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New Car Review | Lexus RX450h+

Published 15th June 2023Read Time 17 min

Good Stuff 👍

Astonishing refinement, good looks

Bad Stuff 👎

Not cheap, fiddly infotainment

What is the Lexus RX40h+?

Lexus’ take on a large SUV now comes with a plug

Lexus gave us their first-generation RX SUV back in 1998 and since then there have been several iterations of the super refined SUV, and now a new, 5th generation model has landed and this time Lexus has bowed to market pressures and added a plug and we know that the Toyota / Lexus family does a super job at these, the Toyota RAV4 PHEV is our favourite PHEVs and obviously the company know a thing or two about hybrids. With the RX450h+ you get both a plug-in hybrid and a regular hybrid. There is a 2.5-litre hybrid petrol engine, working with a 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. That sizeable battery has the potential to drive the RX450H+ to 65km of electric-only driving, which is actually quite possible (although not from motorway driving) and it also serves to drive down the C02 figures of the car by a massive amount. Lexus is about refinement and understated luxury and over successive generations the RX has proven itself to be more than a match for the usual German rivals.

How about the looks of the Lexus RX450h?

Bold design from a usually understated brand

Lexus has a very distinctive design language which has evolved nicely over the years, but they are still capable of extremes in this area, from very safe (ES) to very modern (LC) although there are commonalities throughout. Lexus are exploiting their “Next Chapter” design theme to the full here with the RX.

This car has a very big road presence and is quite a bit more striking than some of the RX’s more anonymous predecessors. There is a huge grille and it is a seamless unit that integrates with the body. There are new slim headlight units and a front track that is wider by 20mm. This new model has a longer bonnet and a longer wheelbase, even though the length of the car stays the same, so the shorter overhangs really improve the look of the car.

At the rear, the combination lights are set in an L-shaped light bar with a single lens that spans the full width of the car and wraps around the corners. Like so many car makers these days, the Lexus badge has been replaced with bold LEXUS lettering on the rear.

There are 21” alloy wheels (20-spoke design) on the model we drove and they looks stunning.

Paddy Comyn
“The interior is first class and stands it out from many of its main rivals. The ”
Paddy Comyn AA Road Tester

What is the inside of the Lexus RX450h like?

Superb quality, beautiful materials.

Jump inside the RX450H+ and you will quickly appreciate that you are in something different and a bit special and you worry less about the price tag as a result and its arguably one of the best interiors on the market. Lexus say they have a “less is more” approach to interiors and the aim is to offer a sense of space, well-being, refinement and comfort. The materials are truly special and will embarrass some of its German rivals. The combinations of high quality plastics and leather and the soft-opening and closing storage areas are like a first class hotel.

Lexus calls its interior design approach “Tazuna” which aims to make the layout more logical. There is a new large 14-inch multimedia touchscreen. This system isn’t the most intuitive by any means with some slightly illogical menus but most people will probably stick with the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is wireless. There is a heads-up display as standard on the more expensive Premium model (€97,680) but the Luxury model we were in is certainly very well appointed.

The RX450h+ has a very spacious cabin and plenty of space for adults in the rear, too although headroom is a little limited for taller passengers. Luggage space at the back is very impressive with 612 litres of luggage space.

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What is the Lexus RX450h+ like to drive?

Smooth, quiet, refined and pretty potent.

The RX450h+ now sits on the same platform as the NX, but redesigned to be used in the RX. The car, overall, is around 90kg lighter than the outgoing model and Lexus say it is more rigid too. Making the car more rigid should, they say, translate into better ride quality, better responsiveness and handline as well as superior comfort. Park of the weight saving changes include changing the front wings from steel to aluminium, a measure that has helped the car’s front/rear weight distribution. There has also been considerable efforts put in to make sure there is the ideal door closing sound.

There is no surprise that the RX is comfortable, because it has always done that excellently. What is possibly more surprising is how good the handling is on the RX. There is a new McPherson system at the front – which Lexus say is optimised for ride comfort and linear response, with better shock absorption of shock and vibration from uneven road surfaces. There is also an new multi-link set-up at the rear, engineered for better lateral stability and handling the higher torque levels. This feels like a much more sorted car to drive, with less rolling than before. It also pitches less under braking thanks to something called Vehicle Braking Posture Control which varies the front/rear brake force distribution. There is also a new Trail Mode, which is a first for the RX, integrating control of the all-wheel drive system and drive force to prevent wheel-slip when driving on slippery or uneven roads.

In terms of the powertrain, there is a 2.5-litre plug-in hybrid powertrain putting out 309hp, which can sprint the RX to 100km/h in an impressive 6.5 seconds. There is a four-cylinder Atkinson cycle 2.5-litre hybrid engine and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 18.1 kWh capacity. There is another electric motor at the rear to allow for full-time all-wheel drive. While the power is similar to the outgoing version there is more torque (335Nm) and the 0-100km/h time is shorter.

What is the EV performance like in the Lexus RX450h+?

Good range from a small battery

The RX450h+ comes with a sizeable (for a PHEV) 18.1 kWh battery and this is good for up to 65km of EV driving and it does seem pretty possible. We drove from Drogheda to Skerries and back again (49km) on EV power alone and still have 50% charge left which was really very impressive. The car will always default to EV mode, but there is also the option of Auto EV/HV mode, which automatically brings the hybrid engine into play when extra power is needed. You can also select HV mode to maximise efficient driving, automatically maintaining the battery’s state of charge. There is also the facility to charge the battery up while driving in Battery Charging Mode, which helps ensure more battery power is available when EV driving is required, for example prior to entering a zero or low emissions zone.

The RX450h is fitted with a 6.6 kWh on-board charger so it takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge it.

Which Lexus RX450h+ should I buy?

The Luxury version is fine.

There is a choice of two RX450h+, these are the Luxury and the Premium. The Luxury, which is the model we were driving is €89,070 and it really has all you could possible need including 21” wheels, Pan roof, the 14” touchscreen and much more. You can go the whole hog and get the Premium for €97,680 and add items such as the 21-speaker Mark Levinson Sound system and BladeScan Adaptive High-beam System, but truthfully the Luxury is more than enough. You are still cheaper than the entry BMW X5 (€97,495), but perhaps more comparable would be a BMW X3 xDrive30e M Sport with 21” wheels which would come in at €74,000. The Lexus is around €190mm longer, 20mm taller and 40mm taller and has a much larger boot but you’d be saving €15,000 by choosing the not-much-smaller X3. The Lexus feels much better in terms of quality and has a more efficient PHEV powertrain.

Is the Lexus RX450h+ safe?

Superb safety features

The Lexus RX450h+ gets the latest generation of Lexus Safety System + and many of these are updated using over-the-air updates. There is a very advanced Pre-Collision system on this car and it now provides Emergency Steering Assist. There is also a very clever Obstacle Anticipation Assist which will spot a hazard such a pedestrian about to cross the road or walking along the road margin, cyclists and parked cars. There is also a Driver Monitor which uses a camera mounted above the steering wheel to constantly check the condition of the driver, recognising if they have become distracted, or lost concentration.


A really impressive car.

The Lexus RX450h+ is a really refined and well sorted SUV with a decent EV range and good fuel economy. The interior is first class and stands it out from many of its main rivals. The price is not cheap though and that means it might end up a pretty rare sight on Irish roads.

Spec Check ⚙️

Lexus RX450h+


2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine along with two electric motors supported by an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack delivering four-wheel drive and a combined output of 309hp.




6.5 seconds

Range on EV mode

Up to 65km


2.5 hours

Top Speed



25g/km at the tailpipe

Luggage capacity



From €89,070

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