Lexus RX 450h driving

Lexus RX 450h review

The hybrid-powered Lexus RX 450h is a luxurious large SUV with distinctive looks, an extremely comfortable interior and excellent reliability.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Easy to drive
  • Highly rated for safety

Cons

  • Boot space is below average for a big SUV
  • Limited model range
  • Costs more than some rivals

Summary

"A practical family car that’s a great choice for those who do lots of long journeys."

The Lexus RX 450h is a distinctive, hybrid-powered large SUV. It’s easy to drive and has an extremely comfortable, well-equipped interior. It’s economical, too, making it a great choice if you do lots of long journeys.

Two versions are available: the five-seat RX 450h and the seven-seat RX 450h L. Both are very practical and make great family cars. Lexus has a long-established reputation for building very reliable cars and the RX 450h is likely to be extremely dependable, whichever version you choose.

What's the interior like?

"The interior feels very luxurious, with lots of tech and extremely comfortable seats."

The interior of the RX 450h is luxurious. The dashboard is covered in high-quality leather and the seats are extremely comfortable. The front seats adjust electrically so most people will be able to find a position that suits them for even the longest of journeys.

Every model comes with a lot of equipment. Much of it, including the sat nav, is accessed through the central display screen. It’s controlled by a laptop-style trackpad that takes a bit of time to get used to. 

You get legroom and headroom galore in the front and back seats. Five adults will fit in the back, on seats almost as comfortable as those in the front. Installing even the biggest child seats won’t be an issue. The bigger RX 450h L features an extra pair of seats that fold out of the boot floor. Children will have plenty of space in them. 

With those extra seats folded away, the RX 450h L has a much bigger boot than the RX 450h. Some other large SUVs have more boot space than the RX 450h, but two or three large suitcases will easily go in.

What's it like to drive?

"The RX 450h is a very relaxing car to drive. It’s big, but town driving is easier than you expect."

With light steering and an automatic gearbox, driving the RX 450h is generally pretty effortless. The ride is smooth and little noise gets through to the interior, so it’s relaxing on longer journeys. F-Sport models feature different suspension and wheels that give a slightly firmer ride, but they’re still very comfortable.

It’s a big car, but the excellent view through the windscreen and standard parking sensors and rear view camera make town driving easier than you might expect. Some models even have a ‘surround view’ system that shows a bird’s eye image of the car on the interior display screen so that you can see any obstacles around you.

The hybrid system combines a petrol engine with an electric motor. Together, they provide more than enough power and the RX 450h will get up to motorway speeds briskly. At low speeds, the electric motor can power the car by itself for about a mile. 

The RX 450h has four-wheel drive. It’s not a proper off-roader like a Land Rover, but it copes extremely well in wet and wintry conditions.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

"The RX 450h is better value than many large SUVs and returns very good fuel economy."

The RX 450h costs more to buy than other large SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE but it comes better equipped. The bigger RX 450h L costs a bit more than the regular RX450h. 

According to the official figures, the RX 450h will give you more than 50mpg. Drive carefully and you’ll get at least close to that; drive faster and your fuel economy will dip towards 30mpg. You should see an average of around 35-40mpg, which is still very good for this type of car.

Being hybrid-powered, the RX 450h also has low CO2 emissions, making road tax relatively inexpensive. That could be a real plus for company-car buyers. Bear in mind that models with bigger wheels could be pushed into a more expensive tax band.

How reliable and safe is it?

"Likely to be very reliable and has a full five-star safety rating."

Lexus is a brand synonymous with quality and reliability and the RX 450h certainly feels like it’s built to last a very long time. 

Safety organisation Euro NCAP awarded the RX 450h a full five-star rating when it was tested in 2015. It has 10 airbags, automatic emergency braking that stops the car if the driver doesn’t react to a hazard in time, and adaptive cruise control that keeps it a safe distance from the car in front.

Which one is best for you?

Best for emissions - RX 450h

Best for family - RX 450h L

Best for fun - RX 450h F-Sport

Every RX 450h comes extremely well equipped with features like climate control, sat nav, heated leather seats and adaptive cruise control. The top-of-the-range Takumi model comes with so much stuff, there are no options available for it.

If you want a sportier look and driving experience, go for the F-Sport model. Large families may prefer the RX 450h L, with its bigger boot and extra seats. The ‘surround view’ parking system is a very useful feature, so you may want to specifically look for an RX 450h that has it.

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