One of the pioneering hybrid luxury SUVs, the Lexus RX 450h has maintained its status as among the segment’s best choices for 15 years. It’s even better for 2022.
Continuing the fourth generation that debuted in 2016, the five-passenger people mover has only a few upgrades—because few changes were needed. New color choices inside and outside are offered and fog lights are a stand-alone option. For discerning tastes, the limited-production RX 450h Black Line returns, but only 400 units are available. Beyond the special edition, the 2022 Lexus RX 450h is available in base and F Sport trims. All three have hybrid powertrains based on a 3.5-liter V6 engine. All-wheel drive is standard. An extended-length version called the RX 450hL has three rows of seats.
The RX 450h belongs to the unofficial category of vehicles requiring little adaptation from occupants. The driver and passengers feel like they belong. Seats are positioned ideally in the handsome, spacious cabin. The experience is further enhanced with a surprisingly quiet ride, particularly for an SUV.
While not the quickest in its class, the 450h advances without hesitation. Its hybrid engine provides a smooth, steady ride that glides over road imperfections. It feels good on the road, with easy steering. The 450h received a suspension upgrade in 2020. If U-turns are required in tight situations, the SUV handles all challenges.
Throughout its lineup, Lexus vehicles offer a near-exhaustive list of standard features. The base RX 450h equipment highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, nine-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon and Alexa integration. The Mark Levinson sound system, an industry standard, provides superior sound.
Rain-sensing windshield wipers, a wireless mobile phone charger, power-folding outside mirrors, a power liftgate, keyless entry and push-button engine start and dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and six USB ports are also standard. Lexus is at the forefront of technology with its Enform service, safety, remote and Wi-Fi connected services accessible through an application.
Lexus manufactures cars with a purpose. Materials are first-class, used in a well-orchestrated, smooth design with all parts ideally positioned, from the real wood used for accents in the cabin to the ease with which the rear seat slides and reclines. It’s like driving while sitting in an interior decorator’s family room.
Utility is still important in vehicles called SUVs. The RX 450h has 16 cubic feet of trunk space—and while that’s not as spacious as some competitors, the area isn’t restricted by design obstructions thanks to the vehicle’s 40/20/40-split folding rear seats. The total space holds lots of luggage, groceries, golf clubs, soccer equipment, etc. The towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Given that the average price of a new car in the United States is now about $45,000, the modern-looking, sporty 2022 Lexus RX 450h, particularly the F-Sport trim, is a bargain, all things considered.
Facts & figures
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.8 seconds
Fuel economy: 31 mpg city, 28 mpg hwy
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $53,820
Manufacturer’s website: lexus.com
Price As Tested: $61,650
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Hybrid Component, Hybrid Warranty, 8 years/100,000 miles, Free Maintenance, 1 year/10,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/unlimited miles