Lexus revamped and revised its large 450h hybrid luxury SUV for the new year. And it has taken a new sort of 'pot-shot' at diesel rivals.
It has added comfort, safety and tech items - mostly for the good, one arguably not - and nipped and tucked a few areas of the exterior for better visuals. I got through a lot of driving; we spanned more than 800km. Not always with the sort of result you'd expect.
In updating the infotainment system (12.3ins t/screen), it has replaced the old rotary dial with a remote touchpad. I think it is among the feckiest things to try to work.
It has added safety elements (in some cases depending on trim level) to the Lexus Safety Sense (LSS +2): pre-collision system, pedestrian day-time/night-time detection, cyclist day-time detection, dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC) and an adaptive high-beam system (AHS). The fossil-fuel side of the hybrid equation is a 3.5-litre V6 (313hp) petrol engine. And road tax is a reasonable €280 for a large, luxury SUV.
It makes the point that its emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx), at 7.4mg/km, are six times lower than a 'volume selling diesel competitor'. It has every right to highlight that.
But a key question remained: how did the 450h fare on fuel consumption where, it is widely regarded, diesels are such good performers? I'll come back to that.
As I said, the car's looks have been smartened, the front grille and bumpers redesigned, front fogs, new rear lights and new wheels on Executive/Premium grades (there are two others: Luxury and F SPORT).
But the big question everyone asked was: What was it like on fuel consumption considering the amount of talk about 'self-charging' hybrids?
Well, not so good. I ended with a cumulative total of 8.3 litres/100km (34mpg) which compares unfavourably against big diesels. The thing to remember, in the interest of fairness, is that I was mostly driving in chunks of long-range travel with the V6 working a lot of the time.
The figure would be better on shorter, urban drives because the electric side of hybrid would have worked more. But if you are going to pay €80,000 for a large SUV you are going to take long drives too. I was disappointed because I drove moderately.
It was, however, an exceptionally comfortable motor as my two long-drive passengers remarked several times.
* Executive (€78,580): 18ins alloys, triple LED headlights/auto high beam, leather, 12-speaker audio, 12.3ins touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto;
* Luxury (€79,950): 20ins alloys, 2-zone air con, driving position memory;
* F-Sport (€88,950): Adaptive Variable Suspension, Drive Mode Select, 15-speaker Mark Levinson system, head-up display (HUD);
* Premium (€90,950): semi-aniline leather upholstery, front/rear seats.