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Lexus Rx 450h Advance Review by Simon Ford @Sf4d74,

A Few Months ago I tested the Lexus Rx 450h under the Twitter Social Test Pilot scheme from Lexus, which meant I could drive it 1 hour in the comfort of my own streets.

My result was inconclusive as it was very hard to make a proper judgement on a £50,000 car within the timescale alloted and I needed more time.

Well those good old people at Lexus Glasgow contacted me and asked if I’d like to try the new model for a couple of days to get a proper judgement for my previous ramblings.

Looks wise there is no change from the previous model that I tested, the low-slung understated looks still remain  making this full size suv appearing quite sporty and smaller than the dimensions would suggest.

Except this time there was a slight difference, the Advance model with Panoramic roof comes equipped with Smoked Alloys, headlights, grill, front and rear under runs as standard over the by no means basic Se model I last tested, making for a slightly more agressive sportier looking Lexus.

The interior is the same as before,  using very high quality materials  throughout the cabin with soft touch plastics on the dash through to the well built plastic buttons on the centre console.

The stereo is a top of the range Mark Levinson unit, which is controlled on the steering wheel, and also uses  the Lexus remote touch system. It can also be used to control the air-con settings, the Sat-Nav system, Phone, calender, Fuel consumption option which allows you to see which part of the engine is driven, whether it’s Electricity, 3.5 v6 petrol engine  or both. Being left handed I found the Remote Touch System incredibly easy to use.

Getting comfortable in the Rx 450h is a doddle with the 8 way electrically adjustable heated seats, which can be programmed for 3 different people of various shapes /sizes.

Once your settled into the Rx 450h you feel cocooned like your in a nice bubble which inspires a joy-joy feeling. Push the start button and the Clear concise dials with the blue hue light up adding to a greater driver ambiance.

Engage drive and for the 1st couple of minutes your using the sweet 3.5 litre petrol engine with Atkinson cycle pumping out  a respectable 249bhp with 317nm of torque @4,800rpm.

The Rx 450h gives a lowdown growl from the outside, but from the cabin you can hardly hear it, Lexus have done a great job Surpressing interior cabin noise as last time I stated that I could hear the batterys when I pulled away, in this newer model the noise was absent which was great.

After a couple of minutes the batterys are ready to use, which is eerie at 1st because you keep checking to see if you’ve stalled the car, but pulling away and driving  anywhere in silence is great because you really do feel like your in your own little world, Keep the Rx 450h under 30mph and you can enjoy your silence for at least a few miles.

Get over 30 mph and the Engine takes over seamlessly giving a little rumble as you acclerate faster and on the straights the Gearbox is super smooth changing up effortlessly while remaining very quiet from the interior.

The Handling is surprisingly Good for a big suv, with very little bodyroll going into either slow city corners, or fast twisty stuff corners, even at parking speeds, the Rx feels light and easy to manouver, the only problem when driving  the 450h is that being a big suv you forget just how big it is, Especially when it comes to parking in shop car park bays luckily the rear camera does a very good job in helping but it’s still a long/wide car.

Taking the Rx 450h for a stretch of motorway driving I switched to the ‘S’ position which is the manual change sports mode,  I noticed a slight flaw, when I accelerated quite hard to overtake, I changed up a gear then to the next gear but found the Rx lagging behind not changing when it was asked to, so the ‘S’ mode is quite fussy but leave it in just ‘D’ then its very good.

So whats the Verdict?


Overall the Lexus Rx 450h is a very good car indeed it does everything you ask of it very well, I averaged 30.2 mpg over my journey for the two days,which was mostly city driving, the Tax is cheap at £66.00 for 6m, Business users can get a BIK tax rate of 18%, at £48,405 it’s not exactly cheap, but Glasgow Lexus offer a saving of £3000 on ‘Lexus connect programme’ (pcp) which means this middle of the range model comes down to the price of the basic model which makes it better value.

Would I buy one?

NO! whilst the Rx 450h is a very good car,  for £50,000,The Rx 450H does everything Extremely well, but just misses out on that little bit of Excitement factor thats needed to sway me away from the German alternatives,

Hopefully the New F-sport model due June 2012 will Sway me towards the Lexus !!

After thought, These E.v peugeots conversions cost approx £42-45,000  and the Lexus £45,000 after discounts, without the range anxiety, which would you choose !!

Once again Thank you to Matt Duffy and Glasgow Lexus 20 Kennedy st Glasgow G4 0EB


Cake, Cars & More Cars! SimonsCarSpots at Jaguar Land Rover, Gaydon

Having picked up a new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer the day before, kindly provided by Grimshaws Vauxhall of Eccles, Manchester, Simon and I got up at 05:30 to head down in the early hours to Gaydon, Warwickshire, to the Motor Heritage Museum and Jaguar Land Rover, for the JLR Experience Day. Here’s the short introductory video we made on our way down the M6:

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRi from Tilly at Grimshaws Eccles Manchester

As we got closer and closer to Gaydon, we increasingly felt like we were in motoring heaven, even whilst we were still on the M40. Jaguars, Land Rovers and Aston Martins were everywhere! On the drive down, we were in Twitter and SMS contact with Rob Griggs-Taylor (for PetrolBlog) and Chris Auty (Driving Spirit), who were also attending the JLR day.

Nearing the JLR site at the Motor Heritage Museum, we put aside any temptations the National Herb Museum stirred up in us, and resumed our infamous car spotting obsession the minute we parked up in the car park – A Maserati 3200GT, Audi S8, Hyundai Veloster… the list goes on!

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - Rob Griggs-Taylor

We were delighted to meet fellow Tweeter and SimonsCarSpots.com contributor Rob Griggs-Taylor (there on behalf of MajorGav’s PetrolBlog) a few minutes later, and had many a good natter with him throughout the day, over the abundance of wonderful cake, tea/coffee and lunch provided by Jaguar Land Rover. We also enjoyed meeting Chris Auty from Driving Spirit, who bravely tackled the off-road course straight after lunch! Our “Twitter table” was later joined by Andrew Merritt-Morling and another nice guy called James, and it was interesting to find out about their own motoring passions and involvements.

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - with Chris Auty from Driving Spirit

But enough of the waffle – what about the cars? Simon duly plunged straight in, his first car of the day being a white Jaguar XKR-S convertible, which he will be covering in his own blog post along with his drives of the Continue Reading →


How SimonsCarSpots Was Born

Hi all, my name’s Simon Ford, and I’m an avid car spotter!

There you go, I’ve said it! I know, it sounds like the start to a seedy Alcoholics Anonymous meet, but a lot of people think car spotting’s a bit of a strange habit to have. Well not me and definitely not you, otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far!

I’ve always been a pretty big petrolhead and I’ve always liked photography. But up until now, have had nowhere to express or encourage others to join in or my working life has prevented me from doing what I enjoy.

I joined Twitter around about a year ago and found like-minded “car people” to talk to, mainly journalists and TV people and everyone and anyone that liked cars in general. I started just talking with them in general, then I thought to myself if I’m talking to people about cars, why not snap the weird the wonderful and the “WTF’s” and post them to my Twitter account for everyone else to enjoy? Now I must admit, I’m nowhere near professional – I am a keen amateur and all of my pics are taken with just a mobile phone, and some I think have been surprisingly good for a mobile shot.

My two best shots in my own opinion are the Volkswagen R36 shot followed by the Maserati Quattroporte:

Anyway, I digress…

Around 5-6 months ago, I started being followed on Twitter by @renaultvelsatis (Oliver Hammond). We started talking in general and after a month of talking, banter and me posting more car spot pics, I received a DM (direct message) from Olly saying how much he loves my car spot pictures and whether I’d be interested in being set up with a website to showcase my car spots!

I must admit my 1st split millisecond’s thoughts like anybody would think was “how much will it cost?!”, but I knew from talking to Oli for months on end that he was serious in offering me an opportunity that I was never ever going to get anywhere else – a genuinely free-to-me website through which I could showcase my car spots!

So naturally I jumped at the chance and said YEESSS please and how do we go about it?! I know the basics on how to use a PC because 99% of the time I’m using the mobile for car spotting, internet and Twitter. But luckily, as well as being a car and motoring fanatic, Renault Vel Satis guru and wannabe motoring writer, Oli is a web developer, so he said he would design the site, allowing me to concentrate on content. And we both thought of a Guest Spotter section as I wanted to let everyone else share in SimonsCarspots.com and let other people showcase their car spots and be part of the fun – which I’m glad we did, because within the 1st week of going live with SimonsCarspots.com we had over 32,000 hits and 300 unique visitors!

Now, at the end of its 1st month we have had nearly 200,000 hits and average between 700-900 unique visitors per week and rising…

And it’s all thanks to everyone who loves car spotting!

Oli and I want to thank you all for embracing the concept and the site, which has become yours as much as ours! And thank you for your continued support and car spotting pictures!

Simon Ford (Owner & Co-Founder)


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