The all-new Lexus RX made its UK launch in February 2023. This fifth-generation model represents a complete reinvention of our popular large luxury SUV. It breaks new design and technology boundaries and delivering a step-change in dynamic performance while remaining true to the model’s heritage. Selected motoring journalists were recently invited to test what is predicted to be the core model, the RX 450h+. What did these professional road-testers think of the new car and its innovative plug-in hybrid electric powertrain? You can read what they said in our Lexus RX 450h+ reviews article below.
Lexus RX 450h+ reviews:
“This PHEV version is projected to be the volume seller in the UK. [It is] rated for 42 miles of electric-only range, which puts it in the coveted 8% company-car tax band.
“The real draw [is] the beautifully crafted and minimally distracting interior”Illya Verpraet, Autocar
“The RX 450h+ effectively uses the same engine-motor combination of the RX 350h. The main difference is the bigger, 18.1kWh battery under the cabin floor, which allows the motors to deliver more power for more of the time. A combined electric power output of 233bhp gives the RX 450h+ good EV drivability, and… it’s equally easy-going in hybrid mode.
“Motorway cruising is very serene indeed, and the kind of rough roads that can cause rivals to stumble aren’t a problem for the RX, despite our test car riding on 21-inch wheels.”
“On paper the 450h+ sounds potent enough with 304bhp allowing for a 6.5-second 0-62mph time. Provided you have enough energy in the battery, you can, of course, switch to electric only mode. The instantaneous torque gives the RX some extra pep around town and silent EV running certainly suits the RX’s calm persona. Lexus claims around 40 miles of electric-only running is possible – most people should get near to this figure with careful driving.
“There’s an impressive array of technology on board, the ride is tuned for comfort above all else and the build quality is exemplary.”Alastair Crooks, Auto Express
“Once [its] 18.1kWh battery has been emptied (the 6.6kW on-board charger means a full charge takes around two hours and 45 minutes), there’s a second battery that allows the 450h+ to run as a self-charging hybrid. This essentially means you’re always utilising the efficiency benefits of hybrid running. It’s the first time we’ve come across this technology and for PHEV users that might forget to charge or find it impractical to do so regularly, it’s a nice safety net to have.”
Lexus RX 450h+ reviews:
“What really sets the plug-in hybrid Lexus apart from its competition…, is its second battery which kicks in whenever the larger unit is depleted, turning the car into an old-school self-charging hybrid. From what we’re aware, this is an industry first. Keep both batteries charged up – a full charge will take around two hours and 45 minutes when connected to a home wall box – and you’ll return up to 256.8mpg. This also means CO2 emissions are as low as 24g/km, putting the 450h+ in the eight percent Benefit-in-Kind company car tax bracket.
“It’s hard to deny the RX’s superb quality. Everything you touch feels incredibly tactile and befitting of a car with a circa £60k price tag.”Tom Jervis, CarBuyer
“Flick the drive mode switch into ‘Sport’ and the RX can… provide a modest amount of fun. Lexus offers the RX with optional four-wheel-steering to make [it] feel a lot more manageable around tight city streets. Standard on high-spec cars, this system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of those at the front at low speeds to reduce the size of the turning circle. The result is a car that feels much more manoeuvrable than you’d expect.”
“The highlight [of the interior] is the new central touchscreen, which is much more intuitive than that of the old RX. It’s basically the same unit you’ll find in the smaller NX and the forthcoming RZ electric SUV, and it’s… brought Lexus’ infotainment technology into the 2020s. Every aspect of the RX’s interior is beautifully stitched, bolted or glued to its neighbour, and everything feels upmarket and solid. The fact it’s also more stylish than ever makes the cabin arguably the RX’s best feature.
“Special mention should go to the Sonic Copper paint… which uses sound waves to help create that striking bronze colour.”James Fossdyke, Car Enthusiast
“Official figures suggest the RX can use its battery so much that economy of more than 200mpg is possible, assuming you can charge the car regularly and most journeys are short. Perhaps more pertinently, the system allows CO2 emissions of 25-26g/km, and that means company car tax bills should be kept in check.
“The RX… seems to meter out its battery power intelligently. At the end of our 70-mile route, we still had a third of the battery left – and the trip gauge said we’d been averaging an impressive 99.9mpg. If you hadn’t guessed, that’s as high as the gauge goes.
“The Lexus RX is a… recommendable luxury SUV. It’s comfortable, refined, efficient and it feels suitably expensive.”Luke Wilkinson, CAR
“Once you’ve emptied the battery, it starts running like a full hybrid – and that means you’re not dragging around the dead weight of the battery and motors. They’re forced to earn their keep, clawing back what power they can through regenerative braking and redeploying it to increase the efficiency of the petrol engine.
“The cabin’s a lovely place to be, especially if you splash out on the range-topping Takumi specification. The cream leather upholstery and enormous panoramic sunroof make the interior feel light and airy – and there’s loads of technology to keep you comfortable and entertained. We [also] like the infotainment system.”
Lexus RX 450h+ reviews:
“The RX is sharp away from the starting blocks and the acceleration through the surprisingly refined e-CVT transmission is beautifully smooth and responsive. [It] eats up motorway miles for fun… and in busier stop and start traffic, the agility also impresses, as does the all-round driver visibility. And, of course, if you have enough charge you can revert to EV-only mode which gives instant response… and some extra zip in general.
“The new RX is perfect proof that while still delivering on luxury and refinement, Lexus can also deliver on performance.”Maxine Ashford, Regit and Women’s World Car of the Year judge
“The steering is well-weighted, delivering plenty of feedback and the RX is beautifully poised out on more challenging B roads with impressive grip through tight bends. The high-end Takumi model gains adaptive suspension… which can be adjusted according to taste, but credit to the engineers because the ride and comfort levels on this car are truly sublime.”
“This new fifth-generation Lexus… is 95% different from its predecessor, with more legroom, a longer boot and a lower centre of gravity for even better handling and road holding. The most striking feature from the outside is the way the body colour of the car melts into that deep spindle Lexus signature grille.
“I love the way Japanese manufacturers… incorporate traditional Japanese values into the style of their cars”Maggie Barry, Sunday Mail
“Lexus says from experience [that the RX 450h+} will be its biggest seller as its green credentials and excellent economy will be attractive to both fleet and private customers. And the beauty of this PHEV is that even when the electric charge – which will take you about 40-43 miles – runs out, the self-charging facility onboard means you can continue to build it up when you brake and decelerate. That means you never lose the boost the electric motor gives the 2.5-litre petrol engine when you need that extra bit of power.”
“It feels sprightly, with the electric motor responding quickly to the accelerator pedal before eagerly picking up the pace, and only calling on the petrol engine to assist in short bursts. Switching to Eco drive mode dampens down that immediacy, but there’s still enough poke to maintain momentum.
“The brakes are strong, and the regenerative braking system is very subtle when you lift off the accelerator pedal to harvest energy for the battery.”Lawrence Cheung, What Car?
“The ride… is at the firmer end of the scale, but it absorbs bumps well and remains settled. The steering… responds accurately and is nicely weighted, allowing you to build up a rhythm quite quickly when you encounter a series of bends. Meanwhile, grip levels are high.
“The RX is a very relaxing place to cover long distances in. There’s hardly any wind noise, and while you tune into a minor level of road noise, that’s because you’re so well isolated from other sounds. [It] will run almost silently when on battery power, and the changeover between electric and petrol power is hardly noticeable. Even when the engine wakes up, it remains hushed.”
Learn more: Sonic Copper paintwork – how it is created