Techies 2009 - Best Green Development (Manufacturer): Lexus
25 August 2009
Highly Commended: Volkswagen - Polo Bluemotion
Combining a 3.5-litre petrol engine with two electric motors that, unlike rival hybrids, can run the car in isolation at up to 25mph, Hybrid Drive gives the Lexus RX450h big 4x4 unrivalled figures in its sector in terms of emissions and economy, with it being by far the only large off-roader to get below the new capital allowance 161g/km threshold. In fact, the RX's 148g/km compares with 217g/km for its nearest rival, the BMW X5, giving the Lexus a monumental 69g/km advantage, while the Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML rivals are at 239 and 246g/km respectively.
The consumption figures are equally impressive. The RX450h claims 44.8mpg, more than 10mpg better than its next-best rival, again BMW's X5. It's a remarkable achievement to make a large vehicle so eco- and tax-friendly. In fact, there isn't an executive saloon or estate that can match it for power against emissions.
This is the sort of technological breakthrough that wins granitekitchen Techies, because it's genuinely saving fleets and drivers large amounts of cash. Despite giving BMW's X5 a £5000 head start on P11D price, the Lexus works out at a better cost-per-mile for the company because it's so much less to run. The driver's BIK saving for the RX, in the 17% band against 33% for the X5 and 35% for all other rivals, will amount to around £3000 per year. As our verdict on the car read in May, the RX450h "sits alone as an off-roader truly worthy of consideration by fleets".
But the Lexus was run close by the VW Polo Bluemotion, which claims a Highly Commended. It offers economy of 85mpg and emissions of 87g/km, but suffered from the lack of tax advantages, as there are very few financial incentives in choosing a Bluemotion Polo over its rivals, whereas the benefits of the RX are obvious in its sector. But that doesn't mean VW shouldn't be heartily praised for what it has achieved with its latest supermini.