Lexus RC 450h

Solid performance and upscale amenities

Roseville, Calif.- Credit Lexus with introducing the first-ever luxury crossover sport utility vehicle, combining the features of an SUV with a luxury sedan.

The Lexus RX was originally a compact, sleek model that women immediately embraced. Now in its fifth generation, the RX brand has a bigger and bolder exterior than the original model and has morphed into a midsize crossover, five-passenger SUV that appeals to both women and men.

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Various trim models

Lexus doesn’t make the decision an easy one when it comes to purchasing an RX. We drove the plug-in hybrid 2024 Lexus RX 450h, one of seven RX versions that all come with various trim models. They do share multiple traits – sharp exterior, good ride, solid performance, and have their share of upscale amenities that one expects from a luxury SUV.

And the RX brand remains popular. In 11 of the previous 12 years, sales of all RX models reached or exceeded 100,000, a notable figure for any vehicle that’s been around since 1998.

Although we’ve always been a fan of the RX brand, the one aspect most often missing was performance. Looking for some thrills – there were none. It’s always been rather blasรฉ to drive.

However, that changed a year ago when Lexus finally manufactured an RX with some actual giddy-up. Before anyone gets too caught up in the speed aspect, it’s not like the RX can keep up with a Tesla, but at least it finally feels quick.

The RX 450 hybrid utilizes three electric motors and combines with 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine to generates 304 horsepower. It’s a six-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive that feels sporty and goes 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds.

Electric mode

interior cabin

In electric mode only, the RX 450h will travel 37 miles before switching over to the gas engine. It’s equipped with an 18.1-kWh battery pack and a convenient 6.6 kWh onboard charger that can recharge the battery in about 2.5 hours.

All versions of the RX 450h come with standard semi-aniline leather, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated rear seats, and there’s a choice of bamboo or open-pore wood trim.

Standard driver safety features include blind-spot, rear cross-traffic and forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-centering assistance, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency stop assistance, traffic-sign recognition, automatic high beams, and proactive driving assist.

Our RX provided an agile and composed ride. It cruises along the interstate with great ease and efficiency. It also handles extremely well on challenging roads and is nimble enough to operate well in any around-town errands.

AT A GLANCE -2024 LEXUS RX 450h

  • Performance: three electric motors, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 304 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 33-36 mpg
  • Price estimate: $70,600
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited; hybrid components: 8 years/100,000 miles

Interior

A year ago, Lexus revived some of its technology, adding a fully digital dashboard. It has a standard 9.8-inch horizontal touchscreen display and there’s a 14-inch option. We were glad to see the annoying and difficult to use touchpad controller is gone; hopefully for good. The “Hey Lexus” voice command controls are far more helpful than the touchpad.

The RX 450h provides excellent room up front and good rear legroom and cargo space – 29.6 cubic feet behind the second row and 46.2 cubes with the seats folded to the floor. We found the comfortable seating held up well on a couple of extended drives.

After more than a quarter century of driving RX models, we remain a fan of the brand. The 2024 Lexus RX 450h is a plug-in hybrid SUV that can stack up well against other luxury brands.

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