Japanese luxury car maker Lexus has finally hit the Indian roads. They’ve announced their arrival in style with 3 cars, 2 of which are hybrids. So the intent is clear to give is us cars that also contribute to a greener environment. But since Indians also love big muscle SUVs there’s a fuel guzzler thrown in as well. The prices of the cars range from Rs. 55.27 lakh for the ES 300h hybrid sedan to a whopping Rs. 2.32 crore for the LX 450d SUV. The third car is the RX 450h hybrid SUV that will set you back by Rs. 1.07 crore. We were in the queen of hills Ooty on the invitation of Lexus to sample all the cars. The idea was to understand the craftsmanship that goes behind making cars the Lexus way and also drive them to understand the dynamics of these machines.
The ES 300h is the only sedan of the lot because it is a hybrid the only real competition is the Toyota Prius that comes from the same family. But price wise the ES stacks up against the likes of cars like the Mercedes E-class and the Audi A6. The big spindle grille is the design highlight on the exterior. The car also gets LED headlamps wraparound tail lamps. A spoiler on the rear makes the car look sporty and the ES can also boast of a big boot. Inside what really impresses you is the quality of interior and the sheer finesse with which things are executed. The standout features here are an analogue clock and a Mark Levinson audio system. The car gets a 3-zone climate control and a side glass blind which makes the rear seat a good place to be in. A combination of a 2.5 liter petrol engine and an electric motor powers the car. While the former churns out 160 PS and 233 Nm of torque while the electric motor gives 143 PS of power. The ES promises to reach a speed of 100 kmph from stationary in 8.5 seconds. The car has a claimed mileage of 17.1 kmpl.
The idea was to understand the craftsmanship that goes behind making cars the Lexus way and also drive them to understand the dynamics of these machines.
The second Lexus car in India is also a hybrid but a SUV. When it comes to looks the RX 450h is the most striking with its bold mix of curves and lines. The 3-eye headlamps get LED daytime running lights and the tail lamps also get LEDs. Muscular wheel arches and the unique C-pillar contribute to a very impressive stance. The dash is pretty similar to the ES 300h and a nice joystick is there to control the music system. The 12.3 inch display screen compliments the size of the car perfectly and SUV also gets gesture controlled lighting. The second row provides ample space and the seats here can also be reclined. However there’s no individual climate control for rear seat occupants. The SUV runs on a 3.5 litre Petrol motor that delivers 259 BHP and 335 Nm. There are 2 electric motors here that give 165 bhp. Depending on the road and driving conditions either one or both electric motors power the car which makes the RX an on demand all-wheel drive electric vehicle. There are 4 driving modes and Lexus is claiming a mileage of 18.8 kmpl on the RX. 0-100 kmph speed is achieved in 7.7 seconds. The SUV is available in 2 variants named F-Sport & Luxury.
Quite unlike the other two cars the LX is an out an out fuel guzzler that runs on a humongous diesel engine. The 4.5 litre V8 motor churns out 261 BHP and gets a 6-speed automatic transmission with All-wheel drive. There are 6 driving modes on the LX 450d and the car also gets Multi-Terrain ABS With EBD. The LX also aims to be an efficient off-roader and for that it gets features like terrain monitoring system, four wheel active height control and adaptive variable suspension. The SUV has a big fuel tank of 93 litres and a claimed mileage of 9.6 kmpl can take the car places. Speed of 100 kmph from stationary can be achieved in 8.6 seconds. Design wise also the LX is different from the other two cars as it looks a lot more muscular. On the outside it gets an L-themed design and 3-eye projector lamps are present here as well. Being just a 5-seater it gets a big boot which has a split tail gate for easy loading of luggage. Inside once again the car is full of features and the highlights here are a 19-speaker M & L system, remote touch interface, rear entertainment screens, 4-zone climate control and a 220 v power socket.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars