|Positives: Looks great in F Sport trim, soft and supple ride, stunning premium interior, great front seats, super-quiet at high speeds, excellent efficiency, the best reliability in the segment.|
|Negatives: Stupid touchpad infotainment controls, not especially fun to drive, the huge grille might send some shoppers elsewhere, some options' pricing has skyrocketed.|
|Bottom Line: The RX 450h might be getting a little bit old, but it still delivers the goods in terms of looks, comfort, premium materials, and ride quality. There's a reason why it sells so well. It's just too bad it's not more fun to drive and it doesn't have the infotainment system from the new NX.|
The RX 450h is more about efficiency, smoothness, and quiet enjoyment rathe than power and sportiness. That said, the RX 450h is a remarkably wonderful vehicle to drive as long as you like cruising and comfort.
Ride Quality: There's a little bit of firmness dialed in via the F Sport performance dampers, but the RX 450h is still very smooth and supple over irregular pavement and gaps.
Acceleration: The V6 and the electric motors deliver decent performance. 0-60 comes in a little under 7 seconds, which is decently quick. We don't love the CVT, but it's all in the name of fuel efficiency.
Braking: The brakes don't have the best feel, but they do a good job of bringing the RX 450h F Sport to a stop. We don't have high expectations of regen brakes, but these are pretty good.
Steering: There's no steering feel, and the effort is on the light side. But it is pretty accurate and didn't provide any point-and-shoot turning.
Handling: Body control is pretty good, and the upgraded F Sport suspension helps. It's not a carver, but that's not something we expect here.
This continues to be a sore spot for the RX. The infotainment system is just ok. While it looks a little bit better than before, it's still royally awful to use while driving (it's still annoying when you're standing still, too).
Infotainment System: The large screen upgrade is great, but the some icons are hard to reach via touch.
Controls: Using the infotainment touchpad is an exercise in frustration since it always overshoots the selection you want. We deferred to Apple CarPlay 100% of the time and almost always used the screen instead of the touchpad to make adjustments. The rest of the RX 450h's controls work well.
F Sport version of Lexus models almost always look better than their regular siblings, and the RX 450h is no exception. The brand refreshed the exterior to make it look a little less busy but no less aggressive.
Front: After the refresh a couple of years ago, the RX line now has less divergent styling in front with fewer disparate and disjointed shapes. The headlight cluster is clean, and the dark chrome trim in the grille looks great with the F Sport mesh.
Rear: The back end is the busiest spot since all of the lines converge. The floating roof isn't our favorite, but it's still one of the better ones we've seen.
Profile: The RX 450h in F Sport trim looks very handsome in side view. There's a lot of body creasing, but it gives the RX an athletic look, complemented by handsome dark chrome trim and wheels.
Cabin: The F Sport seats look positively premium with the insert scalloping, the perforated leather, and the contrast stitching. Everything looks great inside, and the materials quality is superb.
The RX has one of the best cabins in the industry, barring some minor ergonomic issues. The plastic, seat material, and metallic trim are all excellent, and seating is good for tall adults. It's also a remarkably quiet ride at all speeds.
Front Seats: The bolstering is aggressive, but we love it. It has a good balance of firmness and cushioning, too. The NuLuxe synthetic leather could easily pass for the real thing. It's soft, supple, and attractive. Seat adjustability is good, and so is the seating position.
Rear Seats: 38 inches of legroom is plentiful for tall adults, and three passengers can sit across the back with no problem. The middle position, although roomy, has no contour, so it's really just for shot trips.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The sound deadening is excellent, and we noticed no errant noise at any speed. Build quality is superb.
Visibility: The front and most of the sides provide good visibility, but the slim rear window and rear side glass impede sightlines.
Climate: The climate system in the RX works really well, and on chilly spring days things warmed up quickly. The heated and ventilated seats are also very good.
The RX gets great scores in crash testing, and it gets the comprehensive Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which should put has some of the best equipment in the industry.
IIHS Rating: The RX misses the best score due to less than stellar headlights. In every other category, including the crucial front passenger small offset crash test, it gets "good". The result is a Top Safety Pick rating.
NHTSA Rating: The RX earns 5 stars from the federal government.
Standard Tech: The RX comes with Safety Sense 2.0+ that now includes lane centering, bicycle detection, and road-sign assistance, in addition to previously available features such as automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.
Optional Tech: Our tester came with a Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, a Panoramic View Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking.
The RX does a great job with overall storage. You won't find any huge binnacles, but the ones in the cabin are strategically placed and pretty easy to access.
Storage Space: The front row has some of the best door pockets that fold out for more capacity. The center console has a cubby in front of the shifter for small items, and the armrest is well-sized for slightly larger items.
Cargo Room: The rear cargo area gets 18 cubes behind row two and 56 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. It's one of the biggest in midsize crossover segment.
The RX 450 h is a hybrid that lives up to its name. The electric motors, regen braking, and the CVT all contribute to good efficiency for a V6 hybrid crossover that weighs almost 5,000 pounds. The RX450h actually outperformed EPA ratings
Observed: 28.6 mpg.
Distance Driven: 153 miles.
It's too bad our tester didn't come outfitted with optional and excellent Mark Levinson premium audio system, but the stock system is still pretty good and now has one more speaker, for a total of 9. It's clear, crisp, and it had no distortion to speak of. It just lacks the depth and fullness of the Levinson version.