You drove past and it sounded like the engine wasn’t even running. What gives?
Aha, that’s because I was in EV mode – this is a hybrid you know. You can pull away in complete silence but that’s only after pushing the start button again and again. You see, when you start this up, it doesn’t make any noise at all so you’re not sure if it’s actually on or not.
It is, I won’t deny it. What else is annoying is trying and failing to keep it EV mode; you can only go a few kilometres on electric power alone until the engine kicks in. You have to be very judicious on the throttle if you don’t want to wake the 3.5-litre V6. But, even if you are really careful and are successfully annoying all those behind you with your go-slow tactics, beyond a point, the motor jumps in and there goes the peace and quiet. Actually to be fair, the V6 is still very peaceful and quiet. And did I say smooth?
Well, it’s that too. And in total, the powertrain makes a very healthy 308bhp. But, this isn’t to satisfy those with a heavy right foot – this is for those with one eye on the pumps and to that end, this SUV has a claimed combined fuel efficiency of 9.4 litres per 100km. That’s not bad at all.
Is it good to drive?
It’s refined, smooth, quiet, and very comfortable. But, it isn’t exactly fun to drive and there’s one very big reason – it has a CVT. It makes you miss the RX 350’s eight-speed auto so bad… but like I said, the ride quality is top notch; the suspension irons out all the road imperfections and it just glides along. But, it does have some body roll so you wouldn’t want to push it too hard in the corners, even when you set it to Sport Plus, which sharpens the throttle and steering response.
The cabin looks good…
That’s because it is. It’s very roomy and very well laid out but I wish they’d ditch the mouse-like Remote Touch controller. It’s hard to use especially when you’re driving. Leg and headroom in both rows is good and overall you can’t really complain about much in here. The new high-rise centre console dominates the dash and the 12.3in infotainment system houses most of the car’s features and is easy to use.
But, the body looks a bit fussy…
The origami-inspired looks are a bit hit and miss; you either like the styling or you don’t. This F Sport package adds a black mesh grille, a restyled lower front fascia, some extra chrome and black exterior trim, as well as 20in alloy wheels.