Lexus RX Review 2024

Written by Richard Aucock

8/10
heycar ratingMore luxury than ever before, along with hybrid power"
  • 2022
  • SUV
  • Hybrid/PHEV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Strong performance from all engine options
  • Long list of standard technology
  • Refined and well-made inside

Cons

  • Firm ride, but handling is underwhelming
  • Infotainment system takes time to understand
  • Less practical than other luxury SUVs

Overall verdict on the Lexus RX

“An early trendsetter when it comes to hybrid luxury SUVs, the latest Lexus RX delivers impressive all-round performance. Its electrified powertrains are efficient and its interior is a high-end affair.”

Lexus RX Review 2024: dynamic driving

The idea of a hybrid-powered luxury SUV may be commonplace today, but two decades ago the concept was still a niche one. Lexus launched the very first hybrid version of the RX in 2004, and it has become a mainstay of the brand ever since.


Today, the fifth-generation Lexus RX is solely hybrid-powered, with buyers able to choose between ‘self-charging’ hybrids or a plug-in version. It also features the company’s first-ever use of a turbocharged hybrid powertrain, used in the performance-orientated RX 500h model.


When developing the new RX, Lexus promised it would be a step-change in terms of driving dynamics. Despite this, the latest RX is still more of a comfort-focused car, rather than being truly sporty. While it provides plenty of grip, and impressive agility from the four-wheel steering system on the RX 500h, the amount of body-lean in bends will likely curtail any enthusiastic driving.


This matters little, though, when the Lexus RX is considered as a luxury SUV, rather than a performance machine. Electrified powertrains allow the RX to travel in near-silence, with the plug-in hybrid able to cover more than 40 miles on battery power alone.


The most powerful RX 500h can achieve fuel economy of 37mpg, while the plug-in RX 450h+ steals the headlines with an official average of 256.8mpg. The reality may be far less than this, however, unless the 18.1kWh battery pack is kept fully charged, but it still makes for a cost-effective ownership experience.


Factor in a high-end interior, fitted with a near endless amount of standard technology, and the Lexus RX is an attractive option. The Lexus reputation for dependability, with the potential for a 10-year warranty if you follow the dealer servicing schedule, makes for a very complete package.


An alternative to performance-orientated SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne, this Lexus RX is unashamedly luxurious and laid-back.


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Should you want a luxury SUV, but prefer comfort and efficiency to outright sportiness, the Lexus RX might be the vehicle for you.


Compared to German rivals that focus on driver engagement, the RX makes refinement its priority instead. There might be plenty of grip, but the Lexus is not particularly entertaining to drive. However, it has efficient electrified engines and an interior that comes close to rivalling SUVs like the Range Rover for technology and refinement.


If you have little interest in sporty handling or adventuring off-road, the Lexus RX might be a winner.

The biggest decision when it comes to buying a Lexus RX will be whether you opt for a self-charging hybrid, or take the plug-in hybrid route.


Should you have access to a home charging wallbox, the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid makes more sense, allowing you to travel more than 40 miles on battery power alone – perhaps enough to tackle your daily commute without using any petrol.


When it comes to trim levels, all versions of the Lexus RX are comprehensively equipped. The Premium Pack Plus model is the sweet spot in the range, we think, with 21-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.

There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to luxury SUVs, meaning there is a near-endless list of alternatives to the Lexus RX. The BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE are prime contenders, along with the Range Rover Velar and Volvo XC90.


For those looking for a similar experience on a lower budget, the Mazda CX-60 also comes with a plug-in hybrid engine option. And there are hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, although these lack the premium qualities of the Lexus.

Comfort and design: Lexus RX interior

“The interior is one of the Lexus RX’s key attractions, with a compelling combination of luxury and comfort offered throughout the model range.”

Lexus RX Review 2024: interior

In keeping with the overall ethos of the Lexus RX, its interior is focussed on delivering comfort above all else. The dashboard layout is angled towards the driver, with a high-quality but minimalist design.


A raised driving position makes for a commanding view of the road, while the seats themselves are incredibly comfortable. There is a huge amount of adjustment, helping you to find the perfect seating position, with plenty of support on long journeys.


Even the entry-level Premium Pack Lexus RX comes with heated and eight-way adjustable front seats, including two-way lumbar adjustment. Moving up to top Takumi specification sees the front seats become 10-way electrically adjustable items, while even the rear seats gain a degree of power adjustment.

To understand the effort Lexus has put into making the RX feel like a quality product, consider the ‘e-Latch’ interior door handles fitted as standard. Instead of a normal mechanical opening, these use an effortless electronic release, and can even detect if you are about to open the door into the path of a cyclist.


The Lexus RX really does deliver when it comes to quality, with high-spec materials used on the centre console and even the glovebox. There is no impression of a car built down to a cost, just a truly sumptuous experience.


Genuine leather upholstery is used for trim levels above Premium Pack specification. The range-topping Lexus RX Takumi comes with semi-aniline leather, with a host of colours to choose from.

Lexus has previously made use of touchpads mounted on the centre console to control its infotainment systems. With the latest RX, the touchpad has vanished, leaving drivers reliant on using the touchscreen itself, or making use of steering wheel-mounted controls. The latter are touch-sensitive, and come without clear markings, meaning they can be difficult to get used to.


Given the generous proportions of the RX’s cabin, and the sheer width of the standard 14.0-inch touchscreen, this can feel like a literal stretch. At least the multimedia system is quick to respond to inputs, although learning the menu layout does take some time.


All versions of the Lexus RX come equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, meaning you can always just make use of your smartphone instead. Wireless charging is included, while the infotainment system comes with satellite navigation, DAB radio and a host of USB ports.


Of particular note, excusing the pun, is the 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system fitted to the range-topping Takumi model. It makes for an obvious step up in sound quality compared to the already-respectable 12-speaker system offered as standard.

The Lexus RX is at the larger end of the SUV spectrum, measuring 4890mm long and 1920mm wide. Yet despite these sizable dimensions, the RX is not the last word in practicality, with other luxury rivals surpassing it in this regard.


Those in the front of the Lexus RX get a good deal, with plenty of space and an overall impression of airiness. The wide cabin means you will not be bumping elbows with your front-seat passenger, and there is also a number of storage options for small items.


In the rear, there is a respectable amount of space for two adult passengers, but adding a fifth to the middle seat could be a stretch too far. There is a wide hump found in the floor, meaning legroom for a middle passenger is limited.


Where the Lexus RX lags behind the competition is in terms of boot capacity. With the rear seats in use, there is a total of 461 litres of luggage space. By contrast, a BMW X5 can accommodate 500 litres, while a Range Rover Sport is able to swallow up to 647 litres.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Lexus RX like to drive?

“The Lexus RX is not a sporty luxury SUV to drive, with an emphasis on effortless comfort over engagement. There is an inherent firmness to its ride quality, though.”

Lexus RX Review 2024: dynamic driving

It may look sporty on the outside, and the press info even boasts about a dynamic driving experience, but the Lexus RX is a comfort-oriented car at heart. A kerb weight of between 1900kg and 2200kg, depending on the powertrain, is substantial – and naturally affects how the RX drives.


It has a relatively low centre of gravity, and the steering is neatly weighted, with just enough feedback. Four-wheel steering is fitted to the RX 500h, helping create the impression of agility, too. However, the degree of body-roll in the Lexus RX is likely to be higher than most drivers would expect, even if there is still plenty of grip. A BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne will feel instantly more planted and confidence-inspiring by comparison.


Despite the amount of lean, the Lexus RX also has quite a firm ride over bumpy roads. Most of the feedback from the surface is well damped, though, meaning passengers are not going to be thrown out of their seats. Adaptive suspension is included on higher-specification versions, allowing a greater choice between comfort and tautness.

All versions of the Lexus RX now come with some form of electric assistance, leaving a choice between ‘self-charging’ or plug-in hybrid power.


The Lexus RX 350h combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with a pair of electric motors. With a motor on each axle, it gives the 350h standard all-wheel drive – just like all Lexus RX models, in fact. A combined output of 250PS sees the Lexus RX 350h accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds.


Lexus pitches the RX 500h as the performance model and it comes solely in F Sport trim. Its turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine can produce 272PS just on its own, with the electric motors taking the combined total all the way to 371PS. As a result, the car’s 0-62mph time drops to 6.2 seconds.


In contrast to the other models in the range, the RX 500h comes with a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox, while the RX 350h and RX 450h+ utilise a CVT transmission.


The Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid has the same 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motors as the 350h, but now with a combined output of 309PS. Its additional power sees the 0-62mph sprint take 6.9 seconds.

The Lexus RX is a relaxing way to cover long distances, thanks to a high degree of sound insulation. There is virtually no wind noise, and only a limited amount of road noise, which is only apparent because of how well every other noise seems deadened.


With the potential to drive on battery power alone, running the Lexus RX in EV mode makes for an even quieter experience. When the petrol engine does kick in, the transition is managed almost seamlessly, and it remains quiet in operation.


The revs will rise if you ask for maximum power in the RX 350h and RX 450h+, thanks to their continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). But they soon settle down and are quieter than the drivetrains found in previous generations of the Lexus RX.

With a comprehensive suite of standard safety equipment, the Lexus RX scored highly when evaluated by the Euro NCAP organisation. In crash tests, the RX received the maximum five-star rating, with an impressive 90 percent score for adult occupant protection, plus 87 percent for child occupant protection.


A Lexus Safety System+ is fitted to all versions of the RX, with pre-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, radar cruise control and dynamic road sign assist.


Moving up the range, all versions above the Premium Pack come with an extended safety system, with lane-change assist and front cross-traffic alert.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Lexus RX cost to run?

“Being fuel-efficient is at the heart of the hybrid engines powering the Lexus RX, with the plug-in hybrid RX 450h+ model grabbing the headlines.”

Lexus RX Review 2024: static

Luxury SUVs are typically not associated with being fuel-efficient, but years of experience with hybrid powertrains has given Lexus a real advantage with the RX.


Picking the regular ‘self-charging’ hybrid Lexus RX 350h creates the potential for official average fuel economy of between 44.1mpg and 44.8mpg.


Even the sportier Lexus RX 500h, with its output of 370PS, manages to contain its thirst. In the official combined test, it manages a reasonable 37mpg.


However, the plug-in hybrid Lexus RX 450h+, with its 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery, is always going to claim the prize for being the most efficient. Keeping the batteries topped up results in the potential for 256.8mpg, although the reality is likely to be closer to 45mpg unless you stick to short journeys, fully charging the battery before each one.


When the RX 450h+ is fully charged, it can travel up to 43 miles before the petrol engine kicks in.

Lexus has established an enviable reputation for reliability, proven by an overall brand win in the 2022 Honest John Satisfaction Index survey.


The fifth-generation RX is relatively new to the market, but there seems little reason to doubt that it will not continue the Lexus dependability trend. A three-year or 60,000-mile warranty is standard, but this can be extended to 10 years by servicing the car annually at a Lexus dealership.

It should perhaps be no surprise that, as a luxury SUV with a near-endless list of standard technology, the Lexus RX is placed in a fairly high insurance group.


The Lexus RX 350h, in Premium Pack trim starts the range in insurance group 42 (out of 50 groups in total). The plug-in hybrid RX 450h+ version in the same spec can be found in group 44.

With two electrified powertrains available, there are significant differences when it comes to the cost of VED (road tax) for the Lexus RX.


Opting for the Lexus RX 350h will see a charge of £245 for its first year, followed by £560 for the five years after that. The more powerful Lexus RX 500h comes in at a hefty £1030 in the first year.


However, choose the plug-in hybrid Lexus RX 450h and the first-year tax cost drops to zero.

How much should you be paying for a used Lexus RX?

“The latest Lexus RX is still quite new to the market, but used examples are available now, priced from less than £50,000.”

Lexus RX Review 2024: static

Even though the fifth-generation Lexus RX is a relatively new luxury SUV, should you want to avoid the wait and purchase a used example, there are plenty to choose from.


A budget of less than £50,000 will secure a low-mileage Lexus RX 350h in Premium Pack trim. Moving up to the more luxurious Premium Plus Pack should cost less than £55,000 for a lightly used RX 350h.


The more powerful RX 450h+ can be found from a touch below £56,000, with the range-topping F Sport 500h costing less than £57,000. All prices are correct at the time of writing.

The Lexus RX comes with a comprehensive level of standard equipment, which gets more generous as you progress through the model range.


The Premium Pack starts the lineup, and is available for the Lexus RX 350h and RX 450h+. It comes with a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic main beam, roof rails, privacy glass and a remote power tailgate.


Three-zone climate control is included, along with keyless entry, single-colour ambient lighting and seats finished in Tahara synthetic leather. Wireless smartphone charging, a 14-inch infotainment display and satellite navigation come as standard.


The Premium Pack Plus brings more kit to the Lexus RX 350h and RX 450h+, with features such as 21-inch alloy wheels, a kick-operated power tailgate and 64-colour ambient interior lighting.


Smooth leather is used for the upholstery, along with a leather steering wheel. The front seats are heated and ventilated, and the dashboard features a head-up display.


Takumi specification is the top trim level for Lexus RX 350h and RX 450h+ models, with a panoramic sunroof, adaptive suspension and an automatic parking system. Semi-aniline leather is used for the interior, with the rear seats now heated and a powerful 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system added.


Reserved solely for the Lexus RX 500h, F Sport trim includes a bespoke bodykit, 21-inch alloy wheels and brake black callipers. F Sport leather upholstery covers the seats, while further niceties include adaptive suspension and active sound control.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Lexus RX comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty as standard. However, make use of an official Lexus dealership for servicing and the warranty can be extended up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.
The 2022 Honest John Satisfaction Index survey saw Lexus crowned as the top-rated brand overall, including for reliability. Although the latest RX is a relatively new car, it should continue this same trend.
The Lexus RX 500h is the quickest and most powerful model, and comes in sporty looking F Sport trim. It handles better than other versions of the RX, but still offers a focus on comfort rather than driver engagement.

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