Lexus RX450 Hybrid Review (2015 – 2022)

The Lexus RX is a luxury crossover SUV introduced in 1997 and is currently in its 5th generation (2023 – present). When the second-generation Lexus RX was released in 2004 it was concurrently followed by the introduction of the Lexus RX400h as the first luxury hybrid sport utility vehicle. In 2009 (third generation) an upgrade of the RX400h, the RX450h was introduced with an improved efficiency of 20 percent.

It features a self-charging hybrid system that pairs a petrol engine with electric motors to deliver a smooth and efficient driving experience. Production of the RX450h continued into the fourth generation (2015 -2022) of the RX series. The RX450h is a luxurious hybrid SUV synonymous with advanced technology, performance, safety, and efficiency.

Lexus RX450 
White color
Front right side view

It has continuously been recognized for its reliability and value in the luxury hybrid SUV segment resulting in it receiving numerous accolades for being a premium hybrid car in several markets.

“Be Forward FOB Price of the Lexus RX450 start around $18,220 as of June 2024”

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Lexus SUVs Background

Lexus the luxury division of automotive giant Toyota, produces a wide range of SUVs that combine luxury, performance, and advanced technology.
Models on Its SUV lineup include the RX, NX, GX, and LX, each serving different segments and preferences.

The midsize luxury SUV RX lineup is one of the most popular, and its hybrid variant, the RX450h is the most popular, it offers a good combination of fuel efficiency with premium features.

The NX is an agile and compact luxury crossover with innovative technologies, the GX is a midsize luxury SUV known for its rugged off-road capabilities, and at the top of the line sits the LX, a full-size luxury SUV that combines opulence with robust performance. It’s a vehicle built for both urban cruises and rugged off-road terrains.

BF price range 2015 – 2022 varies as below:

  • Lexus RX US$7700 – US$52,420
  • Lexus NX US$9550 – US$52,600
  • Lexus GX US$30,180 – US$50,040
  • Lexus LX US$52,330 – US$100,260

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Hybrid Version: Benefits & Advantages

Its self-charging hybrid system (HEV) pairs a 296 hp 3.5-liter V6 direct injection engine with battery and motor/s. The engine is connected to the generator which powers the motor and charges the battery, providing a smooth, exhilarating, and powerful driving experience while being environmentally conscious.

The next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive on the RX450h has an exhaust-heat recovery and cooled exhaust-gas recirculation system that significantly reduces emissions and enhances fuel efficiency. The RX450h is so quiet, thanks to its hybrid technology, offering a tranquil driving environment.

The RX450h has a good suspension system that effectively smoothens out road imperfections making the ride comfortable.
Collectively, all these features make the RX450h a captivating choice for those looking for an SUV that offers a good combination of luxury, comfort, and efficiency.

Writer’s perspective

Pros: The RX450h is flawless, its cabin is attractively designed with ample passenger space, and its interior is supremely quiet, thanks to its hybrid system that offers smooth power delivery.
Cons: But all these goods don’t come cheap, the RX450h is expensive to buy, its fuel efficiency is great but subpar compared to its rivals, and its infotainment interface is awkward with the touchpad controller distracting to use.

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What changed from 2015 up to 2022?

The fourth generation model of the Lexus RX ran from 2015 to 2022, with the production of hybrid (RX450h) and non-hybrid (RX300/350) running concurrently.
Within this time, the Lexus RX450h went through several upgrades:

2016 Redesign: The fourth generation reached the markets, it grew in width with notable luxurious upgrades. Its exterior looked more aggressive, it also featured a new infotainment system and improved safety features.
2017 7-seats: A three-row seven-seat model of the RX450h, the RX450h L was introduced. Designated as the L model, its length grew by 11 cm compared to the two-row model but its wheelbase remained the same. Its redesigned rear part has a more upright rear window to enhance rear space.
2019 Updates: In 2019, the RX450h received some technical upgrades, including enhancements to the suspension system for improved ride comfort and stability.
2020 Enhancements: Notable changes were carried out to improve driving dynamics. These include the use of hollow front and rear stabilizer bars to reduce weight and improve handling. Other updates were on the infotainment system, having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
2022 Minor Changes: Notable changes in 2022 included new fog lamps as standard and Cloudburst Gray, Iridium, and Grecian Water added as optional colors.


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Driving Features

Lexus RX450
Cockpit view
Black leather seat

The Available Key features on the Fourth-generation (2015 – 2022) Lexus RX 450h are:

Engine Start/Stop: This feature frequently turns the engine on and off, which is normal. It’s a feature designed to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce CO₂ emissions. However, first-time owners need time to get used.

Connected Technology: The RX450h has several easy-to-navigate connected technologies intended to enhance convenience, including a multimedia system, vehicle health monitoring, and the Lexus app, which simplifies access to various vehicle functions and information.

Head-Up Display and Multi-Information Display: The HUD and MID straightforwardly provide essential driving information, helping drivers focus on the road while accessing necessary car data.

Luxury Features: Features like leather upholstery, wireless charging, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, keyless entry, auto high-beam, auto-dimming headlights, and rain-sensing wipers are available as standard and optional features to enhance the overall driving experience.

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Popularity Facts

he Lexus RX450 is a global brand and a popular top-end SUV, especially in the United States.
Why is it so popular in the USA? The Lexus RX450 Hybrid’s popularity in the USA can be attributed to several key factors:
The fact that it belongs to a globally trusted Toyota luxury powerhouse gives it an upper hand, but it is also known for its reliability, luxury, comfort, performance, and versatility.

The RX450 Hybrid is a top seller in the midsize luxury crossover SUV market in the USA. Its established position as a dependable, reliable, and luxurious car has contributed significantly to its immense popularity.

Generally, the fourth-generation Lexus RX 450’s features are designed to be intuitive with ease of use, ensuring that drivers can effortlessly find, operate, and relish them.

Most users of the RX450 ask “Which light is the high beam on the Lexus RX450?”
On the fourth generation Lexus RX 450 models, the high beam lights are part of the main headlight assembly. Typically, the high beam is located towards the inner part of the headlight cluster, closer to the grille, in contrast to the outward-positioned low beams.

Key points to help identify and use the high beams on these models:

Headlight Stalk Operation: To activate the high beam you have to push the headlight stalk away from you while pulling it towards you will flash the high beams.

Intelligent High Beams: For models with intelligent high beams, you activate it by switching the headlight stalk to the “AUTO” position and then pushing the stalk away from you. With the system active, it will automatically adjust the high beams depending on surrounding traffic conditions.

High Beam Indicator: When the high beam is active, a blue indicator light will appear on the dashboard.

Safety Technologies

Lexus RX450 Push Start button

The Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) is standard on all models, it integrates four active safety systems. These systems support your cognizance and decision-making within a range of speeds and driving conditions. 2020 and newer models come with LSS+ 2.0, which features a series of enhancements, plus an additional system for keeping the car in its lane. The 2015 – 2022 Lexus RX 450h is highly rated with regard to its safety features.

The 2022 model received the top rating of five stars from Euro NCAP. This signifies how robust its structure is and the capabilities of its active and passive safety systems in protecting its passengers and other road users.

This rating was achieved at the outset when the RX was tested in 2015, this indicates its consistent safety standards over the years. The RX 450h was also tested by the IIHS, where it received a good score in crash tests, underlining its reliability and safety.

Additionally, safety features like intelligent high beams, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert, lane keep assist, and multiple airbags contribute to its extensive safety profile.
Generally, the RX 450h models of this generation are spoken highly for their latest safety technologies and robust crash protection, making them a reliable choice for safety-conscious buyers.

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The fourth-generation Lexus RH 450h cabin is known for its elegance, comfort, and luxury. The cabin is notably quiet and finished with high-quality materials, collectively creating an opulent feeling.

The cabin is spacious and the seats are exceptionally comfortable, with plenty of legroom and headroom for all occupants. Its user-friendly dashboard has a good mixture of digital and physical controls that are easy to use. Standard features include a sizeable infotainment display, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, and dual-zone climate control. Higher trims offer additional features such as a premium audio system, ventilated and heated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof.

Storage-wise, the RX 450h has ample cargo space, qualifying it as a practical choice for families on long journeys.

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The exterior styling of the fourth-generation RX 450h is distinctive and bold making it stand out in the midsize luxury SUV market. Its front fascia features an eminent spindle grille flanked by sleek but aggressive LED headlights with a sharp and modern feel.

Its dynamic silhouette is aerodynamic, boosting both aesthetic appeal and fuel efficiency. The F Sport package features unique exterior styling elements including a sportier front bumper, special F-Sport badging, and larger dark-finish alloy wheels, which gives the car an athletic appeal.

Additionally, there’s a variety of optional premium exterior colors that provide an extra customization edge. Other available features include roof rails and a panoramic sunroof that further enhance the car’s functionality and upscale feel.

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Fuel Economy

The fourth generation (2015 – 2022) Lexus RX 450h is known for its efficiency for a luxury SUV, thanks to its hybrid system. Its hybrid system combines a 240hp 3.5-liter V6 engine with electric motors that collectively enhance efficiency and performance.

Its tested fuel efficiency ranges between 31mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, approximately equivalent to 7.5 L/100 km in the city and 8.4 L/100 km on the highway. Owners report an average fuel economy ranging between 34 – 36 mpg, depending on how you drive and where you are driving.

This efficiency is an advantage for those looking for a luxury SUV with a lower carbon footprint and reduced trips to the gas station. The smooth and quiet hybrid system provides a pleasant and serene ride.

Engine Specifications

The fourth generation Lexus RX 450h comes with a hybrid powertrain combining a 3.5-liter (2GR-FXS) V6 engine with electric motors. Engine specifications:

  • Engine Configuration: 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with electric motors.
  • Horsepower: The combined output is 308 hp at 6000 rpm.
  • Torque: Torque of 247 lb-ft at 4800 rpm.
  • Performance: The RX 450h can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (0 – 100km/h) in approximately 7.7 seconds.
  • Hybrid System: Uses a port and direct fuel injection system for efficient fuel combustion.
  • Drivetrain: Available in All-Wheel Drive (AWD) configuration.

The hybrid system is designed to optimize both fuel efficiency and performance, providing a smooth and responsive driving experience while maintaining Lexus’s reputation for reliability and luxury.

Writer’s Perspective

From its introduction, the RX 450 has been well received, and deservedly so. It is a good car, well-built, neatly designed, and dependable.
Where I am from, there were not many RX 450s around earlier, I suppose it’s due to their high MSRP, but currently they are becoming common on the roads as used models. They are enticing, they still look great even as used models.

Final Verdict

The Rx 450 was already a force to reckon with, but that wasn’t enough Lexus came up with a pioneering hybrid model to cement its status as a leader in the midsize luxury SUV category. It all started in 2004 with the introduction of the RX 400h, and building on that success, the RX 450h followed. Its bold styling, practicality, interior appointments, and a combination of attentive detailing have polarized buyers and made the RX 450h an unquestionably enticing proposition in the luxury SUV category.

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