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Lexus RX


Ford Everest

Summary

Lexus RX

For those of us unlucky enough to remember the first Lexus RX to launch in Australia, the memories aren’t the fondest.

If you can’t remember it, just picture the stodgiest-looking SUV you can - make it so bland a mere picture of one could cure insomnia - dragging a glass-walled cube behind the rear wheels. 

All of which makes the current-generation RX so incredible. I mean, just look at it; those big rims, the 3D-effect grille, the outrageous lines and creases. It’s about as far removed from its snooze-worthy predecessors as it is possible to get.

Little wonder, then, it has emerged as the second-strongest performer in the Lexus line-up. And with the RX recently refreshed (and with a seven-seat RX L model added for the first time) its high time we took a closer look at the Japanese premium brand’s large SUV. 

Safety rating
Engine Type3.5L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.6L/100km
Seating5 seats

Ford Everest

Update:

Since we first published this story on August 24, 2018, there have been some changes to the Ford Everest range, including the entry-level Everest Ambiente (RWD and 4WD variants) getting advanced driver-assist safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, at no extra cost. 

The Ambiente also now gets lane-keep assist with driver alert, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beams. That's all in addition to the line-up's reversing camera, rear parking sensors, roll-over mitigation, trailer sway control and more.

The 4WD Ambiente also gets hill descent control, hill launch assist and an electronically locking rear differential.

In other Everest news, the top-shelf 2.0-litre twin-turbo Everest Titanium 4WD has dropped in price to $72,290 so it now avoids the luxury car tax.

Changes are rumored to be coming soon for the Ford Ranger range – perhaps towards the end of 2019 – and those changes may also materialise in the next update of the Everest line-up.

Stay tuned for more Ford Everest news. 

As originally published August 24, 2018:

Change is good but there will always be some who become enraged at the mere hint of it. Case in point: those who strongly dislike 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engines. 

In February this year, when just such an engine was revealed as the powerplant of choice for Ford’s high-performance ute, the Ranger Raptor, CarsGuide comments, online chat rooms and beer gardens everywhere echoed with acid-tongued complaint and hearty objections that included such pearls of wisdom as “The only good two litres are milk and orange juice”.

Well, it looks like some of us have a bitter pill to swallow because that 2.0-litre engine is now in the new, refreshed MY19 Everest, Ford’s large SUV wagon, as well – and it’s here to stay. But don’t fret because the 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine remains in the Everest ranks.

In other good news, the 2019 Everest has AEB.

Any bad news? Maybe. Read on.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.1L/100km
Seating7 seats

Verdict

Lexus RX7.9/10

A comfortable and ferociously well-equipped offering (even from the cheapest trim level) - and with a very good ownership package to boot - the RX has earned its place high in the Lexus pecking order.

There are faster, more pulse-quickening SUVs available, of course, but as a sedate suburban warrior, the RX is hard to fault. For ours, we'd be opting for the bang-for-bucks sweet spot of the Luxury trim, paired with the punchy-but-efficient hybrid powertrain.


Ford Everest8/10

Originally built off the Ranger platform, the Everest has always been overshadowed by its overachieving ute stablemate. But now, with the introduction of AEB and some up-speccing to its Everest line-up, Ford has ensured its large SUV wagon is still a strong contender in the race for top honours in the market.

The line-up's volume seller is the Trend and that's still a pretty good sweet spot for the range.

Most of us don’t want a big, shouty 4WD, but we do expect a lot in our new vehicles: we want a quiet, refined family-friendly SUV that drives well, has plenty of safety tech, car-like ride and handling, and good fuel consumption. In its Everest, Ford has come pretty close to producing one of the best around. If only the Titanium's price-tag wasn't so high.

Is the Everest's 2.0-litre twin-turbo the way of the future or a misstep? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Design

Lexus RX

This current RX is like the butterfly that’s emerged from the caterpillar-cocoon of the older models, looking plenty premium and serving up road presence by the bagful. 

No matter which model you go for, you’ll find the angry 'Spindle Grille' up front (which, for ours, is reminiscent of the Predator’s toothy grin, while 20-inch alloys are an impressive size, and a very un-Lexus body kit wraps from the front end all the way around to the rear spoiler.

The interior (check out the interior photos for a closer look) is premium-feeling, if a little busy, with the doors and dash covered in a combination of soft-touch materials and padded leather. 

The brushed aluminium-look central tunnel that separates the front seats is super wide, as it houses the cupholders, drive-mode selector and the strange mousepad that controls the entertainment system, but feels nice under the touch and becomes a kind of focal point in the cabin.


Ford Everest8/10

Nothing much to report here. The Everest has always had substantial presence and nothing has changed in that respect; it’s a good-looking unit.

Among the styling tweaks are a new grille design, revised bumper and fascia design, halogen projector headlights with halogen daytime-running lights, a laminated acoustic windscreen, a 10-speaker audio system, as well as an 'Ebony' interior colour scheme with contrast stitching and chrome highlights.

If there’s any potential strife to the interior look and feel here, it may be that it’s too neat and tidy – too plain – and in danger of becoming a bit dated.

The Titanium has new 20-inch split-spoke alloy wheels.

Practicality

Lexus RX

With dimensions stretching 4890mm long and 1895mm wide, the RX sits squarely in the large SUV category, and there’s plenty of space for riders in both the first and second row.

Up front, there is a cup holder for both driver and passenger and extendable pockets in each of the front doors, and the deep cubby that separates the front seats adds plenty of storage space, and is home to two USB connections, a power outlet and and aux connection, but there is no sunglass holder. 

The interior dimensions ensure there’s plenty of space in the back seat, although the central stack that houses the air vents and another power outlet does jut out into the rear legroom of the middle-seat passenger. There are two bonus cupholders hidden in a pulldown divider that drops from the middle seat, and two ISOFIX attachment points along the backseat. 

Open the automatic tailgate (by waving your hand in front of the Lexus badge) and you’ll find 453 litres of luggage capacity, with boot space increasing to 942 litres by folding the backseat down. Theres’s a sliding cargo cover (the SUV version of a tonneau cover), too. 


Ford Everest8/10

Inside is nice and roomy. It’s also well blended together; chrome, leather accents, as well as clear, easy-to-read instrument displays and colourful Sync3 screen. Nice, small touches, such as the illuminated blue edging around USB ports, add to the cabin’s premium feel.

The front seats are very comfortable and electrically adjustable; the third row can be deployed or stowed away by using buttons on the right-hand rear interior wall of the cargo area.

Those in the front are well catered for with access to two 12-volt sockets, and two USB ports.

Storage spaces include glovebox, two cup holders and a deep bin between driver and front passenger, and bottle holders in each door.

Second-row passengers get a pair of pop-out cupholders in the arm-rest, and can control aircon temp and fan speed, as well as open or close air vents, and use a 230-volt or 12-volt socket from their seat.

There are two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row and the cargo area has bag hooks each side, as well as luggage tie-down points on the floor.

Price and features

Lexus RX

The Lexus RX arrives in plenty of trim and engine combinations, so exactly how much yours will cost is largely up to you. 

The minimum RRP, though, is $74,251, which will buy you an RX300 Luxury. A little further up the price list lives the RX350 Luxury, at $81,421, which makes use of a bigger engine, while the hybrid RX450h Luxury will set you back $90,160.

The range then steps up to the second of three trim levels, the F Sport, for which you’ll be paying $86,551 for the RX300, $93,721 for the RX350 and $102,460 for the RX450h. 

Finally, the range tops out with the Sport Luxury trim, which will push the budget to $92,701 for the RX300, $99,871 for the RX350 and $108,610 for the RX450h.

Okay, so that’s what you’ll be paying. But take a deep breath now, we’re dive into the model comparison.

Even the Luxury-badged cars are a premium package, arriving with 20-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, a powered tailgate, LED headlights and fog lights (with daytime running lights) , a smart key with keyless entry, roof rails and rain-sensing wipers. Inside, expect a laundry list of standard features, including dual-zone climate control, sat nav (which, as far as GPS navigation systems go, is a breeze to operate), push-button start and leather trim.

Your 8.0-inch screen (it’s not a touch screen) pairs with digital radio and 12 speakers, there’s Bluetooth for your MP3s, as well as wireless charging (though iPhones require a special case), and you get heated and cooled front seats, too. Be warned; there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto anywhere in the range.

Step up to the F Sport - a pseudo sport edition - and you’ll add a bigger, 12.3-inch infotainment screen that adds a CD player and DVD player and pairs with a better Mark Levinson sound system complete with 15 speakers (including a subwoofer). You get a new colour head-up display (HUD), too, and a whole heap of sport-flavoured styling flourishes.

Compare that to the Sport Luxury, which adds with soft leather trim elements, heated seats in the second row (vs just the front seats on the F Sport trim) and a power folding function for the backseat. There’s no heated steering wheel here, but then, who needs one in Australia? The adaptive front lighting system cn be switched off, too, should you prefer the traditional approach. 

Colours include 'Titanium' (metallic grey), 'Sonic Quartz' (white), 'Premium Silver', 'Onyx' (a kind of black), 'Graphite Black', 'Vermilion' (red), 'Metallic Silk' (rose gold), 'Deep Metallic Bronze' (a fancy brown) and 'Deep Blue'.

How many seats? That would be five. If you want a third row seat, then you’re shopping for the RX L, as the standard RX is strictly a five-seat affair.

A thick accessories catalogue includes specialty floor mats, roof rack and boot liner options, bull bar, nudge bar and rear seat entertainment system options, as well as a panoramic sunroof, which will set you back $3675. You won't find Homelink though (which automatically opens your garage door), as it's yet to be made available in Australia. 


Ford Everest8/10

The Everest range remains a three-model line-up: entry-level Ambiente, mid-spec and volume seller Trend, and top-spec Titanium.

The new twin-turbo diesel engine and 10-speed auto combination is an option on Trend and standard on Titanium. Ambiente continues with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine and six-speed auto.

One of the other more notable new features in the range is 'Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) with 'Pedestrian Detection' and 'Vehicle Detection', which is now standard across the Trend and Titanium; it will become standard on Ambiente in 2019.

Keyless entry and push-button start are now standard across the range, and Trend and Titanium get Ford’s hands-free power tailgate.


Other standard features include reversing camera, rear parking sensors, 'SYNC 3' with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8.0-inch full-colour touchscreen and reversing camera.

Also new to the Trend are leather-accented seat trim, eight-way power driver's seat and a leather-trimmed gear shifter.

All Ambiente models are five-seaters no matter which drivetrain they have – rear-wheel or 4WD – but they can be optioned up with a third row for $1000.

All prices to follow exclude on-road costs.

Everest Ambiente pricing is: RWD 3.2L (five seats) $49,190; 3.2L RWD (seven seats) $50,190; 3.2L 4WD (five seats) $54,190; and Ambiente 4WD 3.2L (seven seats) $55,190.

Everest Trend pricing is: RWD Bi-Turbo $56,190; 4WD 3.2L $59,990; and 4WD Bi-Turbo $61,190.

The Ford Everest Titanium is only available as a 4WD with the twin-turbo engine and 10-speed auto at a cost of $73,990, including luxury car tax. We spent the lion’s share of our time at the launch in a Titanium so we’ll focus on that variant.

On top of a full complement of standard features and a suite of driver-assist tech, the Titanium now has 20-inch alloy wheels, a 3100kg-rated towbar and a leather-trimmed handbrake.

The new exterior prestige paint is Diffused Silver for $780.

The 2019 Everest is due in showrooms this month.

Engine & trans

Lexus RX

There are three (petrol) engine size options on offer; a turbocharged 2.0-litre in the RX300, a punchy V6 in the RX350 and a hybrid set-up in the RX450.

First up, the four-cylinder turbo engine serves up 175kW/350Nm (decent specs for a smaller engine), channelling it through a six-speed automatic gearbox and sending it on to the front wheels.

The six-cylinder petrol engine is good for 221kW/370Nm, sending that power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The hybrid (it’s not a plug-in hybrid) option uses the exact same engine, but paired with an electric motor that lifts the total output to 230kW/335Nm. That combination pairs with a CVT auto, sending its horsepower to all four wheels. 

All are petrol powered (there are no diesel or LPG options, and no manual transmission, for that matter), and for ours, the combined engine specs of the hybrid powertrain make the most - and most expensive - sense. 

While the Luxury, F-Sport and Sport Luxury models all have adjustable drive modes (including Eco mode), tweaking throttle response and gearing, only the Sport Luxury serves up true variable suspension. 

The F Sport and Sport Luxury also make use of the Lexus AWD system (though 4WD aficionados will notice the lack of low range that prevents it being a true 4x4). The RX300 is front-wheel drive, with no rear-wheel drive options anywhere in the range.

Expect a braked towing capacity of at least 1000kg (provided you’ve picked a tow bar/tow hitch receiver from the accessories catalogue) with a gross vehicle weight that starts from 2500kg.

For reported problems and maintenance, including transmission problems, battery and oil type, and changing your timing belt or chain, see our owner’s page.


Ford Everest8/10

The new-generation twin-turbo engine – 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm from 1750rpm-2000rpm – is paired with a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, the same combination as used in Ford’s high-performance models, Mustang and Raptor. 

But this working partnership is a better match here, in the Everest, than it is in the Raptor, in terms of smooth delivery of power and torque at low and high speeds, as well as doing everything in an unfussed manner – low-key but still effective. 

As mentioned, the previous-gen 3.2-litre 143kW/470Nm five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and six-speed auto is still offered in Ambiente and Trend, ensuring those who prefer their engines bigger are catered for.
The Titanium has full-time 4WD with low-range gearing ('4x4 Low') and electronic diff lock, as well as a 'Terrain Management System' with four driving modes (Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Rock) to suit different terrain. 

Fuel consumption

Lexus RX

For the smaller, turbocharged engine, Lexus claims fuel economy of 8.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, with emissions pegged at 189g/km of CO2. Stepping up to the RX350 increases fuel consumption numbers to 9.6L/100km and 223g/km, while the hybrid gets by with impressive mileage of just 5.7L/100km and 131g/km.

Expect a 72-litre fuel tank that requires 95RON fuel in the 300 and 350, while the hybrid’s fuel tank capacity is 65 litres.


Ford Everest8/10

Best-of-the-bunch 2.0-litre fuel consumption is listed as 6.9L/100km (combined) in the Trend RWD, and 7.1L/100km (combined) in the 4WD. We noted an average of 9.8L/100km on the dash but there may have been some heavy right foot involved in prompting that figure.

The Everest has an 80-litre fuel tank.

Driving

Lexus RX

If BMW serves up the 'ultimate driving machine' and Mercedes delivers 'the best or nothing', then surely the review tag line for the RX SUV range should be 'easy like a Sunday morning'.

Sure, there are sportier-feeling SUVs - and faster ones, too - but there is an easy comfort to the way the RX goes about its business that you’ll undoubtedly appreciate more frequently than you would harder suspension, more in-touch steering and the endless pursuit of speed and 0-100 performance figures.

For the record, though, the hybrid cars will sprint from 0-100km/h in a brisk 7.7sec, a smidge quicker than the 8.0sec of the regular V6.  The RX300 records a far more leisurely 9.2sec. 

Probably most impressive, the RX doesn't feel overly large and cumbersome, and nor does its turning radius, and it’s equally at home in the cramped inner city as it is eating up kays on the freeway. The six- or eight-speed transmission is silky-smooth seamless, switching between cogs without you even noticing, and the cabin is commendably quiet - especially when you're coasting though the ‘burbs - locking the worst road noise outside out of the cabin. 

You can inject a little excitement by selecting 'Sport' or 'Sport +' via the central dial, tweaking the accelerator and steering settings, and in Sport Luxury cars, firming up the suspension, removing some of the lolling about in corners, though there’s no air suspension.

While the F-Sport and Sport Luxury cars are AWD-equipped, the off road capability is hampered somewhat by its ground clearance, big chrome-look wheels and skirtings. This is an SUV built for the city over the bush, but you likely don’t need us to tell you that.


Ford Everest8/10

The Everest’s 2.0-litre is not going to get any pulses pounding with its engine note, that’s for sure, but it more than makes up for any lack of rough, gutsy charm – perceived or otherwise – by being the consummate quiet achiever. Because it is very quiet … and it achieves.

The good news is that we pushed the 2477kg Titanium pretty hard off the mark, as well as made a series of overtaking moves and clocked up a bit of open-road cruising and it just burbled along nicely. There’s a real no-fuss quality to its delivery of big torque at low revs. It certainly seems to work better in the Everest than in the Raptor, which we drove at launch a few weeks ago and the consensus there was that it was underpowered and underwhelming.

The Everest is also very quiet inside. Ford reckons the twin-turbo is “much quieter” than their 3.2-litre models due to advanced sound insulation and 'Active Noise Cancellation' which has helped to improve cabin quietness. Well, the 3.2 is pretty quiet anyway, but in the short time I’ve spent so far in the 2019 twin-turbo Everest, I have no reason not to believe them.

Its steering has that real Ford feel – light and lively but precise – and on its revised coil-spring suspension, the Titanium’s ride and handling is even smoother than before. It was firm, bordering on stiff at times, but perhaps the Titanium’s 20-inch rims on road-biased Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tyres set at 38 psi could be blamed for some of that; 18 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels and tyres are a no-cost option on the Titanium.

We did some decent 4WDing on this launch out near Lithgow and the Everest was infrequently challenged anywhere near the limits of its off-roading capabilities.

In fact we intentionally drove our tester in Normal mode and took the ‘off’ line through sections of terrain that would have likely put some rivals in a spot of bother but, with judicious use of that 10-speed auto, especially that low first, we trucked through no problem.

The Everest’s hill descent control deserves a mention also as it’s rather smooth and effective; it holds very low speeds (registering as 0km/h on the dash), can be adjusted via buttons on the steering wheel, and was not jerky or jarring like some systems in other off-roaders can be.

When we did dial through the drive modes of the terrain management system to actually suit the surface we were driving on there was no surprise at how efficient and effective it was, as we’ve used it quite extensively before in the bush and on beach sand.

The Titanium has 227mm ground clearance. We observed a few Everests on different terrain and, especially on deep sharp-edged ruts and short steeper-angled rocky climbs its underslung full-sized spare tyre behind the rear axle can seem like it’s about to become a plow – and there's something else to watch out for. 

One fellow journo pointed out that what appears to be the AdBlue tank protrudes below the bottom edge of the full-sized spare, eating into a bit of ground clearance and the Titanium’s departure angle; posing a bit of a damage risk if your 4WDing takes your Everest into particularly tricky territory.

The Everest has a towing capacity of 3100kg (braked) up from its previous 3000kg; unbraked max is 750kg. The Titanium has a payload of 623kg, a GVM of 3100kg and a 5900kg GCM.

Safety

Lexus RX

Even the cheapest RX (which, admittedly, isn’t all that cheap) arrives with a long list of standard safety features, including a reversing camera, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, AEB, lane assist and parking sensors (but no park assist). 

You’ll also find 10 airbags, and twin ISOFIX mountings for you baby car seat, as well as cruise control and the usual suite of braking and traction control systems.

The Lexus RX received a five-star ANCAP safety rating, the best possible ratings outcome, when tested in 2015. The Lexus RX is built in Japan.


Ford Everest8/10

The Everest range has a five-star ANCAP rating as a result of testing conducted in 2015.

Standard safety gear across the range includes seven airbags (driver and front passenger, side front, side curtain (to third row) and driver's knee), ABS, DSC, RSC, EBD, traction control, EBA, reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

Driver-assist tech in the top-spec Titanium includes AEB, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

It has five child-seat anchor points and two ISOFIX anchors in the second row.

Ownership

Lexus RX

Expect a four-year/100,000km warranty (that's 12 months longer than BMW or Mercedes-Benz, so think of it as a kind of extended warranty), and the RX will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 15,000km.

Your first service cost is gratis, and the total maintenance cost for each service is available online - so there are no surprises at the dealership.

For common problems, complaints, issues and the like, visit our Lexus RX owner’s page. But your owner’s manual should be required reading, too. Traditionally, Lexus product ranks well in reliability ratings, resale value and initial value rating charts.