Lexus RC 300h
I’m not really into style. People with a basic understanding of fashion often tell me that I dress like a fifteen year old skateboarder. The gents who work in the barbers I infrequently visit get frustrated when asking what I want done to my hair and my response is, “I don’t really know to be honest… surprise me.” Essentially I need someone to teach me how to appear like an adult.
But when I took delivery of the RC 300h my ineptitude was masked and all of a sudden I become the coolest kid on the block. This thing oozes swankiness. The exterior design is accentuated with beautifully crafted sharp lines, and the giant anvil-shaped grille at the front offers a devilish grin. It is a stunning vehicle, no matter which angle you look at it from.
The same swankiness carries on inside, with plush materials and fancy gadgets aplenty. A particular favourite is the touchscreen pad that sits on the centre console, which is used to control the infotainment system. The screen is embedded into the dash, tucked away behind the vents, clock and engine on button. The seats are easily more comfortable than my sofa at home.
The one downside about the interior is a distinct lack of room in the back. Fully grown adults will find it uncomfortable here, especially if the front passenger and driver are tall, but kids should be fine. The RC 300h almost feels like it should be a two seater sports car but Lexus decided to whack a couple of extra seats in the back to make it appeal to a larger audience.
As well as style and comfort, a major strength of the RC 300h is country road cruising. It’s certainly not the most powerful Lexus ever made, with the 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor providing a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds. I have to admit, I did have some butt-clenching moments when pulling out to overtake on single lane roads before realising I had to duck out. That said, the adaptive variable suspension and refined handling will stick a smile on your face when taking on sweeping bends. There’s also very little tyre or wind noise thanks to some fancy sound isolation techniques, though the low seating position means that the driver never feels disconnected from the road.
Towards the end of my loan I had a conversation with an old petrol head about Lexus cars. Naturally, he reminisced of the ‘good old days’, when the older vehicles would roar under a heavy right foot and practically spit flame. He asked why a brand known for sportiness would stick an electric motor in a vehicle. It was a tricky question to answer, so I told him to go test drive one and find out for himself.
Thinking back on it, I am unable to give a single answer. Instead, the hybrid system allows RC 300h drivers to pull off silently without annoying the neighbours, to live in big cities like London while having the ability to travel small distances in electric-only mode (which is becoming increasingly important), and to get better mileage on the motorway. It provides a sense of refinement and elegance, but perhaps its greatest contribution is the fact that it proves Lexus is looking forward.