Lexus RX Review 2024

Lexus RX At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
More luxurious and upmarket than ever, the latest Lexus RX continues on the hybrid path set by its predecessors. It undercuts some key rivals on price, too.

+Hugely comfortable cabin isolates passengers from the outside world. Strong performance from all engine options. Plenty of impressive tech as standard.

-Not as practical as some competitor SUVs. Infotainment system requires time to figure out. Ride quality and handling could be better.

The Lexus RX was a trendsetter in the luxury SUV class, being one of the earliest hybrid models available. The latest version of the RX builds on that legacy, with either regular hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains available. It now faces plenty of rivals, though, including the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

In the world of upmarket SUVs, the Lexus RX is one of the longest-serving models around. The first version was launched all the way back in 1998, and we are now enter the fifth generation with this brand-new model. 

Lexus makes big claims for its latest SUV, with the promise of it being completely reinvented and offering a ‘step-change in dynamic performance’. There is the company’s first use of a turbocharged hybrid engine, plus there’s an all-new plug-in hybrid model.

In fact, the entire Lexus RX range is now hybrid-only. Lexus had always been ahead of the curve in terms of hybridisation. A petrol-electric hybrid version of the second-generation Lexus RX was revealed in 2004, making it one of the earliest SUVs to gain electric power. As such, Lexus is arguably the industry-leader in producing hybrid SUVs.

The Lexus RX 350h is now the entry-level ‘self-charging’ hybrid, using the same 250PS 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motors found in the Toyota RAV4. All UK-specification Lexus RX models come with E-Four all-wheel drive, which uses a separate electric motor to power each axle.

At the top of the range is the high-performance 371PS Lexus RX 500h. This has the new turbocharged 2.4-litre engine and, somewhat unusually for a hybrid Lexus, comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. The other two Lexus RX models have a continuously variable auto transmission (CVT) – as used in Toyota/Lexus hybrid vehicles for decades.

Sandwiched between the two regular hybrids is the first Lexus RX plug-in hybrid. The Lexus RX 450h+ boasts 309PS, and uses an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack to drive up to 43 miles on electric power alone. This ability, and the correspondingly low official CO2 emissions figures, make the Lexus RX 450h+ very attractive to company car drivers.

Even though Lexus has promised a change in dynamics, on the road the Lexus RX cannot match the level of engagement found in its closest rivals. There is plenty of grip, and a low centre of gravity dictates that it should be able to corner with gusto. However, body-roll is less contained than in a BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne, meaning keener drivers will be likely to back-off from more committed progress. This is despite a ride quality at the firm end of the scale, although it never gets uncomfortable.

In truth, the Lexus RX is best enjoyed as a luxury SUV above all else. This starts with door handles that open electrically, instead of mechanically, and continues with an interior trimmed in plush materials. Even entry-level Premium Pack versions feel suitably upmarket on the inside, while the range-topping Takumi is genuinely quite special.

Levels of standard equipment are also strong. Combined with the Lexus RX’s competitive pricing, this makes it good value for money. Only a smaller boot than other hybrid-powered SUVs is likely to be an issue for those considering a Lexus RX.

Beyond that, this is a hugely impressive luxury SUV, with efficient hybrid powertrains adding to the sense of serenity inside.

What does a Lexus RX cost?

Buy new from £57,208(list price from £67,100)