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Lexus RX200t, car review: With 235bhp from its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot it’s not short on guts

The original RX was petrol-only. Then it had a hybrid option, and then it became all-hybrid. And now here it is with a petrol-only option.

That’s what you get at the bottom of the range, with the RX200t. Tested here in F Sport trim, it definitely looks the business, and with 235bhp from its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot it’s not short on guts.

It’s not short on weight either, though. Nearly two tonnes is a lot for the engine to shift, and the result is a less than sporty sprint time of 9.5 seconds.

Achieving that takes revs, too, which feels (and sounds) out of place in such a classy and otherwise refined machine. The presence of a busy rasp in the cabin is all the more jarring when that cabin is as stylish, comfortable and beautifully crafted as the RX’s.

Lexus’ suspension settings give it a predictably sumptuous quality of ride to go with its executive lounge interior. It doesn’t handle as well as you’d hope, though, with levels of understeer and body roll that might go unnoticed in a less overtly sporting SUV.

This happened even when we had our RX in Sport+ mode – and despite the fact that while some models are only front-driven, ours was a full-fat 4×4.

For all these reasons, we found the RX200t best suited to relaxed driving. So in our view, its edgy image is just that – an image.

Lexus RX200t F Sport

If that’s enough for you, fill your boots. But don’t be taken in by the official figures that say you’ll get 34.9mpg in everyday use. We went looking for our RX’s performance some of the time during our test, but we also kept a lid on it enough of the time for our fuel consumption figure not to be completely meaningless.

And it was about 25mpg. So with the taxman waiting to nail you for your 189g/km, buying this car when you could stretch to the RX450h instead looks like a pretty false economy.

The fact is that a grand more would put you in the hybrid model, albeit only in Luxury trim. But that really is a luxury car – and this really isn’t a sporting one.

Feb 17th, 2016