The Lexus RX 450h is a completely revised model this year featuring slightly larger dimensions, updated styling, and the signature Lexus spindle grille. A sportier F Sport model is also available for those who want to move even farther upscale on the SUV ladder.
This SUV’s hybrid system uses a 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V-6 with a 13.0:1 compression ratio to eke out 259 horsepower and 257 lb-ft torque. Augmented by a 165 horsepower electric motor, this front-drive propulsion system delivers a combined 308 horsepower. Opting for the all-wheel drive variant adds a rear transaxle with a second 67 horsepower electric motor. The front-drive RX 450h is EPA rated at 31 city and 30 highway mpg, with the AWD version earning 30/28 mpg.
Softer springs, aluminum hood and door panels, and acoustic glass all combine to enhance efficiency and provide a pleasurable and quieter driving experience. An 8-inch EMV display, 12-speaker premium audio system with subwoofer, Bluetooth, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, and backup monitor are standard fare. A 12.3-inch screen is optional.
The RX 450h benefits from the growing array of advanced electronics and connected technologies being integrated in the Lexus line. Key additions this year include a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control. The latter maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and brings the RX to a total stop if traffic comes to a halt.
The list continues. A Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert keeps a driver aware of surrounding vehicles. Lane-Departure Assist will issue an alert to keep you on track and provide gentle steering input to bring you back into your lane if it senses you’re drifting.
While the base RX 450h is quite the looker, things heat up a bit with the optional F-Sport variant and its sportier styling, 20 inch aluminum wheels, unique grille and lower spoiler, and distinctive F-Sport badging. Inside, the F Sport gets unique gauges, aluminum pedals and trim, and exclusive F Sport seats. All this goodness comes at $3,400 above the model’s base $52,235 MSRP.