range here! Things get even more outrageous with the other two 1crore and 2crore SUVs.

Not to mention - should definitely be the ugliest range of vehicles for a brand, all thanks to that predator grill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
I feel like giving Lexus a pat on their back for launching in India.
They are here for profits like every other manufacturer, and big profits - looking at the pricing! Unless they start competing better with the others, I couldn't care less about the brand, let alone appreciating them for coming to Indian shores.

Reminds me of the Jeep brand launch with Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, except that Lexus was more eagerly awaited.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 8th June 2017 at 11:40.
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Old 8th June 2017, 11:29   #7
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Forget service costs, you can buy another German itself as spare car and still have excess cash for service instead of paying such huge amounts upfront for Japanese reliability.

I was going to say maintenance costs! A typo. But yes, a crore is too much to pay for reliability.

However, I still think that a Lexus would make a good choice for someone who doesn't want a European Marque.
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Old 8th June 2017, 12:33   #8
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
I feel like giving Lexus a pat on their back for launching in India.
Competition only makes things better for us, the customers.

Quote:
Rising (maintenance) costs of unreliable German cars and lousy A.S.S is what really irritates some people
Agreed on the after-sales; however, in terms of reliability, I think the Europeans have made major improvements (although they are still incomparable to a Toyota / Lexus). At least with Mercedes & BMW, reliability or the lack of is no longer a deal breaker.

Quote:
Although I will wait before passing a verdict on how reliable Lexus is, the Toyota DNA should give it an upper hand in maintenance costs. Our very own V.Narayan sir has bought one.
Truly. Toyota has always offered Indian customers ridiculously low service costs. When I see the bills for a Fortuner, they are shockingly cheap.

Quote:
On the other hand, why not use Toyota's VFM DNA for Lexus as well? If Toyota can give us aggressively priced CKDs, why can't Lexus do that?
That's the 1 crore rupee question .

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Things get even more outrageous with the other two 1crore and 2crore SUVs.
Outrageous is too mild a term; the RX for instance costs 1.3 crores on the road in Bombay . It makes competing German models & Volvos look like throwaway bargains.

Quote:
Reminds me of the Jeep brand launch with Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, except that Lexus was more eagerly awaited.
At least Jeep is bringing out a locally built model, and one everyone expects to be well-priced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
However, I still think that a Lexus would make a good choice for someone who doesn't want a European Marque.
Sexy & well-priced Volvo has taken that away from Lexus (i.e. customers who want something different than the Germans).
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Old 8th June 2017, 12:40   #9
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Great review Anshuman and Gannu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
A quick walkaround video so you get a feel of it:
I love this new addition, and I hope video walkarounds become a standard inclusion in official reviews. Come to that, I think it would be nice to have a Team-BHP YouTube channel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
The petrol engine (2AR-FXE) is a 2.5 litre inline 4-cylinder aluminium block which makes 158.2 BHP and 213 Nm of torque. The electric motor makes 140 BHP and the maximum combined output is 202 BHP.
Is the math of the maximum combined output wrong here, or am I missing something about how the petrol and electric motors work in tandem?

At the price points at which these cars will sell for in India, some of the omissions in features are shocking (no touchscreens, no navigation, no integration with Android Auto/Carplay, no reclining rear seats in 300h and more). Is this some kind of tradition at Toyota?
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang_shelby View Post
Great review Anshuman and Gannu.


I love this new addition, and I hope video walkarounds become a standard inclusion in official reviews. Come to that, I think it would be nice to have a Team-BHP YouTube channel.
We already have a Team BHP youtube channel. I agree with you when it comes to walk around videos. There are a few on the official youtube page such as the Etios.
https://www.youtube.com/user/TeamBHPChannel


Quote:
Is the math of the maximum combined output wrong here, or am I missing something about how the petrol and electric motors work in tandem?
Electric motor and the petrol will never work together at full power. The motor will only help the engine, so power output cannot simply be added up by arithmetic.

Quote:
At the price points at which these cars will sell for in India, some of the omissions in features are shocking (no touchscreens, no navigation, no integration with Android Auto/Carplay, no reclining rear seats in 300h and more). Is this some kind of tradition at Toyota?
I was going to ask if pricing is a traditon at Toyota . They do have a bad habit of missing out on the good to have features. While this may do on an Altis or even a Camry to some extent, doing so on a 1 crore car is not at all acceptable.

BTW, my brother (12) says the SUVs can't be more than 60-70 Lakhs at all.

Last edited by vishy76 : 8th June 2017 at 13:44.
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Old 8th June 2017, 15:14   #11
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Anshuman and Gannu_1, thank you for your balanced report out on the Lexus three. Rated it a well deserved 5 stars.

Toyota's pricing has many in the market perplexed. It will be hard to fathom their reasoning without knowing their long term plans, how much cash are they willing to burn till profits start to roll back in and what brand positioning are the seeking. From what I have learnt first hand they will not manufacture the Lexus here. Lexus production for the world wide market (other than the U.S.) is concentrated in Japan. They set up the production facility in U.S.A. only due to the larger volumes there. So I suspect as CBU's these cars will always be rich in pricing in India. And that pricing may be a part of their positioning. This may not be liked by many of us who would prefer a more realistic pricing. Again from what little I know they plan to allocate only 300 units to India in 2017 (I've mentioned this elsewhere too) and then a little more in 2018 to create that shortage factor. I may be wrong on the 300 units - just sharing what I heard from Lexus. Maybe they are trying to position themselves away from the German III! - may be a stretch given Indian luxury car buyers' affinity for the Germans. Any way time will tell. The consumer benefits from more competition.

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Old 8th June 2017, 15:20   #12
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Still unable to decide which is the ugliest among the 3! While ES300H is somewhat okay'ishly priced, the RX and LX are a daylight robbery. Things don't end here, an enthusiast will probably have to spend more on getting that hideous grill and excessive chrome rectified. IT officials should immediately raid people who buy these. Keeping looks aside (which is subjective anyway) I think ES is a decent car, when I see BMW selling 330i for 55lacs, the decently kitted ES 300Hybrid ain't that bad. Of course it might not handle or perform like a BMW but probably wont breakdown/burn hole in your pocket as much as a BMW.

Last edited by GTO : 9th June 2017 at 12:06. Reason: Typos, spacing
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Old 8th June 2017, 15:23   #13
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Quote:
how much cash are they willing to burn till profits start to roll back
hello Sir, given the way Toyota works I will assume Zero. It's a different matter that they might actually cause a great loss to themselves as well Toyota Dealers who are now selling Lexus if they stick with their pricing strategy.

Quote:
From what I have learnt first hand they will not manufacture the Lexus here
If this is true, then I don't see any future for Lexus here unless Government allows some concession on Electric/ Hybrid CBU.

Quote:
I may be wrong on the 300 units - just sharing what I heard from Lexus
I will be surprised if they are actually able to sell even these 300 in this or next year at these rates (I am excluding one they gave at concessional rates to Toyota Dealers) If you have some other views do share.
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Old 8th June 2017, 15:43   #14
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Nice review!

I personally feel that Lexus is not a VFM proposition. Going by what Toyota have been doing lately I'm thinking of this. Let's put it this way, how many of us feel that the Likes or Fortuner and Innova crysta are not expensive considering their competition? Of course there is no direct rival to the Crysta but, ever since launch there has been increase in their price as the years went on.

According to a recent post about a horror story of our very own giant Maruti in deaing with an S-cross 1.6, Let's hope that with the thin dealership and service compared to Maruti that Toyota don't do a Nexa with Lexus!(you know what I'm talking about). The Europeans have better cars that will simply blow away Lexus. Even if they are locally assembled they will still be priced higher than Toyota. And if you ask me, I would rather but their Toyota siblings which at any point in time will definitely be a VFM offering than Lexus if given a choice between the two.

And no Guessing which one I would pick if I had to decide between a Euro brand and the Lexus.
The Euro please!

Last edited by GTO : 9th June 2017 at 12:08. Reason: Spacing
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Old 8th June 2017, 16:09   #15
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Default Re: Driven: The Lexus Range (ES 300h, RX 450h & LX 450d)

Great review of the Lexus models!

While the ES and RX look good and are a decent package overall, there is absolutely no justification of the price. In another thread, I gave my opinion on why the ES seems overpriced compared to the recently launched E220d which is nearly the same price and I'd like to put forth my views here too;
  • The Lexus even though its the same size as the E, it's viewed more or less as a souped up Toyota Camry/Avalon, and the similarities are hard to escape; it's not viewed as a true luxury sedan. Whereas the E-Class is a full blown mid-size luxury sedan, almost the definition of the phrase.
  • Internationally, the ES range is priced more similarly to the C-Class range. The GS range, which are larger sedans than the ES are marketed against the E-Class - from a price perspective.
  • The current version of the ES is actually a facelift (which happened in 2015) of the model which was launched in 2012 - so it's already ageing. Whereas the new E-Class is brand new
  • Also, it's about the actual offering and the product. The ES is a front wheel drive, hybrid who's main focus is on fuel economy; whereas the E-Class is all about luxury and the driving.
  • Lastly, its a brand perception thing. Mercedes vs. Lexus. Badge, snob value, that sort of thing.
[/quote]

There's just no way it can compete; unless you're a fan of the Lexus and hold a bias.

Quote:
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I’m a fan of the LS sedan, but almost wet my pants thinking of the price it’ll be launched at. Looking at the asking $$$ of the LX 450d, I think you could buy an S-Class & Porsche instead of one LS.
My thoughts exactly. The new LS is gorgeous; but when you put things into perspective, one can get a fully loaded Porsche Cayenne Diesel for the price of the RX. The LS would be priced comparable to the S63 AMG or Panamera Turbo at that rate.
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