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This week on Chasing Cars: Lexus LX unveiled, cut-price RAV4 hybrid inbound and Sorento PHEV reviewed


Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news and reviews, where we find all the bits that matter and condense them down into one easy read.

As lockdown slowly lifts in New South Wales I, like many, have managed to actually save some bucks in my time behind bars and I’m looking at the incoming line-up of cars like a dog presented with two dinner bowls.

Being a wagon-lover all my life the Subaru WRX Sportswagen certainly caught my eye this week, as did the new Lexus LX – though if I asked for a loan on one of those my bank manager would no doubt think I was having a laugh. 

Subaru WRX Sportswagon 2022 rear 3/4
The Subaru WRX Sportswagon is coming to Australia with a WRX engine and chassis

Thankfully we had a whole heap of info on other interesting cars to ponder over this week, from the updated Ford Focus ST with a huge 13.2-inch touchscreen to the plain but brutally effective workhorse that is the Hyundai Staria Load.

We also caught up with some bigwigs at Kia to discuss the brilliant but often frustrating ‘sleeping giant’ that is plug-in hybrids – as a whole heap get ready to touch down in Australia over next year.

Lexus LX 2022 side profile street
Based on the mighty Land Cruiser, the Lexus LX puts a luxury spin on Toyota’s flagship

Lexus LX unveiled

Those who fancy a Land Cruiser 300 Series to cross the Sahara Desert but also want to do so while stretching out across a whole metre of legroom and sipping fine wine will finally have an option in the new Lexus LX four-wheel drive.

My favourite thing about the LX is it has never been any less capable than the Land Cruiser off road (though some may debate this) but it has certainly been a lot more comfortable – and the third generation appears to be no different.

Gone is the V8 under the bonnet and in its place is a choice of two twin-turbo V6 engines, with a 3.5-litre petrol making 305kW of power and 650Nm and a 3.3-litre diesel making 227kW/700Nm. The two options are badged the LX 600 and LX 500d respectively.

Lexus LX 2022 front end desert
That grille will no doubt prove divisive though the F Sport grade opts for a more subtle black mesh covering

Lexus will offer a four, five and seven-seat option for the first time with the four-seater option available in the new LX VIP grade which truly lives up to its name.

The lumbering Japanese giant will also be available with a new LX F Sport grade which ditches some chrome in the front for a mesh grille and adds some more on-road friendly suspension. 

No details have been confirmed for Australia just yet but expect it here at some point in 2022.

Haval H6 Hybrid 2022 front
The Haval H6 Hybrid is on the way and is poised to take on the RAV4 Hybrid

Haval H6 Hybrid release date set

This one might have flown under the radar this week but trust me it’s very important if you like saving money.

The Haval H6 Hybrid will arrive in Australia in ‘early 2022’, whatever that means. And while we don’t have a price yet you can bet it will be a fair bit cheaper than the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – and could even lure some buyers who are sick of those absurd wait times.

Incredibly, the H6 Hybrid is also significantly more powerful than the RAV4 Hybrid. Using a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine coupled with two electric motors to produce 179kW/530Nm.

It’s almost as good on fuel as the RAV4 as well, with a claimed consumption of 5.2L/100km when using regular unleaded fuel. Watch this space, this one is going to be big.

Kia Sorento PHEV 2022 rear driving outback
The Kia Sorento PHEV offers 60km of electric range with a punchy turbo engine for when it runs out

Kia Sorento hybrid extravaganza 

The Kia Sorento line-up has been joined by a new plug-in hybrid variant this week and while it looks good, short supply has restricted it to the top-spec Highlander grade only.

Kia says this is because that’s what buyers want most – fair enough – but the $14k jump from the diesel AWD Highlander to the $81,990 driveaway price of the PHEV is a bit steep for many buyers.

We’ve written and filmed a full review and within our testing, we found the Sorento PHEV can travel 60km on just electric power, which means most Aussies could quite easily complete their daily commute without using any petrol at all. 

The problem is you’re going to need to plug it in every night to get the benefits and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, but you still want to cut your fuel consumption, fear not for the self-charging Sorento Hybrid will be here before Christmas.

Lexus RX 300 2022 Onyx Black front end
How much luxury does the Lexus RX offer in base model form? Quite a lot actually

All the cars and SUVs we reviewed this week:

Over on the Chasing Cars YouTube channel it was business as usual as we honed in on some more base models to find out if you really need to spend top-dollar to get a decent car.

Kicking off the week we had a look at the five-seat Lexus RX 300 which is the entry point to the range and while there are some popular goodies luxuries like heated seats missing from the spec sheet we were quite impressed.

Next up was the base model Kia Sorento S in FWD V6 petrol guise which deputy editor Nathan Ponchard absolutely loved and even said he’d buy one himself.

At the other end of the Soteno range is the plug-in hybrid which is only available in the top-spec Highlander grade at the moment. It’s almost twice the price of the base model, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a good car – but only for the right buyer.

Ford Focus ST 2022 rear 3/4
The updated Ford Focus ST keeps the manual and adds a 13.2-inch touchscreen

Other car and SUV news we covered this week:

  • Toyota has unveiled a Hilux GR Sport for the Japanese and Thailand markets, which is the first time a GR badge has been slapped on the iconic ute and it looks pretty damn tough if you ask me.
  • The Lexus NX midsize SUV is coming to Australia with a range of engine options including a turbo petrol AWD, a hybrid and most likely a plug-in hybrid as well! All models are pretty plush inside and underneath it’s essentially a very nice Toyota RAV4 – which is no bad thing in our eyes.
  • Another day, another Tesla delay. This week it was confirmed that the Cybertruck had been pushed back yet again, with its production schedule delayed from 2022 to 2023. But we’re not holding our breath.