RC Best Sports Car AE Driver Power Survey

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I was both surprised and pleased to see that the RC300h (the 2019 model of which I have just ordered for delivery in September as a replacement for my present 2016 one) has come top in the Sports Car category of the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power Survey, in which LEXUS did very well all round.   While the RC’s inclusion in the Sports Car category may well raise some eyebrows, the remarkable thing is how the magazine accompanied the news with a simple repetition of its own rather unenthusiastic and very German-oriented previous review.  I can recall few better illustrations of the gulf between owner and journalist opinions.

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It was included because RC is the sports car of the Lexus - the range is RC-F, RC350, RC300, RC300h. That we only get the very slowest and very fastest of the range is an issue of Lexus product placement, not the category itself. I said it before and I think it still stands - if BMW would only sell M4 and 420d in UK I don't think they would go very far, probably still sell more cars then Lexus, but over time they market share would diminish.

I think the key issue to understand - subjective owner satisfaction never going to be same as objective car comparison. Journalists do "objective" car comparison with some assumptions in it - like that car has to handle well (many people don't care), it has to sound nice (same again), be reassuring in fast corners (many people doing even go fast into corners) and so on. Basically, if there are 100 criteria to compare on they use all 100 and then compare with other cars in segment. For average consumer, maybe only 50 criteria applies and even then the weighting of each is very different, the decision to buy I guess mostly falls down to like 3 main criteria in the end, so 97 others will be irrelevant.

So to better explain it - maybe 80% people out of 100% were objectively not happy with RC300h after test drive, or even simply looking at performance stats on the paper (8.6s 0-60 in 2019... no thanks!). The Journalists tries to represents that 100%, so the car scores 2/10 - I think that is right thing to do. From, 20% who were not concerned, maybe 2% of people actually bought the car, because none of the issues are applies for them... they are happy with it. And why not to be - if you don't care about driving (I know I will be challenged here) or speed, or sound of the car - it is reliable, good looking, well built and well equipped car. So from that 2% people who bought it scores 91.44% satisfaction rating. For remaining 98% that satisfaction rating would be far lower - they decided no to buy it!

Actually, if you look into the detail of the scores it is bizarre - just shows how different people perceives cars differently and why this "satisfaction survey" is purely subjective:

  • 31.-lexus-rc.jpg?itok=sgD2mzUsGearbox and engine scored ~95% - how on earth?! I would give it engine 10% best. Better than 2l diesel, but otherwise appalling and gutless.I guess in combination with gearbox that goes up as I would score Lexus eCVT a solid 50%, that makes it 30% for this department.
  • MPG and running costs is 0%? - really, it has high MPG and running costs are certainly low?! here I would give solid 80%, not as good as plug-in hybrids, but on par with diesels and better than petrol. TAX and BIK is quite low as well, again not as low as electric and plug-in hybrids. Finally, there are certainly not much to go wrong with it so other running costs are low.
  • Ride and handling again 99%?! - What?! It is not bad overall, but more like 75%
  • The only 2 I would agree on is reliability and on other hand Infotainment - certainly 100% and 0%?
  • The ones I don't quite understand are interior? It seems to indicate interior is bad, but I cannot really agree it is the case - at least in comparison with other cars in segment, but again this is not comparison, just subjective opinion. So for interior I would give 80% and exterior probably the same 80%.
  • Safety features considering this is 2019 model with LSS+ I think should be 100%
  • How could somebody score RC low on practicality when it is bloody 2 door sports car - what you expect!?

This means I would have scored the car at ~70% before applying some weighting e.g. MPG and running costs are irrelevant for me, yet engine and gearbox is key.

Finally, what is important for the buyer? Is it subjective other people weighted opinion about their own purchase glorified in placebo? Or is it objective, but synthetic comparison from journalist - yes they could be biased, but nowhere near as the owners. I will take journalist review any day over owners one!


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It's absolutely not a car I would class as a Sports car. Comfortable, luxurious, economical, reliable yes, but not a sports car by any stretch and anyone wanting to buy it as such would be disappointed (although it can be fun on sweeping turns with sports mode on - certainly no slouch for it'd size).

Really odd to have it in that category to be honest! 🙂

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