2021 Lexus RX 450h
Did you know that the Lexus RX was the luxury crossover powered by a hybrid driveline? Even more remarkable that the RX was also the first luxury crossover – period.
Being the first means that consumers have a higher expectation of what this vehicle can deliver to them. With a loyal owner base, there is no question that this 2021 Lexus RX 450h stands up to their standards.
Our tester provided us the opportunity find out whether the RX 450h still stands up your expectations, as well as ours.
We always liked how Lexus created the RX from its the signature Spindle Grille onward. All lines flow from this design feature to create a sleek, angular, and compelling SUV. LED headlamps and running lights are nestled into the front clip, flanking the mesh grille denoting that our RX 450h is the desirable F Sport model.
At the C-Pillar, the "floating roof" design makes for an even more compelling look. You get a fastback-like roofline and angular features on the tailgate. On our F Sport model, we were treated to its mesh grille, set in a dark chrome surround. Making this an even more special model, we were treated to the Black Line Special Edition. That package includes exclusive 20-inch wheels, darker trim all around, and the exclusive Celestial Blue paint color.
The interior is adorned in black with blue stitching in key areas. The instrument panel has a single big TFT dial with a digital speedometer, power meter, and an information center to the left of it. The huge 12.3-inch infotainment screen is reachable from the driver, along with steering wheel and a touch pad controller on the center console. All controls are exactly what we expected from a Lexus.
Front seats offer a balance of good support and overall comfort. The two-tone black-and-off-white F Sport seats are well bolstered and forgiving at the same time. Second-row seat occupants offer a lot of comfort. Space is fantastic for five adults, especially with a flat floor in the rear.
Cargo space starts with just 18.4 cubic feet with the retractable cover in place. It is expandable to 56.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. Overall, we like the combination of luxury and sportiness in the F Sport Black Line Special Edition model.
In the RX 450h, power is delivered through a 3.5-liter V6 combined with an electric drive system and a battery pack that is charged through regenerative braking. In all, you have 308 total horsepower at your right foot’s command. This performance package is connected to an electronic continuously variable transmission sending power to all four wheels.
We like the quiet performance of this hybrid overall. Power comes on smooth and the V6 comes to life when you need to accelerate or do a passing maneuver. In terms of fuel consumption, we saw an average of 30.8 MPG.
That same smoothness is what characterizes the ride quality on the RX 450h F Sport. It does a good job absorbing the bumps and potholes in our test loops, even with the 20-inch wheels and tires. Although, you will experience a bit of roll when going through the turns at the limit.
Stopping the RX 450h turned out to be a smooth experience, even with the regenerative system. We found sometimes that hybrids have a way for the energy recovery system interfering with actual braking. However, we experienced a solid braking system yielded good behaviors in normal, panic, and winter situations. Pedal feel was a bit on the soft side at times., The steering system felt good. This system had a good turning radius and a solid on-center feel.
The Lexus RX 450h lineup starts at $47,930. Our F Sport AWD Black Line Special Edition tester came with a sticker price of $60,785. If you want a vehicle such as our tester, there are only 250 such editions available in the hybrid. Each of these models come with a special set of luggage to go with your RX 450h F Sport Black Line Special Edition.
One may think that the Lexus RX 450h is a unique offering. Actually, it competes very well with other electrified models, such as the BMW X5 xDrive45e, Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, and Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid.
No longer a unique choice among SUVs in its size class, the Lexus RX 450h maintains its leadership among electrified models. There is still that special feel when you drive it, which is why it still yields a loyal owner base. Perhaps you could join the ranks of hybrid Lexus SUV owners in one.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors