Lexus RX (2015 – 2022) Review

Lexus RX (2015 – 2022) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The RX remains a very appealing choice, made even more appealing by the fact that Lexus’ reputation for reliability and customer service is second-to-none in the car industry. For many buyers, that’ll be enough on its own, but the big Lexus has plenty more going for it besides.

+Impressively comfortable ride, really solidly built, Lexus has an impeccable reliability record.

-Infotainment system isn’t great, rivals offer a more rounded driving experience, hybrid drivetrain won’t suit long-distance drivers.

Insurance Groups are between 34–42
On average it achieves 64% of the official MPG figure

The Lexus RX has a couple of key strengths. The firm’s reliability and customer service are the envy of the motor industry, and if you fancy the idea of an SUV that’s also a self-charging hybrid, this is one of the few choices you have. If you spend your days tiptoeing around urban environments, where the RX can make maximum use of the electric bits of its powertrain, then it’ll make a lot of sense, but if you spend your days chugging up and down motorways, you’ll probably be better off with a diesel-powered rival like the Audi Q7 or BMW X5.

It’s fair to say that the British public have never quite taken to the Lexus brand with quite the same enthusiasm as the Americans or the Japanese, but the RX is one of the firm’s success stories in the UK. 

Now in its fourth generation, it’s historically one of the firm’s best-selling cars on these shores, with earlier versions offering buyers an alternative choice in the luxury SUV market in the days when there weren’t that many to choose from. These days, though, buyers can barely move for all the luxury SUVs fighting for their custom. So, what does the latest RX do in order to stand out from a very crowded crowd?

Well, there’s one key difference, and that’s that the RX is a self-charging hybrid. Not a mild hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid, but a self-charging hybrid. Examples of both alternatives are now plentiful in the luxury SUV market, but the RX sits somewhere in between. 

With a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors to provide occasional all-electric drive, along with permanent electrically assisted drive, it’s more sophisticated and more efficient than a mild hybrid, which might employ something as simple as a posh starter motor to technically qualify as a hybrid.

That said, it can’t match the all-electric driving range, or the fantastically ludicrous official mpg figures, of a plug-in hybrid. That said, neither is it as expensive to buy, and if you drive it in the right way, it has the potential to be just as economical in the real world. It offers you many of the same tax advantages, too. Food for thought, that.

The hybrid system is by no means all that the RX has got going for it, though. It’s more interestingly styled than most of the competition, it’s certainly less ubiquitous, and has an interior that, while maybe not quite as lustrous as the best rivals from Germany, has them matched every step of the way for build quality. It’s also supremely well stocked with kit, in terms of both luxury and safety.

Granted, we won’t go pretending the RX is perfect. The infotainment system is fiddly to use, the boot is smaller than you get in most rivals, interior space is a fraction tighter and, while the ride is impressively cosseting, some rivals manage to combine even better comfort with considerably sharper handling, so it’s not as well rounded on the road.

2023 has seen the arrival of an all-new model and you can find out everything you need to know in our Lexus RX review.

Ask Honest John

Which automatic is the most reliable?

"Which five-year-old SUV has the most reliable automatic gearbox?"
The reliability of automatic gearboxes has improved significantly over the years, even for more complex configurations like dual-clutch automatics that have now been around for 20 years. It's also important to remember that no automatic gearbox is impervious to neglect, so if you're buying a used car then a full service history is a must. We would suggest the BMW X3 (or X4) with the eight-speed automatic, the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Lexus RX.
Answered by David Ross

I need to downsize from a Lexus RX450h, what do you recommend?

"I have had a Lexus for over 20 years and currently own a RX450h which I bought new in January 2021. It was to be our final indulgence. Sadly my wife died in June and now, aged 87, I have a car which is much too big for my needs. I am naturally drawn to the new NX, but if I was to leave Lexus can you recommend an alternative high spec petrol hybrid SUV with ease of entry?"
Unfortunately, if you want a premium hybrid SUV that isn't a Lexus, your only other option is plug-in hybrids which need to be charged like an electric car, although they do offer a longer electric range than your Lexus. Models worth looking at include the BMW X5 45e and Audi Q5 TFSI e. By the sounds of it though, you'll be better off with a Lexus NX, which drives like a smaller RX and doesn't need to be plugged in. Naturally, you can also expect it to be very reliable.
Answered by Russell Campbell

What's the best used luxury 4x4 with a beige interior?

"I have a Porsche Cayenne diesel that I like but I want to change having had it for three years. I think it is worth about £27,000. I can add up to £25,000 to the trade-in. I don't like the options from Mercedes-Benz or BMW. But I do want something a bit unusual and luxurious. Beige or cream leather and interior are a must. Air suspension is desirable. Must be reliable and around three years old or so in age. I have been looking at the Range Rover Sport and Maserati Levante but I'm not convinced of reliability of either. Do you have any other ideas? "
Neither the Maserati or the Range Rover have a great record for reliability but they both have air suspension and you'll find plenty of examples with beige or cream leather. The Maserati is the sportier of the two, while the Range Rover is more practical and more comfortable. Lexus and Toyota make the best SUVs for reliability – the Lexus RX is very comfortable and surprisingly good on fuel thanks to its hybrid engine – but neither are exactly inspiring to own. I wonder have you considered the Audi Q8? It's a much rarer sight than the Q7, is slightly sportier to drive but shares the Q7's extremely comfortable air suspension and effortlessly powerful diesel engines, the interior is also very smart and beautifully built, if not as traditional as the Maserati or Range Rover. If you can find one with the right interior colours, it is definitely worth considering.
Answered by Russell Campbell

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Honda CR-V or Lexus RX - which would you choose?

"I have a 5-year-old Audi Q5 and the fuel costs and servicing are ridiculous. It was £2300 for a recent service and two days later the turbo unit packed in and had to be replaced at a further £2100. I’ve had enough and also find Audi garages extremely unhelpful. I'm considering a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV but have also been recommended Honda CR-V and a Lexus RX. What are your thoughts?"
If you value customer service, I would go with the Lexus. Lexus dealers have an excellent reputation for customer care and Lexus cars consistently top reliability surveys. You'll find the Lexus RX gets closer to the posh cabin feel of your Audi than either the Honda or Mitsubishi and Lexus cars come with lots of kit as standard, they have very comfortable seats and great stereos. Parts are not the cheapest, but that's true of any Japanese model. If you value cheap running costs, have somewhere to charge the car and do lots of short commutes, the Mitsubishi could save you a lot of money on petrol, although that's the only reason I would choose it. The Honda, meanwhile, is the most practical of the lot and should also be very reliable, but it's a bit stodgy to drive and you need a degree in computer science to operate the infotainment. As always with these things, it is best to try the cars for yourself before you make a decision.
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a Lexus RX (2015 – 2022) cost?