Road test 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30

Road test 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30

No worries, no hurry. Fifth generation of well-established SUV finally gets a PHEV version.


The Mk5 RX is entering the ring swinging with a host of clever technology, a fresh new look and a choice of three hybrid powertrains (including a sporty 366bhp for the RX500h). Is that enough to remain competitive, though, as so much has changed since the RX debuted in 1999?

The car we’re driving is the first ever plugin hybrid RX, using the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder system used in the Toyota RAV4, with an 18.1kWh battery and an electric motor on each axle. That gives it a maximum output of 304bhp, an electric range of around 40 miles and all-wheel drive. The RX is reasonably fast in a straight line, although it trails key rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLE 400e V167 and BMW X5 xDrive 50e G05. Lexus says the 450h+ can sprint to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, which is 0.4 seconds behind the Mercedes-Benz and 1.7 slower than the BMW. But the RX isn’t set up for speed, so you don’t go looking for it.


Road test 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30


Road test 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30

After just half an hour behind the wheel, you’ll be conditioned to drive more sensibly. The RX never eggs you on to go faster. It reins you in to slow down. Prime example – the engine is hitched to an e-CVT, so if you ask for maximum throttle the revs will soar unattractively skywards.


Road test 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30

It’s heavy, too. The most generously equipped RX 450h+ weighs more than 2.2 tonnes – and you can tell the chassis is having a hard time managing that bulk. Drive over a dip in the road and the RX will compress into the tarmac like it’s just had a skip full of cast iron dropped on its roof. We reckon the springs are a little too soft and the dampers don’t offer enough resistance early on in their stroke to control the weight of the RX crashing down on them. Our Takumi-spec test car also came with adaptive dampers, but switching them to Sport mode didn’t make much difference. There’s a flipside, though. The RX is great at filtering out sharp bumps. Even though our car was fitted with the largest 21-inch alloy wheels available, the chassis felt like it could round off everything short of an asteroid crater, even at motorway speeds.


2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30 - interior rear seats

Wind and tyre noise are also kept in check and, when you’re pottering around in EV mode, the powertrain is almost silent. We haven’t spent enough time in the RX to make a call on its real-world fuel economy, but it seems to mete out its battery power intelligently. At the end of a 70-mile route, we still had a third of the battery left – and the trip gauge said we’d been averaging an impressive 99.9mpg. And once you’ve emptied the battery, it starts running like a parallel hybrid, with the engine topping up the battery so the car can still make some use of electric power – and you’re not dragging around the dead weight of the battery and motors. Like the RAV4, we expect it to return around 40mpg in this scenario.

The cabin’s stunning, especially if you splash out on the range-topping Takumi specification. The cream leather upholstery and enormous panoramic sunroof make the interior feel light and airy – and there’s loads of technology to keep you comfortable and entertained.


First verdict

Comfortable, refined, efficient and feels suitably expensive. But for similar money there are rivals that do all this and more ★★★★★

The chassis felt like it could round off everything short of an asteroid crater

Every version comes with a 14-inch screen. Comfort is what the RX does best. In fact, that’s pretty much all it does.

THE FIRST HOUR

  • 6 minutes What the hell is that bonging? Why won’t it shut up?
  • 12 minutes There’s a warning chime every time the speed limit changes?!
  • 30 minutes It’s noisy when you put your foot down. Still bonging at me, too
  • 45 minutes Found it. Sub-menu on the touchscreen which, by the way, is rather good
  • 57 minutes Hit a dip in the road and the dampers nearly let the sump hit the floor. Yikes

▲ PLUS Comfortable interior; great infotainment; refined

MINUS ▼ Rivals are faster; suspension too soft at times; expensive


TECHNICAL DATA 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ AL30

  • PRICE £64,950 (RX450h+; rangefrom £59,950)
  • POWERTRAIN 18.1kWh battery, 2487cc four-cylinder plus two e-motors, auto, all-wheel drive
  • MAX POWER 304bhp @ 5600rpm
  • MAX TORQUE 167lb ft @ 3600rpm
  • PERFORMANCE ACCELRATION 6.5sec 0-62mph
  • MAX SPEED 124mph
  • ON SALE Now
  • WEIGHT 2240kg
  • EFFICIENCY 235.4-256.8mpg,40-43-mile EVrange
  • EMISSIONS 25-26g/km CO2
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