Lexus RX 450h Review

Lexus RX 450h Review

Like its successful RX 400h predecessor, the Lexus RX 450h hybrid crossover SUV allows the hedonist with an environmental conscience to have it both ways. It has enough power to press passengers back into their plush seats, yet it also flies the green flag at full mast thanks to impressive fuel mileage.

Like other Toyota/Lexus dual-mode hybrid products, the 450h can run on battery power alone during light acceleration, and the V6 gas engine shuts off at low speeds when not required. This results in truly excellent fuel economy for a midsize luxury SUV, and when added to the rest of the RX's appealing attributes, there is certainly a lot to like. However, the RX hybrid also carries a premium price that will be hard to recoup with fuel savings alone, so count this as more of a sound eco choice rather than a financial one.

Current Lexus RX 450h
The Lexus RX 450h's 3.5-liter gas V6 engine and battery-pack-driven electric motors/generators yield an impressive total output of 295 hp. All that thrust runs through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT), and despite its extra pounds, the hybrid RX is still plenty quick. Fuel economy estimates stand at 30 mpg combined with standard front-wheel drive, or 29 mpg combined with optional all-wheel drive.

Standard luxury features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Siri-based control system for iPhone users and a nine-speaker sound system with an iPod/USB interface. A Sport driving mode is also standard, which changes steering effort, throttle response and transmission shifts for a livelier drive. Options (many grouped in packages) include a blind-spot warning system, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a navigation system, a rear DVD entertainment system and a rearview camera.

The cabin boasts real wood accents as well as a sliding and reclining split rear seat to optimize passenger comfort. With the second row in use, cargo capacity is 40 cubic feet -- double that with the seat folded down. No third-row seat is available.

In reviews, we've found the Lexus RX 450h to be everything you'd expect from a Lexus. It's quiet and comfortable but rather uninspiring to drive. The powertrain is enthusiastic, though, particularly given its low emissions and stellar fuel economy. Overall, the RX 450h's relaxed demeanor and convenient wagon-style body makes it an excellent choice for those in search of a soothing, luxurious and environmentally friendly crossover SUV.

Used Lexus RX 450h Models
The RX 450h debuted for the 2010 model year. There have been only minimal changes since, the most notable ones being a different grille, the Sport drive mode and a few more standard features added for the 2013 model year. The Siri Eyes Free iPhone control became available the year after.