2017 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid

#6
in Midsize SUVs
2017 MODEL
$53,035 - $56,495 See Inventory Prices

8.8

Overall Rating

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Detailed Review

Hybrids, hybrids, hybrids. That’s all that people in the auto industry ever really talk about these days. Your favorite hypercars are hybrids, your neighbor’s Prius is one and some luxury sedans too. But you don’t hear a lot about “hybrid SUVs” in the world. Well, that’s because 4WD powertrains already weigh more than most alpine ranges and the addition of an electric motor would only mess up the overall efficiency. Or does it? Here’s the 2017 Lexus RX450 h to prove us all wrong…

The RX450h houses a 3.5 liter V6 combined to no lesser than three electric motors. This complex unit is mated to a CVT transmission and makes around 308 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque which are healthy figures for a mid-size SUV. The RX has been here since 1998 but the previous four generations didn’t really make a revolution in the market so this is their chance at redemption.


8.0/10
Features

 

9.0/10
Engine

 

8.4/10
Fuel Economy

 

9.0/10
Interior

 

9.1/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

The RX450h is accompanied in this segment by the BMW X5 xDrive 40e and the Mercedes Benz GLE 550E 4 Matic, both of which are comparatively more established cars than the Lexus. With a starting price of $53,035, the Jap-American hybrid SUV is cheaper than the rivals but could it possibly challenge the technological prowess of the Germans?

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Features

8.0/10

If you’re buying one of these, you certainly wouldn’t spend a lot of time deciding the trim to be chosen as there are only two fairly distinct ones- the $53,035 base model and the $56,495 F-Sport.

Trim Base F Sport
MSRP $53,035 $56,495
Key Features 18-inch wheels 20-inch wheels
Leather upholstery Special interior trim
Heated and ventilated power front seats Heated and ventilated sport seats
40/20/40-split rear seat A lower ride height
Dual-zone automatic climate control Special gauges
Lane departure warning and intervention An engine noise enhancer
Keyless ignition Aadaptive suspension dampers
Automatic braking Adds sportier exterior styling
Forward collision warning Front- or all-wheel drive
Adaptive cruise control  
Power liftgate  

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Engine

9.0/10

The 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride, though its steering is a bit slow to react. There is little difference in performance between this luxury midsize SUV and its gas-only version. It has strong acceleration and smooth transitions from electric to gas power. – cars.usnews

Engine and Transmission

What puts the RX450 h into motion is a very complex hybrid powertrain consisting of a 3.5 liter V6 along with three electric motors. The system pumps out a total of 308 horses sent to all four wheels and generates 247 lb-ft of torque.

In comparison to the X5, that is a lot more oomph but the GLE somehow makes a ridiculous 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque making it the undisputed leader in this department.

Models Lexus rx-450h Bmw X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
MSRP $53,035 $63,200 $66,300
Engine 3.5L 6cyl 2.0L 4 cyl 3.0L 6cyl
Transmission CVT 8-speed Automatic
Horsepower 308 hp 241 hp 362 hp
Torque 247 lb-ft 258 lb-ft 384 lb-ft

Acceleration

The RX is less of a fatso than its rivals meaning it weighs lesser so that’s supposed to mean better acceleration, right? Well, wrong. The figures aren’t terrible as such but the lesser weight definitely makes you question how it’s less quick than its rivals.

It may have something to do with the rivals having better-engineered transmissions as opposed to the lame CVT available in the RX450h. 0-60 MPH happens in 7.8 seconds and the quarter-mile takes 15.1 seconds to be completed.

The quickest car here is the X5 surprisingly because it is both underpowered and heavier compared to the RX. The GLE isn’t so bad either and is the quickest in the quarter mile run at 13.7 seconds.

Models Lexus RX450h Bmw X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
0-60 MPH 7.8 sec 6.2 sec 7.5 sec
Quarter mile 15.1 sec 14.7 sec 13.7 sec
Engine 3.5L 2.0L 3.0L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 5.9 8.8 NA

Handling

The RX450h handles just like its non-hybrid sibling around corners and we’re specifically talking about the new AWD version because the old FWD was discontinued for reasons unknown (maybe because it handled like a Yaris? ). But it is clear that the power going to all the wheels is the right direction to go for this new model because there is a great amount of stability and eagerness to get into tight corners which becomes more appreciable as you get used to driving it.

There is a tiny bit of under-steer at high speeds but even that is eradicated in the sublime F-Sport package which offers a sportier and refined ride. The suspension becomes stiffer in this trim and makes you feel like you’re driving a performance hatchback instead of a 4-tonne SUV.

Braking

Where the lesser weight really accounts for something is the 60-0 braking distance which is nothing short of exceptional. The Hybrid SUV comes to a complete stop from 60 MPH in just 125 ft. making it better at braking than both the Germans here. In fact, the X5 takes 165 ft to come to a stop due to the extra weight. The GLE 550e is the closest rival to the RX450h here as it comes to a complete stop in 130 ft.

The brakes in the front are 12.9 inches and the ones at the rear are 13.3 inches in diameter. Here is a detailed look into the braking figures of the SUV in comparison to its rivals -

Model Lexus RX450h BMW X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
Brake Front (in.) 12.9 13.7 13.8
Brake Rear (in.) 13.3 12.6 13.0
Curb Weight (lbs.) 4740 4790 NA
60-0 MPH (ft.) 125 165 130

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Fuel Economy

8.4/10

The pains of combining that traditional V6 with three electric motors definitely paid off as the fuel economy figures are simply exceptional. Efficiency was obviously expected but this takes the car to the top of the throne in the hybrid SUV market.

In the city, you can expect to get 31 miles to the gallon and on the highway, around 28 MPG which means you get a combined MPG of 30 making it the most efficient car in its class.

Model Lexus rx-450h Bmw X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
MPG (city) 31 18 NA
MPG (highway) 28 24 NA
MPG (combined) 30 20  21

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Interior

9.0/10

The 2017 Lexus RX 450h's cabin is great to look at and beautifully made. It's a real standout in the segment. However, some controls are difficult to use and the backseat isn't as generous as those of some rivals. - Edmunds

Seating and Comfort

Craftsmanship basically went into overdrive in the interior of the RX450. Everything from the stitching to the way the door handles feel is premium and manages to distance itself away from minimalistic Toyota interiors. Every detail of the car and the materials used are exquisite and a few years ago, you could only expect such extravagance from a Maybach or Rolls-Royce.

The seats are beautifully crafted and provide exceptional thigh and back support to each of the five passengers riding inside the RX. There is also a 3-row model which could be yours in order. There is tons of legroom and headroom guaranteeing reduced amounts of exhaustion during long drives.

Model Lexus rx-450h Bmw X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
Passenger capacity 5 5 5
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.5/57.8/44.1 40.5/61.5/40.4 40.4/58.5/40.3
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.2/57.6/38.0 38.8/60.0/36.6 38.5/58.4/38.4

Interior features

Some standard interior features in the SUV include -

  • Voice command system
  • Lexus Enform App
  • 12.3 inch infotainment screen
  • Sirius XM Radio
  • Heads-up display
  • Satellite Navigation with 3D Imaging
  • Mark Levinson sound system
  • Remote touch system
  • Steering wheel mounted controls
  • Bluetooth technology

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Exterior

9.1/10

Terms like “bold,” “aggressive” and “highly styled” all describe the 2017 Lexus RX’s look. “Polarizing” is another. Keeping with the rest of the Lexus lineup, it begins with a gaping “spindle” grille up front, fluid headlight housings with LED lights, a high beltline, and the 2017 RX’s most divisive element: a flowing, blacked-out C-pillar behind the rear windows. - Kelley Blue Book

Dimensions and Weight

Okay, you might have read earlier that we found the new Lexus RX to be a well-designed car even though it’s not conventionally beautiful or elegant like a Beemer X5 or a Merc GLE. Those cars are obviously good looking but let’s face it, they’re boring. They fail to capture your attention like the RX does with its ludicrous design with weird shapes, the spindle grille, and helmet-shaped roof.

You can’t deny that this car is infinitely more interesting to look at than the other two and it’s a bold step from Lexus to stand out from the crowd. Cars should be about individuality and here is the RX taking it a step further. This is exactly why we feel obligated to appreciate the design due to the sheer creativity and fun of it.

Model Lexus rx-450h Bmw X5 xdrive 40e Mercedes Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC
Curb weight (lbs.) 4740 4790 NA
Length(in) 192.5 192.4 189.7
Width(in) 74.6 76.3 75.8
Height(in) 67.7 69.4 70.7
Ground clearance (in) 8.2 NA NA

Exterior Features

Some standard exterior features include -

  • Automatic high beams
  • Automatic wipers
  • Rearview camera
  • Sunroof
  • LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, taillights and running lights)

 

 

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Safety

Safety features

  • Antilock Braking System (ABS)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • 10-Airbag system
  • Lexus Enform safety assistance
  • LED cornering foglamps
  • Backup camera with dynamic gridlines
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Vehicle Proximity Notification System
  • Rigid Body structure with crumple zones
  • Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM prevents skids)
  • Direct tire pressure monitoring
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Premium triple beam LED headlights
  • Windshield wiper De-icer

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Competition

Lexus RX450 h vs BMW X5 xDrive 40e

Before the introduction of the X6, the X5 was the one German SUV everybody took seriously and it even paved the way for brands like Audi and Mercedes Benz to come in with more competitive sub-compact luxury SUVs. From the numerously available trims in the X5 line-up, the xDrive 40e is the efficiency-centered hybrid variant.

It looks macho and aggressive on the outside but on the inside, the technological sophistication completely contradicts the vibe from this large SUV. If the RX is too wild for your taste, this stays right below that and has a more appealing design with similar benefits although at a much higher rate. At the end of the day, the RX triumphs over it in terms of value for money.

Lexus RX450 h vs Mercedes GLE 550e 4Matic

If the new GLE reminds you of the ML, you’re not wrong as it is basically the same car with revised mechanicals and now a hybrid powertrain. It got AWD (Merc calls it 4MATIC) and is a better off-roader compared to the RX450h and the X5. This is the most expensive car in its class and starts off at an eye-watering $66,300 for relatively the same features and tech as the Beemer and the Lexus

It is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 and an electric motor which together makes 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The interior has been hugely improved and has tough guy characteristics reminiscent of a G-Class SUV. If greater off-road performance and road presence are on your list of priorities while buying an SUV, then this will suit you better than the RX450h.

2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid Final Verdict

The older RX models were good sellers and had managed to bring in a lot of revenue for Lexus but for enthusiasts and SUV buyers, it was easily replaceable or was usually a stepping stone for more exciting things. This one, however, is a proper luxury SUV inside and out and the German alternatives are gonna have a hard time convincing to-be customers to move away from the Lexus.

The interior is gorgeous, the ride is blissful, the performance is sufficient and it looks like nothing else out on the road. Plus, it obviously has a better resale value than the X5 and the GLE. In conclusion, the RX450h is an all-rounder and a force to be reckoned with in this segment.

Pros

Powerful V6 engine

Most fuel efficient car in its class

Refined and quiet

Bold looks

Well-designed interior

Cheaper than the competition

Cons

Not as quick as the competition

Boot space has been compromised

More features are optional this time

What's New?

For 2017, the Lexus RX450h gets a Front Wheel Drive F Sport model. There are important standard safety features like forward collision warning and mitigation, automatic high beams, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.



Styles

 2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Silver Lining Metallic color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Satin Cashmere Metallic color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Obsidian color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Nightfall Mica color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Nebula Gray Pearl color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Matador Red Metallic color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Eminent White Pearl color  2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in Caviar color
Silver Lining Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine

9.0

Fuel Economy

8.4

Interior

9.0

Exterior

9.1

Driving

9.0

8.8

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid 4dr SUV AWD

4dr SUV AWD

power
308 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
30 combined

$53,035


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) Starting at $53,035 MSRP (31/30/28) 308 hp @ 6000 rpm, 3.5 L, V6, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
cvt all wheel drive 5 NA

 2017 Lexus RX 450h hybrid F SPORT

F SPORT

power
308 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
30 combined

$56,495


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
F SPORT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) Starting at $56,495 MSRP (31/30/28) 308 hp @ 6000 rpm, 3.5 L, V6, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
cvt all wheel drive 5 NA

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