What drives my love affair?
A perfect pair?: The Lexus RX450h and the author

What drives my love affair?

MISS TECH - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - May 8, 2021 - 12:00am

Yes, a love affair. I have been in love and in this affair for over 50 years now and have remained loyal (because the feeling is mutual) to my love affair with driving.

So, when I was given the chance to take the Lexus RX450h out for a date recently, and after much thought, because of the lockdown we are in, I couldn’t say no.

Destination: Calatagan, Batangas, to visit my architect brother who has a project there.

As I drove, many thoughts ran through my mind; that’s what happens when you drive alone at 5 a.m. from the NCR+ bubble.

I was taken back to the time when my late mother was still with me (she passed over two years ago) and test drives were the only trips I would readily accept because it meant that I would only be a call away should she need me at a moment’s notice. Or you could blame it on Mother’s Day tomorrow — so my thoughts were on her — that scorching Saturday morning drive.

The Lexus is known for its pioneer luxury SUVs and this one, the RX 450h, is definitely a good reason why the RX SUVs continue to evolve and lead. I was amazed at how quiet the SUV is as I started the engine; matter of fact I had to restart the engine (yes, turn it off and on again) because I thought it had not started — that’s how quiet it was.

Lexus has always been known to have a fresh take on its SUVs, so these vehicles come with sophisticated design, outstanding performance, and advanced technologies with the super-quiet engine. With these takes on their SUVs, Lexus continues to drive the modern lifestyle.

Of course, I am always taken aback at the beauty of the vehicle, with its “Progressive Sophistication” design concept that fuses elegance and aggression with the smooth curves of the exterior, while optimizing its spacious cabin and luggage space — another thing the RX is known for.

I was really excited to drive on the roads ahead, hoping for a great sporty performance qualities like body rigidity, responsiveness to any drive situation and intuitive handling and control qualities that a good vehicle needs for everyday driving.  These qualities allow one to savor the drive on the open road.

Love in the details: A 12.3 inch auto touch screen and the analogue clock

Drive on

I took time to look at the road map to Calatagan on Waze and the length of the drive before I left The Fort, BGC. It would be about two and a half hours of pure driving pleasure, if all things went as planned.

But, as is my wont, I gave the RX450h one more look before I started my journey. I smiled as I looked at the beauty of this SUV with its lovely bumper and headlights, and I had read that the body and suspension were tweaked for improved handling and ride comfort.

Finally, I started my drive and my eyes were drawn to the dashboard and touchscreen panel.  Tech-wise, the RX finally gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a touch screen (12.3 inch), and over-the-air software update capability.  Great.  The thing is, I like to drive in silence, so there was no music playing as I drove on.

I loved the power of the 3.5 liter v6 (a pair of two electric motors) 165-horsepower one that helps the gasoline engine, and another 67-horsepower one that’s fitted to the rear axle to give you all-wheel drive.

Driving on the SLEX early that morning I saw a bit of traffic starting to build up because of the roadwork being done. Although the summer sun was starting to heat up, I kept my cool as I continued to drive this luxury SUV.

As I drove my eyes continued to take in the beauty of the drive.  I must say that the Lexus has significantly loosened up, with more angular sheet metal and by adding its signature gaping “spindle” grille across its model line. Inside, the Lexus’ quiet and ultra-comfortable interior was a joy.

Family matters: My architect brother Peter Moran with Boris the Schnauzer

We have arrived

After about two hours I arrived at the end of the NCR+ bubble that is at the end of Tagaytay. There was another slight buildup as the military manning the checkpoints were thorough in their jobs of asking every motorist to show cause for travel. I had prepared in advance and was ready with the permits needed to get through.

I made it to where my brother was staying in a cool house in Calatagan about 10 minutes away from his project.

We sat down for breakfast, as it was almost 8 a.m. when I got there.

He looked at my ride and liked the SUV, too.

I told him that if he wanted to get a luxury hybrid SUV, the Lexus RX450h is where he could put his money. I shared that this SUV has ruled the midsize-SUV roost for over 20 years because it hits the sweet spot for most people looking for a mix of luxury, style, and performance. And, the Lexus RX 450h adds great fuel economy, better tech, and an improved ride.

We laughed and he said that perhaps when life gets back to normal, he would consider it.

We headed back to the breakfast he had prepared and breathed in the fresh air of Calatagan as we kept a safe social distance.

The Lexus RX 450h hybrid sweetened the ride for me with great fuel economy. There was much to smile about, even if it was a scorching day: the drive was cool and I have some photos to remember the day by.

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