Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Presidential Luxury from Lexus

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Presidential Luxury from Lexus

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Orme

HERE is a sobering thought. One morning this year we may wake to find the leader of the free world is a man who could possibly think a fence along the white cliffs of Scotland is an acceptable way to keep undesirables out of his golf resort in Aberdeenshire-shire.

And here is another one. The Lexus RX has been with us now for neigh on 20 years.

The US President at the time of its launch was William Jefferson Clinton, Donald Trump had normal hair and Hillary still stayed in the room whenever Bill played Stand By Your Man.

Launched in Japan in 1997 it was first known as the Toyota Harrier but went global as the Lexus RX in 1998, a big hit in the US of A. Of course the Lexus name was not new to us. We had already experienced the gold plated, thirst monster LS and its party trick of allowing a rich man to balance a shiny sovereign on the engine without the coin falling off, so smooth was its tick over.

Here was luxury teamed with technical trickery previously unseen. Delights such as memory seats and a steering wheel which came out to greet you like a happy terrier. It had more buttons than Cadburys and the air of mystery that comes with a new badge. Ask Infiniti.

It was competing with Jaguars offering all the reliability of a candyfloss footbridge and large Fords modelled on the USS Nimitz. The best that could be said of the Range Rover of the time was that it was not a bad place to wait for the AA to turn up.

Latterly we have come to think of the RX in its hybrid clothes, a smart, expensive way to dodge the sting of benefit in kind taxes while offering meaningful 4x4 ability.

Now there is a new way to enjoy luxury in a crowded and competitive SUV sector, the turbo petrol RX 200t.

Yes, quite right, not a diesel but a two-litre petrol engine which, while costing more at the pumps, 30mpg is a reality, brings with it whisper-quiet re-finement. …

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