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Lexus SUV ups tech and comfort, but petrol V6 hits MPG

First Irish drive: Lexus 450h

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Revised: the latest version of the Lexus 450h has smarter looks and is exceptionally comfortable

Revised: the latest version of the Lexus 450h has smarter looks and is exceptionally comfortable

The Lexus 450H interior

The Lexus 450H interior

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Revised: the latest version of the Lexus 450h has smarter looks and is exceptionally comfortable

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.

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The Lexus 450H interior

The Lexus 450H interior

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.

Indo Motoring