The Lexus RX270 is the first Lexus RX with fewer than six cylinders. Coming from a performance perspective, having to make do with two less cylinders is never a good thing, more so if it’s a V6 SUV we’re talking about.
Aside from their substantial mass that needs to be moved, SUVs with smaller engines also tend to be less well equipped than their “larger” counterparts. Going by the natural order of things, a lower price usually means less power and fewer toys to play with.
Lexus, however, has reversed this trend with its new entry-level SUV, the Lexus RX270. It may be just one of two Lexus models with four cylinders (the other being the Lexus CT200h), but the Lexus RX270 doesn’t lose out to the Lexus RX350 in terms of equipment. It still has 10 airbags for passive safety and VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) for active safety.
The cabin looks pretty similar to that of the RX350 (which costs $33,000 more in standard spec) and features factory-fitted leather, minus the wood trim (optional). Both front seats and the steering wheel are still electrically adjusted, while the memory seat function is still present.
The audio system gets a CD instead of DVD changer and the keyless entry and start/stop button are carried over, while a powered tailgate is available as an extra-cost option.
That said, there’s no Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phone, despite the centre console slot which looks like it was shaped specially for iPhone users.
Although we accept that the pricey factory-fitted navigation system remains optional, a reverse camera should have been included given the Lexus RX270’s size.
Push the ignition button and (this must be a first for a non-sporty Lexus) the engine can actually be heard. Without the four-wheel drive system of its more expensive siblings, the Lexus RX270 feels lighter on its feet. Despite the double wishbone suspension in the rear, this SUV does lean when driven aggressively.
To achieve the 11-second 0-100km/h time, piling on the revs and utilising the manual mode is necessary, for the 185 ponies only come into play at higher rpm levels. The engine emits a rorty note on the go, providing some form of aural feedback to the driver’s throttle inputs.
The loss of two cylinders and some equipment has also resulted in the Lexus RX270 gaining a voice and a touch of character (at last). Now, coming from a performance perspective, that makes a pretty good proposition.
Lexus RX270 2.7 (A)
ENGINE 2672cc, 16-valves, inline-4
MAX POWER 185bhp at 5800rpm
MAX TORQUE 252Nm at 4200rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 11 seconds
TOP SPEED 200km/h
PRICE INCL. COE $187,000 (as of December 2010)
Check out the latest Lexus RX
Lexus RX350L takes on the Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90