Lexus RX 450h (2009 – 2015) Review

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Lexus RX 450h (2009 – 2015) At A Glance


+Refined and cossetting. Strong performance from hybrid powerplant. Superbly engineered and well built. Low CO2 for a large 4x4 along with good fuel economy.

-Not involving to drive. Bland interior lacks the style of other premium SUVs. Ride can be unsettled on 19-inch whees or larger.

Insurance Group 41
On average it achieves 69% of the official MPG figure

Lexus isn't afraid to do things differently as the RX 450h shows. Not only does it look very different from other 4x4s, but as the 'h' in the name suggests, this is a hybrid model. It combines a V6 petrol engine with an electric motor to keep CO2 emissions low at 148g/km and also makes it exempt from the central London congestion charge. Unlike the previous RX model, there is no standard petrol version and as with all the big Lexus models, there's no diesel choice either.

That's pretty surprising given that the most popular models of nearly all large 4x4s are diesels and even the likes of the Porsche Cayenne now offer a more economical oil burner option. But while the RX 450h uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit, the advanced hybrid drive system (along with clever systems such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and exhaust heat recovery) means it's capable of averaging a claimed 44.8mpg - considerably better than a BMW X5 XDrive 30d which does a claimed 38.2mpg on the combined cycle.

The fact that CO2 emissions are below 160g/km is good news for business users too as it means the RX450 has a writing down allowance of 20% - something no other 4x4 of this size can equal, even the hybrid versions of the Cayenne or the latest Volkswagen Touareg. And as we've come to expect from Lexus, the RX 450h is superbly engineered and feels strong and robust.

On the move it's powerful, quick and smooth plus it deals well with corners too thanks to precise steering and good body control. The only real criticism is the rather drab interior which lacks the panache and style of other premium SUVs and doesn't reflect the advanced technology of the rest of the car. The RX450h was revised in June 2012 with subtle exterior tweaks and new equipment as standard.

Looking for a Lexus RX 450h (2009 - 2015)?
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Real MPG average for a Lexus RX 450h (2009 – 2015)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

25–41 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

How common is catalytic converter theft on my car?
"I am thinking of buying a new Lexus RX450h. Is catalytic converter theft a problem with these cars or is it solely a problem on older Lexus models?"
We haven't got specific stats on the vehicles more at risk of theft, but thieves tend to target vehicles that are clearly hybrids - which means recognisable brands like the Toyota Prius suffer more risk from cat theft. If you're worried, we have this top 10 of tips to prevent cat theft, including a catalytic converter lock:
Answered by Georgia Petrie
I have bad hips and a bad back - what's the best car to offer me back support?
"I have a small estate which was comfortable enough when I purchased it. Recently I have found my back and hips disagreeable - a medical issue. The car is not helping in the slightest. I am offered little support by the driver's seat and find that I cannot extend my legs properly. The car is an automatic. I would like to stick to automatic if I can - using a clutch in traffic will cause me a lot of bother with my hip. I'm 6ft4 and slim. I'm looking for a used car that is as economic as possible, easy to get in and out of and supports my legs and back properly when I am driving. I am in my early thirties. I would like something which is relatively stylish. I guess I want 'my cake and eat it'. It may be that I have to compromise. I have looked at various SUV option and keep coming back to the RX450h. Owner reviews claim that the seat support is good and the MPG is as good as it gets for a car of this size and within my price range. Given my circumstances, where should I be focusing my search? My budget is £8-12k."
An SUV sounds like the right move for you. An RX450h is a left-field choice but a very good one. It's a comfortable and reliable car that doesn't have the strong brand image of German rivals, making it surprisingly affordable. Provided it's been serviced regularly, I'd happily buy one with more than 100k on the clock. I'd question if it suits your driving, though - hybrids are at their best around town, so if you cover a lot of motorway miles consider a diesel instead. Alternatively, I'd perhaps recommend a smaller (and newer) crossover SUV. Something like a Kia Sportage ought to be comfortable but you'll get a much newer one for your money.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What spacious automatic should I get to replace my X5?
"I am having electrical issues with my BMW X5 so I'm Looking to change. I need a large, family friendly, easy to get in-and-out of car/4x4 with a smooth automatic gearbox. I only do 5k miles a year and a budget of up to £15k. I was thinking Mercedes ML, Audi Q7 or newer X5. Or would a 7 Series or Audi A8 be more reliable? any suggestions? Thanks "
I'd be hesitant about buying any of these cars for £15,000 - as you've discovered, they'll have the running costs of a much more expensive car and will cost a fortune when they go wrong. If you want a premium SUV, a Lexus RX 450h could be a good purchase - we have very few reports of issues with them and Lexus owners are generally very happy with their cars. Alternatively, I'd be inclined to look for something a bit newer and less premium. A Mazda CX-5 would be a good choice and your budget will get you a high-spec 2015 model.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I want a Lexus RX450h to replace my car, but the infotainment system looks so outdated - is an upgrade expected soon?
"I quite fancy a Lexus RX450h to replace my Mercedes-Benz ML-Class with a more comfortable and stylish drive, but it looks so outdated without CarPlay, Android Auto or a built-in TomTom sat nav. Can we expect an upgrade any time soon?"
Lexus is set to introduce CarPlay and Android Auto on some of its cars in the States next year, so hopefully that'll be brought across to the UK at some point. When that'll be is hard to say, unfortunately. Have you considered a Volvo XC90? Like the Lexus it's an interesting alternative to the German brands, but its infotainment is much slicker than that in the Lexus. It's available as a hybrid, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Lexus RX 450h (2009 – 2015) cost?