Underperforms speedier rivals
Roseville, Calif.- There are many positive aspects concerning the Lexus RX 450 hybrid, yet it’s unavoidable to not shine a light on the elephant in the room – performance.
This luxury mid-size sport utility vehicle underperforms when compared to its speedier rivals like the hybrid version of the Acura MDX, BMW X3 and the Audi Q5. The RX 450h is not even close when comparing 0-60 mph times.
As one auto reviewer mentioned, the 2022 Lexus RX 450h still has the “same old sluggish powertrain” – a 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 308 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque.
The hefty RX 450h (4,740 pounds) goes 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds. That’s roughly a full second slower than the MDX and approximately two seconds slower than the BMW and Audi hybrids.
What does standout in comparison to its rivals is fuel economy. The RX 450h gets 28-31 mph and has a 17.2-gallon tank, which means there can be long intervals between fill-ups at the pumps. Note that the Lexus gas version of the hybrid – RX 350 – gets between 21-23 mpg.
Not much has changed recently with the RX 450h; it still closely resembles the fourth generation that was introduced in 2016.
Apparently mediocre performance is not a big deterrent when it comes to sales. Heading into December 2021, this year’s RX models have exceeded sales of 100,000, its ninth straight year of going over the six-figure mark.
Lexus provides some options for folks who want the RX brand. The question becomes which one to buy?
There’s the RX 350 for folks who want a traditional gas-only SUV. There’s also the RX 450hl – letter L refers to extended length, in this case enough for a third row. It’s the only RX model with an available third row that increases overall seating to six or seven passengers. Unfortunately, the third road is tiny and only suitable for kids.
AT A GLANCE – 2022 LEXUS RX 450 HYBRID
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6 engine, 308 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 28-31 mpg
- Price estimate: $48,100 to $53,900
- Warranty: Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
The RX 450h features an attractive exterior, a classy interior that’s full of quality materials and controls, and delivers the type of upscale ride one seeks in a luxury SUV. A strong reliability is another enviable trait.
Although the 450h carries a little more weight than other RX models, the handling is excellent and so is the braking power.
Safety & Interior
Giving the driver more piece of mind is the standard safety features that include forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and emergency communications.
The Lexus hybrid features an elegantly-styled cabin with an 8-inch dash touchscreen (optional 12.3-inch) that supplies super high resolution, a characteristic that didn’t get overlooked by my techy young daughter.
Two years ago, Lexus smartly replaced the joystick-style controller with a touchpad. The company also moved the touchscreen 5.5 inches closer for those wanting to avoid using the touchpad.
Standard features include simulated leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration.
The seating is comfortable overall for five passengers. The front seats are wide and offer excellent leg and head room. The second-row seats are comfortable as well, and even have the ability to recline, a nice feature on a road trip where a nap might be the goal. The cargo area measures 18 cubic feet.
If one is not bothered by uninspiring performance, the 2022 RX 450h is a solid choice because it possesses many positive aspects, including handling, quality interior, fuel economy and attractive styling.