Lexus RX450h Review
The RX is the flagship model from Lexus and we take a ride of the full hybrid RX450h.
- Comfortable, smooth ride
- Clear, large centre display screen
- Striking exterior design
- A struggle to get near official fuel consumption figures
Love them or loathe them but there’s no denying that Lexus are going from strength to strength, their lineup has expanded, sales are up and Hollywood actor Jude Law and singer Will.i.am have recently fronted their advertising campaigns. With Law as the face of their luxury SUV the RX, what is their fourth generation like?
On the Road
The RX 450h is a full hybrid that uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors which deliver power to all four wheels. With a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 124mph it’s certainly no slouch for a hybrid SUV. The CVT automatic gearbox is seamless and when driving at low speeds around town in EV mode the drive is quiet, any hard acceleration and the petrol engine will noticeably take over. With three drive modes: normal, eco and sport then you can choose how you want to drive the car.
For those not keen on a hybrid Lexus offer only one other engine on the RX, the 200t. This turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 238hp, has a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds and is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The Lexus RX does have a very good suspension, it seems to cope well with rough roads and makes the ride so forgiving and comfortable. It’s important in a car to get to the end of a long journey and feel relaxed and thanks to Lexus engineers this is achievable in the RX.
It handles as well as it can for an SUV, there is some body roll and the steering can feel quite light, it would benefit from greater feedback at times so you can really feel at one with the RX and push it a bit harder into those corners.
Hybrids are great when you’re setting off or in EV mode as they’re pretty much silent, but once the petrol engine kicks in that’s where they can start to sound a bit whiny and at high revs can be quite obtrusive.
Wind and road noise though is kept to a miniumum in the well-insulated cabin and our only real gripe is with the regenerative braking on the 450h - it just feels at times that you really have to stamp on the brakes to get the car to slow down.
In the car
Cocooned in the driving seat, which is electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated, is a very comfortable experience. With a high seating position visibility is really good and the full leather interior makes the RX so premium in Luxury specification.
What your eye does notice as soon as you get in is the huge 12.-3-inch display screen which dominates the centre of the car. Navigation, media, car information and connectivity can be viewed on it and operated by their Remote Touch system, which works like a mouse and brings up a cursor on the screen. It’s not the easiest of things to use, especially if you’re right-handed and a touchscreen would have been so much easier.
The younger sibling NX seemed to have a console overloaded with buttons and dials but luckily the Japanese designers have kept it a lot simpler in the RX and the soft-touch, steering wheel has also taken inspiration from their LFA supercar.
The Lexus RX is considerably spacious even for five passengers, an optional panoramic roof brings in plenty of light although headroom is a bit limited. On our test when putting a baby in a car seat you have to lift them high into the tall car, and getting them into the cabin and the seat means you’re more often than not hitting their head on the roof. Not that they seemed to notice...
Boot space is 453-litres, a lot smaller than its rival the BMW X5 but you can still get plenty in and the rear seats can be folded down at the flick of a switch from the boot, which is easier than struggling around with them and the RX also benefits from a powered tailgate.
The Lexus RX 450h is priced from £46,995, our test car had options like the panoramic roof costing £1,295 and Sonic White paint adding a further £645 and the Luxury trim we had does seem the best to go for as extras include the enormous display screen, a wireless smartphone charger, 20-inch alloys and LED headlights.
It comes with a 3-year/60,000 mile warranty, the hybrid parts have a 5-year/60,000 mile warranty and there’s also three year’s roadside assistance.
Fuel economy figures with the hybrid aren’t as high as you expect, we only managed around the mid-thirty mpg mark which was disappointing, but emitting just 127g/km of CO2 means VED will cost just £100 per year.
The Lexus RX is very well built, materials are of a high quality and finished to a high standard, on certain trim specifications laser cut wood is on the centre console and door trim adding to the premium luxury of the SUV model.
Lexus excel at reliability and customer satisfaction, they have been at the top end of surveys and more recently were just behind Tesla in the Auto Express Driver Power list of the most reliable manufacturers.
With plenty of airbags, traction control, hill-start assist, a Lexus safety system coming as standard, which features adaptive cruise control, lane departure and traffic sign recognition, Lexus haven’t scrimped when it comes to safety which is an area they’re always developing and it’s no surprise that the Lexus RX scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP tests.