BEFORE I can begin to tell you about life with our new long-termer, there’s an elephant in the room I must first acknowledge: I’m not a huge fan of the Lexus RX series.

There, I’ve said it, and I feel better already. In particular, what I’m not a fan of is the way the Lexus RX steers, rides and handles.

I discovered this during the Wheels COTY judging process at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground late last year. Purpose-built to highlight all manner of automotive faults and foibles, Lang Lang is a bitch of a place that throws up notoriously demanding driving conditions.

That’s the point, obviously.

In the dynamics-focused crucible that is Stage One of Wheels COTY, the RX450h and its more conventional V6-powered brother the RX350 fell short of the lofty standards our judges look for in a serious contender.

As a result, the RXs never made it to the smoother, more open roads and governed speeds that characterise COTY Stage Two.

Which is a shame, because in less challenging driving conditions, the impeccable build quality, clever drivetrains and overall refinement that characterise these luxury SUVs would have shone through.

There’s little in the Bulmer family commute that comes even remotely close to the tyre-torturing high-speed bends and stomach turning whoop-de-doos that are part of the COTY test regimen at Lang Lang.

Which is why, when the chap from Lexus rang to offer a long-term evaluation of the RX450h, I figured I’d give it a go.

That the vehicle on offer happens to be one of only two hybrid-powered SUVs on the Australian market, and I’ve never lived with a hybrid for any more than a few days at a time, should add an interesting additional dimension to the standard questions of how our family will interact with this mid-sized SUV.