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2021 Lexus RX 450h Review - Range, Features, Performance, Packages, And Rivals

Madhav A Nigam's image

Madhav A Nigam

Content Writer June 19, 2020 at 05:24 AM
The 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid remains the same trusty steed from the previous year with its bold spindle grille and reliable build quality. It’s spacious, comfortable, and offers a decent ride without any qualms, whilst making sure that you are safe at all times. The Lexus is expected to come with the same 306hp motor that delivers combined MPG figures of 30.

From a brand that has given the world stellar performance pieces, comfortable saloons, and comfortable SUVs, comes yet another appellation of a known moniker. The house that also makes the legendary LFA sports car, brings forth the 2021 Lexus RX 450h. 

The 2021 Lexus RX 450h carries forward as is in the new decade with minor modifications in the features being offered. It is comfortable, spacious, and is packed with one of the most elaborate safety suite ever seen on a Lexus. With a vehicle worthy as this, the competitors are equally worthy. 

They are the Japanese brother, Acura MDX Hybrid, the versatile British, Land Rover Discovery Hybrid, and the American broadsword, Ford Explorer Hybrid. So let’s see how it fares. 

Trim Levels and Features

Luxury and class go hand-in-hand when discussing the Lexus RX 450h. The ride is offered in a standalone trim with most of the features as standard. These range from creature comforts to technology bits to cosmetic offerings. 

Trims

Lexus RX 450h

MSRP (AWD)

N/A

Key Features

Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 with Head-up Display

 

Power Rear Door with Kick Sensor

 

12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment with new Remote touchpad

 

Triple Beam LED Headlamps and Taillamps with LED Cornering Foglamps

 

SiriusXM, HD Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, HomeLink, Bluetooth, and WiFi integration

 

15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio Sound System

 

Multi-zone Climate Control

 

Power Adjustable Front Seats with Nuluxe Upholstery 

Besides the existing features, you get the option to choose from various packages, accessories, and features during the customization stage.

This is one of the most engrossing experiences you will come across since you can change any number of features and packages until it becomes your definition of perfect. 

Engine and Performance

With an eye to the health of the environment, the 2021 RX 450h is a hybrid (h stands for hybrid). The conventional powertrain is a 3.5L V6 that works in conjunction with an electric motor to produce a total of 308 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque.
The powertrain comes married to an e-CVT which is based on Toyota Hybrid Drive II. As compared to traditional CVTs, this transmission does a great job of putting power on the wheels. 

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

MSRP

N/A

$52,900

$52,800

$54,475

Engine

3.5L V6 with electric motor

3.0L V6 with one electric motor

2.0L turbocharged I-4 with hybrid system 

3.3L V6 with hybrid system

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

e-CVT

7-Speed Automated Manual

9-Speed Automatic

10-Speed shiftable Automatic

Power (hp @ RPM)

308 @ 6,000

321 @ 6,300

286 @ 5,500

318

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

247 @ 4,600

289 @ 5,000

295 @ 1,500

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

In comparison to the other hybrid SUVs, the most powerful is the Acura MDX followed by the Ford Explorer. The Land Rover Discovery sits this one out since its performance numbers are sub-par compared to the others. 

How fast can the Lexus RX 450h go?

While hybrid cars are known for their handsy approach and quick acceleration, the Lexus RX 450h is not one of those. Floor the pedal, and you won’t get that flung back into your seat feel. It starts out pretty relaxed and stays the same throughout. 

 

With this approach, the RX 450h completes the 0-60 run in 6.6 seconds. 

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.6 

6.3 

N/A

7.2

Quarter Mile (seconds)

14.8 

14.6 

N/A

N/A

Top Speed (MPH)

N/A

143 

134 

137

Engine

3.5L V6 with electric motor

3.0L V6 with one electric motor

2.0L turbocharged I-4 with hybrid system 

3.3L V6 with hybrid system

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

Despite its relaxed approach, the Lexus RX manages to stay in the top crop, second only to the Acura MDX. The Explorer’s heavy and bulky stature takes a toll on its acceleration since it takes the longest to touch 60mph

Lexus RX 450h Brakes

The brakes are as refined as it gets in a Lexus. The car possesses a very calming and stable approach to braking. It comes with ABS and EBD and does not allow any jitteriness to creep through to the interiors even in harsh conditions.

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

Brake Rotors Front (inches)

13.3

12.6

14.2

N/A

Brake Rotors Rear (inches)

12.9

13

13.8

N/A

Curb Weight (lbs)

4740 

4471 

4145

4969

60-0 MPH (feet)

N/A

116

121

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

The Acura MDX takes the shortest distance to come to a stop, followed by the Land Rover Discovery. The Lexus comes with one the biggest brakes in the business, and hence will stop in a comparably respectable distance. 

How is the drive experience of the Lexus RX 450h?

While Lexus cars are usually on point with the drive experience, the RX 450h misses the mark. The suspension is tuned on the softer side, and so, on tight curves, you might feel unnerved. The steering wheel is average and does not offer much in terms of feedback.

It has been tuned for a comfortable and cozy ride which it delivers aplenty. But that is pretty much it. If you have been looking for a laid back driver that does not care much about an exhilarating experience, then the Lexus RX 450h should be on your bucket list. 

What fuel economy does the Lexus RX 450h offer?

Thankfully, the saving grace of the powertrain comes disguised as the fuel economy. As a hybrid, even the big-block V6 becomes fuel-efficient. The Lexus RX 450h offers 31 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on the highway, and 30 MPG combined.

Also, it comes with a decently sized fuel tank which helps its case to offer a great range overall after a full refuel.

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

MPG (City)

31

26

N/A

N/A

MPG (Highway)

28

27

N/A

N/A

MPG (Combined)

30

27

N/A

N/A

Fuel Capacity

17.2 gallons

19.4 gallons

17.7 gallons

19.3

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

482/533/516 miles

504/524/523 miles

N/A

N/A

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/yr)

5.9

6.4

N/A

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

The car offers more economy in the city because the motor is active primarily on slower speeds in the traffic to maximize fuel usage. And when you are out on the highway, the engine comes into play more predominantly.

How are the interiors of the Lexus RX 450h?

Enter into the Lexus RX 450h and you are in for a world of luxury. The dual-tone upholstery, flanked by smooth metal or wood inserts. The ride offers one of the best and feature-packed interiors for its price. Whether it's the darkened upholstery or the light one, it will be beautiful since they are perfectly complimenting.

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

Seating Capacity

5

7

5

6

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

39.4/57.8/44.1

38.1/61.1/41.4

39.5/57.3/39.1

40.7/61.8/43

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

38.2/57.8/38.0

38.3/59.1/36.6

38.7/55.9/38.1

40.5/61.9/39

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

The ride comes with comfortable seating for 5 passengers. Spacious from top to bottom, even the tall guys cannot fault the ride for its spacious approach. The cushioning is on point and provides bolstering to allow for a comfortable long ride. The notable features that you will find in the cabin are:

  • Multifunction Steering Wheel with Tilt and Telescopic Adjustment
  • Leather upholstery on Seats, Dashboard, and steering wheel
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Keyless Ignition
  • Climate Control with Interior Air Filtration
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Dual Illuminating Vanity Mirrors
  • Electrochromatic Inside Rearview Mirror
  • Hands-Free Entry
  • 4 One-Touch Power Windows
  • Color Heads-Up Display
  • Two-Tone Instrument Panel
  • Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
  • Universal Tablet Holder
  • Illuminated Door Sills
  • Power Folding Heated Rear Seats 
  • Height Adjustable Passenger Seat
  • Height Adjustable Driver Seat
  • 8 -Way Power Adjustable Passenger Seat
  • 8 -Way Power Adjustable Driver Seat with Power Lumbar Support
  • Nuluxe Interior Trim

Every now and then, you might find a bump or two creeping inside since the ride cannot mask this owing to the soft suspension. That being said, the interiors of the RX 450h are immensely silent, so much so that you might be able to take a serene nap if the bumps do not bother you.

What is there to keep me entertained?

To add to the comfort and serenity, some light music always goes a long way. And to help you do that, the car comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that packs a punch. It uses the same trackpad as well, but the touchscreen is a welcome change. The following is what you will get in the setup:
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen system
  • Color Heads-Up Display
  • 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package
  • Satellite Radio
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • AUX and USB Ports
  • Bluetooth
  • 4G LTE WiFi 
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Navigation System

Thankfully, the ride makes up for its shortcomings in the well-built and tech-friendly interiors. For music lovers as well, the brand has left no stone unturned with the Mark Levinson music system. 

How much cargo space does the Lexus RX 450h have?

The cargo space in the ride is sub-par considering its size. The Lexus RX 450h comes 18 cu-ft of the cargo-carrying capacity, which is enough to carry 3 medium-sized suitcases, 1 small suitcase, and 2 duffle bags before it becomes full.

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

18.0

15.0 

32.7

18.2

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

While the Land Rover Discovery stayed silent all this while, there is no beating it in terms of cargo space. The Acura MDX which has been the forerunner takes the backseat with even smaller cargo capacity. 

Is the Lexus RX 450h good looking?

Following in the footsteps of progressive styling, the Lexus RX 450h looks particularly dashing with its current attire. It is bold, stylish, and one of the best looking rides on the market for its asking price. The headlamps with L-shaped DRLs and the wider and prominent spindle grille adds another dimension to the overall design scheme.

Models

Lexus RX 450h

Acura MDX Hybrid*

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid*

Ford Explorer Hybrid*

Curb Weight (lbs)

4740 

4471 

4145

4969

Length (inches)

192.5

196.2

181

198.8

Width (inches)

74.6

77.7

75

78.9

Height (inches)

67.7

67.4

68

69.9

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.2

7.3

8.3

7.9

Wheelbase (inches)

109.8

111.0

107.9

119.1

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

Walk over to the back, and the L-shaped taillamps also make an appearance. The wide rear lip and dual exhaust vents give it a very sporty appearance. Though it is spacious inside, the outer design makes it look pretty compact. The notable features of the exteriors are:

  • Heated and power-adjustable side Mirrors with Turn signals
  • 20" Dark Silver Alloy Wheels with all-season tires
  • L-Shaped LED Taillamps
  • Door Edge Guards
  • Mudguards
  • Triple Beam LED Auto-Leveling Headlamps W/Adaptive Front Lighting System
  • Touch-Free Power Rear Door W/Kick Sensor
  • Door Edge Film By 3M
  • Panoramic Moonroof W/Aluminum Roof Rails

Besides the pre-existing features, the brand also provides many accessories and add-on packages to amp up the style of the car. Whether you want cosmetic upgrades, or feature upgrades, or both, the world is your oyster.

Is the Lexus RX 450h safe?

Imbued with the same sense of safety and reliability as its parent Toyota, the Lexus RX 450h comes with an elaborate safety suite that is near perfect. It is really a feat how the ride has put so many safety features in such a compact frame. Some of the standout features are:

  • 10-Dual Stage SRS Airbags
  • Rear Door Child Safety Locks
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Stability Control
  • Remote Anti-Theft Alarm System
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Traction Control
  • Pre-Collision Safety System
  • 4-Wheel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • Emergency Braking Preparation
  • Emergency Braking Assist
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Child Seat Anchors
  • Lane Departure Warning Accident Avoidance System
  • Low-light pedestrian detection
  • daytime bicyclist detection
  • road sign information
  • Lexus Enform Safety Connect
  • Panoramic View Monitor
  • Smart Stop Technology
  • Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management 
  • Rain Sensing Wipers with Windshield Wiper De-icer
  • Auto-Levelling Headlamps

The NHTSA has not tested the Lexus RX in 2020, however, in 2019, the ride managed to secure a perfect 5-star rating. Furthermore, it received an overall GOOD rating from IIHS and is also the 2020 Top Safety Pick in its segment.

With such accolades to its name, you are assured that you are safe at all times no matter what. 

Lexus RX 450h vs The Competition

Acura MDX Hybrid

The Acura MDX Hybrid is one of the best ones on the block. It's powerful, spacious, and offers comfortable seating in the third row as well. The interiors are plush and add a layer of uptown feel. The clear-cut superior of the lot, it extracts a higher price than the Lexus, which is the only caveat. 

Land Rover Discovery Hybrid

The long time chariot of luxury SUV lovers, the Land Rover Discovery is widely regarded as the most versatile offering from the brand. It is stylish, spacious, and offers a bang for the buck with its offerings. The cargo space is the biggest in the segment, but in all other aspects, the Lexus has it beat. So, it comes down if you want a bigger cargo or a spacious cabin. 

Ford Explorer Hybrid

The Ford Explorer never set out to be a hybrid, yet in 2020 the ride has adorned that outfit. It is bulky, the interiors are everyday quality and the performance is also average. Thankfully, it is cost-effective to maintain and own in the long run. It also comes with the tell-tale reliability of the Ford. So, if you want a daily driver hybrid, then the Explorer Hybrid should be your pick.

Is the 2021 Lexus EX450h worth buying?

Stylish, reliable, and luxurious. These are the words that perfectly describe the Lexus RX 450h. The performance is sub-par but the plush and feature-rich interiors make up for the blows. Also, it costs significantly less than the rest.
So, If you want something that is laid back and makes comfort as its foremost priority, then the 2021 Lexus RX 450h should be your pick of the lot.

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