Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Road to the Future, Save the Odd Bump

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Road to the Future, Save the Odd Bump

Article excerpt

Byline: By Robin Roberts

Sometimes, the little things in life cause us more concern than the bigger things, as I discovered with the Lexus GS 450h SE-L.

Here is a thoroughly modern, cutting-edge technology car which gives away nothing to more conventional rivals, but which easily sets benchmarks for the future.

Distinctively styled, luxuriously equipped, with a big 3.5-litre engine which runs in conjunction with an electric motor to produce plenty of power with exceptional economy in this class, it is one of the lowest polluting vehicles on the market today.

If more local authorities move towards town and city tolls based on exhaust emissions, this is going to be the future technology and we have no need to be worried or concerned about compromises to our lifestyles.

Unless, of course, you go over a bump, as I discovered during my test.

One of the sophisticated safety systems built into the Lexus GS 450h is a low tyre pressure warning light ( great to know when you are about to get a flat, possibly saving more serious damage or even a more critical blow-out.

But, what if the warning just lights up, goes out and lights up again?

Confusingly, it happened over two days and, despite visual checks each time to the tyres, there was no loss of pressure and no deflation to any extent. I was subsequently told that this warning light sometimes goes on when the tyre hits a pothole or something on the road and, because of that, there is a switch conveniently placed to reset it.

The tyre and my faith in technology had taken a knock. At least I knew the circuit worked, if not for the intended purpose.

I also appreciated how well the hybrid engine technology worked, seamlessly switching between electric and petrol power and running with an eerily silent system on electric power only when moving slowly in traffic.

The engines, plural, deliver strong acceleration and composed cruising ability with very good performance and a high top speed. …

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