August 2020 was either going to be the best time to get out of Los Angeles, or the worst. However the wife and I had taken every precaution, staying home, not seeing people, not going places for over five months. Prior to the lockdown we had over 7 trips plans taking us to various parts of this country and the world, so you could say it was a long five months. We know this current situation is going to continue and we thought the best thing to do was plan a road trip to take on parts of the country we hadn’t seen but be as prepared as we can be, we had masks, sanitizer, and our health. Time to head out on to the open road, one might say on a Grand Tour even.
Now the big decision to make was what sort of vehicle to take on a 3000 mile journey covered in ten days that would take us across deserts, up mountains, and through more National Parks than we can remember. My choice was a Lexus Crossover, we needed the space for our luggage and since it was the middle of a heatwave a cooler for drinks was a must to keep us going on the long drives. Economy was something we had put a priority on so a hybrid was selected. Lastly we wanted to be comfortable so which better Lexus to pick than the RX which was the first luxury Crossover and to this day continues to drive the luxury Crossover segment.
Say “Hello” to the RX 450h. With the 2020 update, Lexus has continued to stay on top of the Crossover market with increased refinement, technology, and value. Meanwhile the RX retains all its core virtues that it’s built a legacy with; composed driving dynamics, a quiet and cosseting ride, and unwavering reliability. Don’t forget it is the best value in its segment, posts the best fuel economy numbers of the group, and has been a real pleasure to live with. In the end the fact that this is the best looking RX yet, doesn’t hurt either.
As someone who would consider themselves passionate about driving, I wanted to dislike the RX, for being a soulless Crossover that can be found at most school pickups or shopping centers. However of course anyone with any business sense knows these markets are what drive the sale of tens of thousands of these Crossovers each year and are the mainstay of not only Lexus but most manufacturers. However in short and you will learn why I was wrong, so very wrong.
When it came to planning the trip we had picked out the following route, we were headed East as far as Colorado, which meant a stop in Las Vegas before heading to Utah for our first National Park of many Zion, we then travelled North to Fish Lake via Bryce Canyon to break up the journey to Moab. From Moab we headed into Colorado and Grand Junction, this is where the scenery changed as we headed to Durango through the mountains of Telluride and Silverton as we crossed the Rio Grande. This led us further South to Taos in New Mexico with stops in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and no we didn’t order pizza, a common post Breaking Bad trend on the way to Gallup to sample Blake’s Lotaburger. We are now firmly on the return leg here driving across the Wild West, through Native lands, this time another National Park ticked off, the Petrified Forest but it was the entry into Sedona from Flagstaff that was mind blowing. Lunch was had in Phoenix and we couldn’t pass on Whataburger, but we had a train to catch as we made for the 3:10 to Yuma. Returning back to Los Angeles we stopped off to trek across dunes in Glamis and pretend we were Lawrence of La Brea and spent time gazing at the wonder of the Salton Sea. 3000 miles later picking up a very relieved Kiwi it was certainly a memorable trip. It was as beautiful as we had dreamed about, not one disappointment on a real journey across several incredible states.
However one thing we didn’t expect, the people it was most certainly busy. Under normal circumstances, we knew we were already traveling in peak season. Now, however it is still peak season, but with no international travel, limited air travel, it meant a return to road trips. Everyone else, it seemed, had the same exact idea we did. While the roads were not exactly bumper to bumper it was more the National Parks where we found the challenges. This however we felt played to our advantage with such hot days for the tip, it didn’t get below 100F or 38C for any of our stops it meant hiking wasn’t really an option so instead we made use of our mobile home and that is when we began to fall in love with the RX.
The RX became our little bubble amongst the madness. It was quiet; it was comfortable; it had our snacks and our drinks and our music and audiobooks. It was the one place we felt okay being maskless. Depending on the state and the topography we tootled along in economy mode at between 65-80mph, this also meant our fuel economy fluctuated between 30-40mph, which is nothing to be sniffed at. On the flip of this crawling through the mountains in traffic wasn’t a breeze just set the Cruise Control and Lane tracking and the RX almost drove itself. Other things that made 300 mile daily drives so easy to get through the incredibly comfortable and cooled seats which were getting a good workout under the circumstances.
The engine really is the correct choice for this Crossover, it has a wide, usable powerband and a fabulous gearbox. Let’s not forget the RX is in its element around town or on the highway so cruising across the country and seeing National Parks was a perfect fit. If we needed to overtake, we did, if we needed to follow along in traffic we did, if we wanted to beat the EPA Fuel figures we could and we did. All in all the RX 450h was a great package.
We covered 3,000 miles in ten days. We drove across six incredible states in America, encompassing 10 National Parks, 10 National Forests, more than 6 Reservations and stopped to eat at some delicious local establishments. But during those days and those miles, the wife and I both fell in love with the RX. The RX 450h is a luxury vehicle that you can use everyday. It makes so much more sense than a sedan for two reasons: rear seat room and a big trunk. This is a true 5-seater Grand Tourer that will do 3,000 miles like it’s nothing, that will commute to your office with the reliability of a Toyota, and that will bring you the looks and comfort as a Lexus should when given the chance. The RX 450h gave us the chance to go on a once in a blue moon road trip and in the end all we are doing now is counting down the days to when we can do it again, when hopefully it is a little cooler and we can explore those trails with a few less people. Thank you Lexus for making it all so easy.