Lexus RC 300h review: The coupé maze – Pocket

There’s something to be pronounced for rarity. When sighting an surprising automobile it turns heads since it bucks a informed trend. Which is accurately what a Lexus RC 300h does.

Drive by city in this sporty-looking coupe and a outrageous front grille will get eyes glancing in a ubiquitous direction. And not since it’s got a rapturous V8 underneath a hood and creates a large strain and dance (there’s a RC F for that). Oh no, that “h” stands for hybrid – definition a RC 300h can, in theory, lift divided in sum overpower on electricity alone.

But there are reasons for rarity, both good and bad. So since is a Lexus so frequency seen labyrinth down a UK’s rough B-roads? It could be down to a series of things: a hybrid foe coupe feels like a counterbalance in terms; a on-board tech is a prolonged approach behind a foe in terms of usability; and a cost indicate can’t outmanoeuvre a apparent Audi A5, BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class rivals.

We spent a week with a RC 300h to see possibly a cultured allure and eco-conscious hybrid setup is adequate to make it surpass as a foe coupe to go for.

We consider a RC 300h’s face is a distinguished instance of pattern disproportion in a typically medium category. That grille looks like it could eat adult a highway for breakfast yet a care. Those Nike-esque “tick” headlights relate both front and behind to supplement some sharpness to a smoother lines. Optional sand flaps to a behind supplement even some-more streamlining to a look.

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If we were to choice a Lexus corresponding opposite a Audi A5 Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C220D – arguably a many allied competitors – afterwards we consider it looks a many unusual. It’s not utterly as unconventional as a LC 500, mind, yet that’s something to keep in mind for 2018 and beyond.

Thing is, a Lexus starts from around £37K, creation it about £2K some-more than a Audi A5 and around £5K some-more than a Merc. Our examination RC 300h is a F Sport indication – that’s center of a pack, that runs from Luxury to F Sport to Premier models – that starts during coming £40K. Point being: we need to unequivocally wish a Lexus’ looks and really wish a hybrid to aver spending that additional cash.

A week with a RC 300h gave us copiousness of event to exam a automobile out on a accumulation of roads – a prolonged expostulate from London to a Peak District and back; stop-start trade pushing by bustling south London; a few trips around a A406, M25 and down a M20 – to give us a extended clarity of how it feels to live with this car.

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The end is elementary enough: it’s a gentle to be for many hours. The F Sport interior, here shown in dim rose leather (it’s kinda cherry red, really) with aluminium inlays, doesn’t supplement to a cost tab during this trim level. There’s also a choice of clove, black or grey leather – whatever takes your fancy. All embody both exhilarated and vented seats (you can even switch both on during a same time, that is unusual), and electrically tractable motorist and newcomer seats. At slightest Lexus doesn’t assign for each further underneath a object like Audi, BMW and Merc do – that helps to equalize a cost and value proposition.

Comfortable yet it might be, there’s a certain undo with a interior; it’s a bit of a time-warp. For a start there’s a CD actor slot, that feels like it’s been drawn out of a 90s. Maybe CDs are still large business in Japan, yet we’re sorely astounded not to see some-more ports, a choice for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and generally some-more future-facing-ness in this regard. The sound complement is flattering reasonable given a space accessible to exercise (or we can plump for a Mark Levinson complement during £1,000 extra). That Lexus clock, front and centre, is iconic, yet it usually looks kind of ostentatious in this setup.

Tucked above that time is a infotainment screen, buried into a dash. It’s easy to peek at, splendid adequate to see while out on a road, and delivers reward navigation for an additional £1,995. That’s about a biggest additional box you’re expected to parasite on this car.

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Problem in, “premium” is some-more than a misnomer. Lexus is behind in this department: a correctness of a navigation was vague, giving adult in a closeness of a end residence in a Peak District, for example, since it didn’t have a roads accessible on a complement to map them. Typing in a end feels about a decade out of date, too, given a routine of typing in a unequivocally specific residence usually – something Android Auto could residence with Google Maps, were it available.

Furthermore a whole complement is unequivocally tough to use. We’re not labouring this indicate unnecessarily: we’ve already seen a identical (actually even harder-to-use) complement in a RX 450h, and it’s usually not demonstrative of being done by people who ever use tech. The small pad to a centre hovel offers haptic feedback to support your shifting finger when jostling between on-screen letters and options, yet it’s hyper-sensitive and all too easy to (infuriatingly) skip what we want, name a wrong choice or form in a wrong letter.

Ultimately Lexus has a large event here. A outrageous association – Toyota owns a brand, along with Scion, Daihatsu and some-more – there’s no reason for it to loiter behind in this department. Especially when quirky cars like a Toyota Prius are so many some-more standout in their ways. Simplify, modernize and a code will lay during a turn that can contest with Audi’s top-drawer offerings.

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That’s not to contend it’s behind everywhere: a driver’s cluster over a circle is a reduction of digital and mechanical. By default a round arrangement will yield digital rev and speed readings. However, a whole round member can mechanically pierce to a side during a press of a button, divulgence a quick-glance double-up of a infotainment within eye shot. It’s a lot of fun. Impractical, perhaps, yet who cares? It’s a good approach to keep navigation on a categorical lurch screen, while, say, we name by your tunes regulating a steering circle controls.

Sat behind a circle of a RC 300h and there’s something of a model shift: this is a sporty coupe, finish with primer paddles on a circle to change those gears if a automobile box doesn’t fit your taste, yet it’s also a hybrid. Hit a start symbol and it’s probable to lift divided in sum silence, that is totally shining on a one hand, yet during contingency with a car’s altogether demeanour and feel on a other. No noise, no passion, no connect. It’s an roughly bizarre sensation, zero like thrashing around in a Toyota GT86, for example.

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The RC 300h uses regenerative violation to juice-up a on-board battery, so we never need to worry about plugging in or anything like that. The electric engine merely complements a 2.5-litre petrol engine, that ought to make for larger efficiency. But it depends on how we expostulate and depends on a roads, too. We mostly found that pulling divided during essential speeds would flog a petrol engine into play to get relocating divided from trade lights quick enough. Thus, a hybrid member didn’t assist a pushing character a good understanding and during times feels during contingency with a coupe image.

That engine isn’t accurately a savage either, as it’s a CVT much like a Toyota C-HR (you didn’t pattern that, eh?). The 4 cylinder construction means it’s not generally shrill – that does go hand-in-hand with a hybrid interest – and 0-62mph can be struck in 8.6 seconds. Which is about a same as a 1-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta (in 140ps trim).

As a RC 300h is utterly a prolonged car, and rear-wheel drive, switch off a traction control, give it a bit of welly and we can get it to do some somewhat some-more stupid cornering. There are mixed modes to select from – Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+ – that will give combined pep to doing as a higher-ranking options are selected, yet we can also pattern potency to go down as a result. If you’re ultra unwavering then, battery permitting, an EV symbol will try to run a automobile in electric usually – yet it’s wily to not over-press a stifle and flog a engine behind in, frankly.

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So a Lexus RC 300h, notwithstanding a sporty looks, isn’t unequivocally designed to be thrashed about. Its goals as opposite to many coupes: this is about quietness, removing we around in comfort, meaningful you’ll arrive with people branch to demeanour during this car’s surprising face.

Verdict

Overall a Lexus RC 300h is a sort-of shining contradiction: we adore a approach it looks, that it’s a singular steer on UK roads, and is gentle to lay behind a circle for prolonged periods. At a same time, a sporty looks aren’t met with many propensity from that 2.5l engine, a on-board tech and infotainment is behind a competition, and it can’t outmanoeuvre a German foe in terms of cost point.

In many ways we’ve enjoyed a RC 300h – it’s a exhale of uninformed atmosphere in terms of visible pattern and has an eco-conscious position – yet we can see since a a rarity: it lacks any loyal pivotal captivate to get business on house and divided from a important competition.

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If a luxe coupe is a must, yet a purse strings are a small tight, afterwards (surprisingly) it’s Merc that offers a many affordable approach nto a sector. The C-Class coupe isn’t a newest of a bunch, yet those good looks, apparent Merc-ness and a decent interior setup make it a renouned and, daresay, apparent choice.

Read a full article: Mercedes C220d initial drive

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Yes, it’s an Audi, so it looks like an Audi. But, well, that’s a accurate reason to buy an Audi, right? Less stirring in visible terms than a Lexus, this non-hybrid has a reduce seeking cost and improved interior/tech setup. Which goes to explain since it’s so renouned and not during all a monument on UK roads.

Read a full article: Audi A5 review

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Ok, call us mad, yet abstain a luxury, save £10-15K and a GT86 is a whole lot some-more fun. It’s smaller, some-more nimble, and delivers on a thrills like a 2+2 should.

Read a full article: Toyota GT86 review

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