St Albans racing driver Vicky Lloyd tests the Lexus RH400h SE-L
PUBLISHED: 12:40 11 August 2010 | UPDATED: 15:06 20 February 2013
St Albans racing driver Vicky Lloyd is surprised to find the Lexus RH400h SE-L very close to her heart
Remind us who you are and what you've done since our last interview
I am foremost a racing driver, although I am currently doing promotional work with racing teams. I used to drive in the Formula Woman Championship and I plan to work with top Formula Ford single-seater team Jamun Racing, who won the Championship three years running. In 2006 I came second in the FW Championship and last year I raced their Bio Ethanol-fuelled Caterham at various events throughout the UK. I'm testing various cars and trying to get a budget together for another season's racing.
Presumably, you enjoy driving?
I love driving. Even when I was tiny I wanted to race and I was about 14 when some friends let me loose in their car in a car park. Racing is in our family - my father and uncle were both racing drivers too - and I did an engineering course thinking this would get me into racing. I stuck at for a year and absolutely hated it, but I did learn a lot about cars and how they work.
What cars do you like and dislike?
I haven't had many cars, but I do love classic racing cars although I hate seeing them crash. My first car was a horrible old blue Ford Escort, which I got rid of almost immediately. I now have a Renault Clio which basically does was it's meant to, getting me to and from work. I'm saving up for a new MINI but I'd love a TVR Tuscan, which is a real driver's car. My favourite was a Honda Type-R that I had for a while and I love driving my boyfriend Philip's Mercedes-Benz C-Class coup, which comes with his job.
Do you have any bad habits behind the wheel?
I don't advocate breaking speed limits but I see red when people dither and get in the way. If I were Minister of Transport I would get rid of speed cameras from everywhere except outside schools and in residential neighbourhoods. I would make the driving test harder and I would also make people take their cars onto a test track so they can find out the limitations of themselves and their cars.
How would a Lexus suit your lifestyle?
It's a 'yummy mummy' car and although I don't have any children this would be handy to carry my racing kit, helmets and equipment to race meetings. Plus, being a petrol-electric hybrid it's so amazingly quiet it would be a joy to cruise along motorways in.
How does the Lexus drive?
The fuel economy is brilliant and the Lexus has shown me that it needn't be boring to be economical and 'green'. The acceleration's good from junctions and the top speed's pretty decent too. I'm not a big fan of automatic transmission, as I prefer moving my own gears, but this must be one of the best I've driven. The engine's got a lot of punch and the brakes are firm and progressive.
So, how do you rate the Lexus?
I think this Lexus looks classy and it's sleek and sporty, more like an Estate car than an off-roader. The interior's smart and has a good feel to it, the Sat Nav's user friendly and I like the fact that it's well equipped with climate control, cruise control and a very good in-car entertainment system. It's slightly bizarre having a battery-monitoring gauge in place of a rev counter but otherwise it's just like a normal car to drive. And, yes, I'd swap this car for mine.
Vicky Lloyd was talking to motoring editor Adrian Foster. Contact Adrian at email@example.com. Our thanks to Lexus Hatfield for the loan of the test vehicle. For information visit www.lexus.co.uk/hatfield
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR Lexus RX 400h SE-L
PRICE AS TESTED 42,650 on the road
INSURANCE GROUP 17 [est.]
CO2 EMISSIONS Maximum 192 g/km
PERFORMANCE Max Speed 124 mph; 0-62 mph 7.6 secs.
FUEL CONSUMPTION 34.9 mpg (Combined)
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES Anti-lock brakes; Brake Assist System; Electronic Brakeforce Distribution; Vehicle Stability Control; Traction Control; Driver & front passenger 2-stage air bags; Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats; Double door locks, Front & rear seat belt pre-tensioners; ISOFIX attachments for rear seats etc.
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE? Length: 4760; Width: 1845; Height: 1720 (mm)
HOW VICKY RATED THIS CAR I would have one. 8 out of 10