2021 Lexus RX 450h review: Comfortable if not classy

The expressively styled Lexus RX is easy and coddling. Craig Cole/Roadshow The 2021 Lexus RX 450h F Sport hybrid crossover is sinuous, frugal and impressively quiet — particularly what I want in a luxurious vehicle. There is, on the other hand, a single element of this Lexus that’s unforgivable, a […]

2021 Lexus RX 450h

The expressively styled Lexus RX is easy and coddling.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Lexus RX 450h F Sport hybrid crossover is sinuous, frugal and impressively quiet — particularly what I want in a luxurious vehicle. There is, on the other hand, a single element of this Lexus that’s unforgivable, a mortal sin that drags down an if not enjoyable vehicle: the infotainment procedure. 


  • Stellar Mark Levinson seem procedure
  • Roomy and snug backseat
  • Exemplary refinement

Really don’t Like

  • Loathsome infotainment procedure
  • As well-aggressive exterior styling
  • Meh genuine-entire world gas economy

Hybrid variations of the RX come normal with all-wheel generate, but this illustration is also equipped with the F Sport bundle, which consists of dress-up merchandise like a special grille, aluminum pedal handles, twenty-inch wheels and even efficiency dampers. For more sportiness, a $970 dealing with bundle is also made available, bringing an adaptive suspension procedure, retuned power steering and much more goodies to the table. Past individuals F Sport updates, my tester capabilities the Black Line Distinctive Edition bundle. The very good information is this upgrade expenses just $685 and consists of unique body-side graphics, a black grille surround and a Halliburton Edge light-weight two-piece luggage established. The poor information is the Black Line Distinctive Edition bundle is minimal to just 750 fuel-run RXs and 250 hybrid models.

The Lexus RX’s styling is unquestionably aggressive, with its comically significant grille, angular headlamps and chiseled surfacing, but its inside is a great deal much more restrained and enjoyable. The cabin’s excellent is stellar and its elements are frequently pretty very good. The headliner and roof pillars are wrapped in a flannel-like fabric, smooth plastics are employed liberally throughout and practically all the switches and knobs truly feel slickly lubricated. Positive, you may find a smattering of Toyota-sourced buttons here and there things you get in, say, a Camry, but these carryover controls are perfectly hidden and rarely objectionable.

Just guiding this Lexus’ unusually deep dashboard, the front bucket chairs are all-working day snug and beautiful, rendered in black and white with contrasting blue stitching, a combo that’s also section of the Black Line Distinctive Edition bundle. Storage room up front is very good, consisting of a decently sized bin underneath the heart armrest, a couple other tiny cubbies on the console and generously proportioned front door pockets that pop outward when you pull on them. Shifting rearward, the RX’s backseat is practically sprawl-out roomy, with a good deal of legroom and a respectable quantity of noggin room. Comfy cushions present good guidance, with the lessen a single getting a nice distance higher than the flooring for a chair-like seating posture. Offering quick accessibility, this Lexus’ rear doorways open up nice and vast.

But now for some poor information. If there is certainly a even worse infotainment procedure than what is actually made available in this Lexus, I am not informed of it. With a bewildering user interface as perfectly as a clunky and hard-to-use manage pad on the console, this multimedia procedure is fifty percent laptop computer, fifty percent reduced-close Android pill and all varieties of awful. Not only is the menu construction baffling, the observe pad you use to navigate through it is kludgy, generating even very simple duties a distracting chore. Rubbing salt in the wound, this RX 450h is also equipped with the best-shelf 12.three-inch monitor (an eight-incher is normal), which is bundled in a $three,365 solutions bundle, so you’re shelling out thousands much more for an terrible knowledge. At least that outlay also gets you embedded navigation and a excellent Mark Levinson seem procedure that helps make even highly compressed MP3s and muddy satellite radio come alive. Whilst a bit of a achieve, the RX’s infotainment monitor is touch-enabled, so you can skip the trackpad, but only if your arms are lanky adequate. Fortunately, this procedure also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (as perfectly as Amazon Alexa), so you never have to use the infotainment procedure any longer than it normally takes to plug your cell phone in. The vehicle’s six USB ports make certain everyone’s cellular products are fully juiced a wireless charging pad is also obtainable.

2021 Lexus RX 450h

The RX’s inside is extremely perfectly crafted and refined, however its infotainment tech leaves a great deal to be ideal.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Lexus RX was updated in 2020, getting a stiffened construction and revised suspension for greater dealing with. This yr, the vehicle gains some new technology, which includes blind-place checking and rear cross-traffic notify, each of which are now normal throughout the range. Auto-dimming, power-folding mirrors are bundled at no more cost, too, as is Lexus Basic safety Procedure Moreover 2., a suite of driver aids that consists of daytime cyclist detection, reduced-mild pedestrian detection, highway indicator recognition and lane-keeping support. Fortunately, I have not experienced an opportunity to test the pedestrian-detecting techniques, but the lane-keeping support is gentle however really effective.

Underway, the RX 450h is a single easy operator. Whether you’re traversing frost-heaved highways, tiptoeing along a cratered dust highway or just cruising around your subdivision, this Lexus’ trip is usually sinuous. Even rolling on twenty-inch wheels, tiny enlargement joints scarcely sign up and bigger impacts are easily deflected, all with no harshness or gritty vibration percolating through to the passenger compartment. Despite its easy trip, the RX 450h’s body is decently managed. Positive, it could truly feel a bit tighter in corners and it may be nice if the steering were a lot quicker and heftier, but the full chassis feels so perfectly well balanced that these alterations usually are not vital, furthermore they may ruin the fluffy trip, which would be a disgrace.

2021 Lexus RX 450h

Refined, punchy and economical, there is certainly minimal to complain about with regards to the RX 450h’s powertrain. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Matching its more than-the-highway refinement, the RX’s cabin remains very silent, quieter than naptime in a nursing property, with virtually no wind, tire or motor sounds getting read. The RX 450h’s hybrid powertrain is crafted around a three.5-liter V6, a single augmented by two electric powered motor-turbines up front that type a continuously variable transmission, and a different motor at the rear, which delivers all-wheel generate. Whispering while it functions, this arrangement delivers a net 308 horsepower, however a torque figure is not outlined mainly because the math with hybrids is strange. On its possess, on the other hand, the V6 motor whips up 247 pound-feet of twist. The RX 450h’s quick dealing with and all-wheel generate increase immensely to my self esteem a single working day as the temperature goes from drab to harmful, with a winter storm dumping sleet on the roadways.

Stand on the accelerator and this Lexus scoots. Performance, while not awe-inspiring, is continue to pretty very good, the motor sounding like it is really working considerably off in the distance instead than a couple inches ahead of your toes. The hybrid elements of this drivetrain are equally polished, scarcely drawing any awareness to themselves. The brake pedal is also pleasant, with a seamless changeover concerning regenerative and friction braking. For included versatility, the RX 450h offers an EV method, which will allow you to operate it only on electrons. The onboard battery pack has adequate juice for you to sneak down a cul-du-sac or into the garage devoid of jogging the motor, but as before long as you go too quick or prod the throttle too aggressively the motor fires up. Don’t forget, this is not a plug-in hybrid, so electric powered-only range is not the principal concentrate.

Reducing gas use, on the other hand, is a single of this Lexus’ major goals. Anticipate 31 miles per gallon in the metropolis and 28 mpg on highway drives. In mixed use, the RX 450h should really return thirty mpg, on the other hand, in the genuine entire world I only average around 25.1, a disappointing score. It’s generally a breeze to satisfy or even exceed advertised gas-economy scores in Toyota hybrids, which helps make this efficiency (or absence thereof) a bit of a surprise.

2021 Lexus RX 450h

The Lexus RX is a little something of a mixed bag.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

With its upscale inside, refined manners and, of course, regrettable infotainment tech, a foundation 2021 Lexus RX 450h starts at just shy of $forty nine,000, which includes $1,025 in location fees. That is about $2,650 much more than an entry-amount, front-wheel-generate, non-hybrid RX 350. As it sits, this F Sport illustration checks out for $fifty nine,380, a figure goosed by a couple increase-ons like a $two hundred wireless charger, $640 heated and ventilated front seats, $1,365 for parking support and a 360-diploma digicam procedure, furthermore a couple more goodies. Even now, that outlay gets you a family-pleasant vehicle that’s much more docile and refined than the sportier Acura MDX and, thanks to its aggressive styling (which you may perhaps or may perhaps not really like), much more visually intriguing than a Lincoln Nautilus or Mercedes-Benz GLC.

You can find an abundance of luxurious crossovers obtainable now, good illustrations from German, American and Asian automakers. A lot of them offer upscale interiors and masses of extravagant capabilities, but couple are as refined, gas efficient — and in a single certain way — irritating as this primarily likable Lexus.

Rosa G. Rose

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