Lexus RX 450h (2009 – 2015) Review

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.

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

Can you recommend a ULEZ compliant vehicle?

"We have three dogs but I also drive to London twice a week so I need a car that’s practical, comfortable and ULEZ compliant. I also do at least one journey a fortnight of 150 miles plus. We own a Freelander for proper winter and fields etc but save that for short trips as it’s a 2007 model. Should I choose a Subaru, Lexus or Discovery Sport?"
The Lexus RX is worth a look. Its petrol-electric hybrid engine will save you money on fuel compared to its non-hybrid rivals and makes the Lexus very relaxing to drive. Lexus' build quality can't be bettered so you can buy a second-hand example relatively worry free. You'll get a serviceable car for around £5000, while £10,000 and above will buy you a really nice example. You'll need more than £40,000 for a nearly new example of the current car. We have reviews for each generation:
Answered by Russell Campbell

Should we buy a Lexus RX 450h or a Range Rover Velar?

"We are looking at a 2018 Lexus RX 450H, which has done 25,000-30,0000 miles or a Range Rover Velar. Both cost approximately £40,000. We have a July 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML 250 for part exchange with a 12-month MoT. Part exchange offers are £11,000 to £12,000. We are concerned about the reliability of the Range Rover but both vehicles are high specification and drive very well on test. Which would be the best buy?"
Lexus has one of the best reputations for reliability. It was rated as the UK's most reliable carmaker in our latest Satisfaction Index, while Land Rover was ranked worse overall: That said, most Land Rover complaints we receive are focused on the Discovery Sport. We've had very few complaints for the Range Rover Velar. And those we have received are listed here:
Answered by Dan Powell

Would an older hybrid car suit a 500-mile weekly commute?

"I'm about to go from 100% home-based to a 400/500-mile per week commute. Currently, I have a 2009 Land Rover Freelander 2 with 144,000 miles on it, going strong. I've put 130,000 miles on it myself over 10 years and serviced it every 5,000 or so miles, but that is still a lot of mileage to be piling 500 or so per week onto. The Freelander will become car number 2 in the household and I need a car for work. I prefer SUV as I've been driving Land Rovers for 25 years and don't enjoy the lower-down position of saloon cars at all. I don't do depreciation or PCPs - my income is too intermittent for that kind of commitment to be comfortable, so £40K+ new cars are out for me. Instead, I take my time and find very low mileage cars where the age has helped depreciation reduce - as was the case with my Freelander - and I look more at mileage than the registration date, as I put a private plate on it anyway. I've been looking at lower mileage Freelander 2s, which are carrying premium prices still, or at low mileage Range Rover Vogue Diesels of 2012-2016 vintage, which are looking good value and well in budget. And...up has popped a Lexus RX450h - registered 2011, under 42,000 miles and at a great price with FSH from Lexus main dealer. I would buy it immediately, but are hybrid batteries of this age (albeit low mileage) bound to have some issues? Short of buying the thing and finding out the hard way that this is the reason for the great price, what can I actually look for or check out? Thanks."
A commute of 500 miles is a lot. I would avoid buying an old, worn-out premium SUV that will give you a long list of running costs and headaches. I think you'd be better off buying a diesel hatchback. The old shape Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC has a good reputation for reliability and returns up to 65mpg:
Answered by Dan Powell

Which used luxury cars are best?

"What are the best used luxury cars for about £14,000?"
A Lexus could be a good option – they're extremely reliable and owners love them. You could find a Lexus RX 450h in budget or a GS. Alternatively, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class is probably the ultimate luxury car but be prepared for high running costs.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

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