Motor Trend Comparison: 2010 Lexus RX 450h vs. BMW M5 vs. Volkswagen Touareg

Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes ML320, BMW X5 & Volkswagen Touarag

Motor Trend has pushed out the first comparison of the Lexus RX 450h with its peers — in this config, the newly redesigned SUV goes up against the BMW X5, Mercedes ML320 & the Volkswagen Touareg. Biggest point of interest? The RX had the quickest 0-60 @ 6.4s, 0.3s faster than the X5 and more than 1.4s faster than the Touareg.

Here’s some other key points regarding the RX:

That’s just a taste of the Lexus’s slickly integrated technology. Everywhere you look, the RX 450h is awash in electronic goodies, from the crisp, organic LED display to headlamps that automatically douse their high beams for oncoming traffic to a game-changing telematics controller called Remote Touch. Like a cross between a touch screen and trackball, it allows the user to actually feel the pointer contact icons and virtual buttons. It’s spooky at first, but quick to win converts. “Remote touch does just as its name implies, imparting a rewarding sense of feel and touch as you swirl the ‘mouse’ over the screen. Locks neatly into the various menu buttons, and generally works intuitively,” says St. Antoine. Williams is equally impressed, “If every vehicle gets something like this in 10 years I won’t be surprised.”

If it’s spending weekdays in stop-and-go traffic and weekends roaming the urban jungle, then the value-laden Lexus may be for you. “Sure, it can’t compete in towing, off-road abilities, and cruise range, but it does everything else pretty well. Plenty fun, responsive, and capable for the soccer moms and baseball dads running around the suburbs,” says Kiino. St. Antoine agrees, “Overall, there’s a lot of tech for the money built into this rig, but it’s almost completely lacking in “SUV” feel.”

In the end, the RX 450h comes up second behind the Touareg, mostly because of the RX’s lack of offroad & towing capacity, but I’d say this is a very positive showing for the new model. Praise was especially strong for the Remote Touch system, which bodes well for the touchscreen replacement.

On top of everything, these videos summarizing the review are great watching:

(Thanks Stan!)

TPP @ The Canadian International Auto Show

Canadian International Auto Show

Just wanted to post a quick update on some things that will be happening this week, namely the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. I’ll be attending the event during the Media Days, and will be able to spend some quality time with the new Lexus models.

The HS 250h will be presented at Lexus’ press conference on Wednesday, and I’m sure the RX 350/450h will be on the show floor. I’d also like to get a good look at the IS convertible, and I have my fingers crossed the LF-A Roadster will make an appearance.

Without a doubt, I’m really looking forward to the experience, and will certainly be weighing in with my impressions of the new models. Also, if anyone has specific questions, or would like a certain photo taken, please let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate your request.

(I will be updating TPP’s new Twitter account while at the show, so be sure to subscribe and follow along!)

Lexus Announces Pricing on 2010 RX 350

2010 Lexus RX 350

Lexus USA has announced the pricing for the 2010 RX 350, and it’s only good news for anyone that’s been waiting for this final detail.

The 2010 RX 350 FWD will start at $36,800, $900 lower than the outgoing generation. The AWD version will begin at $38,200 — also $900 less than the 2009 model.

I’m surprised by the price drop. It could be assumed that the reduction is due to the economy, but it could also be a reflection of streamlining the manufacturing process.

[Source: Lexus]

Lexus Remote Touch Controller Details

Lexus Remote Touch Controller

Japanese tech website TechOn has published an article about the new Remote Touch system that’s set to debut with the 2010 RX this month:

The “Remote Touch,” an HMI (human machine interface) for the car navigation system equipped in the “Lexus RX” released by Toyota Motor Corp, was developed by Denso Corp.

…the haptic technology was adopted so that the driver can feel like the pointer is gravitating toward the switch. The operating knob is equipped with two motors and an encoder, and the motors are controlled so that the operating knob will always be in a neutral position after the car navigation is started.

Toyota has not made any announcement in respect to the adoption of the Remote Touch for Toyota products other than the Lexus brand vehicles. It is expected to be more expensive than the haptic dials employed by German manufacturers including BMW AG and Daimler AG. Therefore, its adoption, if any, will probably be limited to upper grade models.

It’s interesting that the article reports the controller automatically centers itself — this would be an improvement over the Remote Touch displays shown at recent car shows, which lacked this functionality. This seems like an important feature, and we’ll have to wait until the RX debuts to get the final word.

Another point this article makes is that the Remote Touch may not appear in all Lexus models, but I highly doubt that will be the case. It stands to reason that every vehicle will have the option for the Remote Touch controller, provided the model can accommodate it.

Lexus HS 250h Display @ TED

TED, the annual conference where “the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers…are challenged to give the talk of their lives” is happening this week in Long Beach, California, and Lexus has put up a display featuring an HS 250h — here’s a photo taken by Jon Wiley (It’s hard to see the image clearly here, but be sure to click through to see it full-size):

Lexus HS 250h @ TED

Beautifully done, the display illustrates how Lexus worked a number of eco-friendly aspects into the vehicle beyond its hybrid engine. (For instance, the seat cushions are produced from castor seeds rather than rubber.)