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2021 Lexus RX Hybrid Review

The Lexus RX Hybrid ranks midpack in the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class. While it has great predicted reliability and a comfortable ride, it struggles to match the agility and cargo space of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Silky ride
  • Lengthy features list
  • Opulent cabin
  • Perfect predicted reliability rating
  • Less nimble than rivals
  • Limited cargo space
  • Finicky Remote Touch infotainment interface
  • Miniscule third row

New for 2021

  • Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert now standard
  • Wireless device charging newly optional

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 6.4
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Lexus RX Hybrid a Good SUV?

Yes, the Lexus RX Hybrid is a good vehicle. It has a stellar predicted reliability rating, a refined ride, and an elegant cabin loaded with high-end materials. There are also plenty of standard and available features, and power and fuel economy are both good – though not great – for a hybrid.

However, cargo space is less impressive, and the RX's sloping roofline restricts its utility. Some rivals in our luxury hybrid and electric SUV rankings are also more engaging to drive.

Why You Can Trust Us: 29 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like mpg estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 29 professional reviews.

This 2021 RX Hybrid review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Lexus RX Hybrid?

The Lexus RX 450h is a good choice, but it never hurts to shop around. For something a bit sportier, consider the Acura MDX Hybrid. If you like the RX Hybrid, you might also be interested in the nonhybrid Lexus RX.

Find a 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid: What's the Difference?

For 2021, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are now standard in the Lexus RX Hybrid. Wireless device charging is available as well. Otherwise, this SUV sees no major changes.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 RX Hybrid »

Here are the Lexus RX 450h’s key changes since it was redesigned for the 2016 model year:

  • 2017: gained standard all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • 2018: three-row RX L trim joined lineup
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: infotainment system updated with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and available 12.3-inch touch screen
  • 2021: more safety features now standard; wireless device charging newly available

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 RX Hybrid, 2019 RX Hybrid, and 2020 RX Hybrid reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Lexus RX Hybrid Cost?

Pricing for the Lexus RX Hybrid starts at $47,720 for the two-row version and $51,110 for the three-row RX 450hL. That makes it a highly affordable vehicle compared to other luxury midsize SUVs. Aside from its smaller Lexus siblings, the UX Hybrid and NX Hybrid, it’s the most affordable choice in our luxury hybrid and electric SUV rankings.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus RX Hybrid Versus the Competition

Lexus RX Hybrid vs. Lexus RX 350

Choosing between the nonhybrid Lexus RX 350 and its hybrid counterpart mostly comes down to taste. Both models have similar features lists, and both can be had in the same versions. One advantage the RX 350 has is price, as it costs around $2,650 less to buy. The hybrid may get better fuel economy estimates, but it also uses premium gasoline, while the nonhybrid Lexus RX uses regular. Because of that, the hybrid may not save you much in annual fuel costs.

Compare the RX Hybrid and RX 350 »

Lexus RX Hybrid vs. Lexus NX Hybrid

The Lexus NX Hybrid is a good choice among luxury hybrid and electric SUVs, but the RX is a better one. The RX has more power than the NX, as well as a more intuitive infotainment system and nicer cabin materials. The NX Hybrid has slightly better fuel economy ratings than the RX Hybrid (33/30 mpg city/highway versus 31/28 mpg), but that’s not enough for us to recommend it over its larger sibling.

Compare the RX Hybrid and NX Hybrid »

Compare the RX Hybrid, RX, and NX Hybrid »

RX Hybrid Interior: Stick with Two Rows

RX Hybrid Cargo Space

Cargo space in this vehicle depends on body style. The two-row RX 450h has 16 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 32.6 cubic feet with the back row folded. The long-wheelbase RX L has 7.5 cubic feet behind the third row and up to 58.5 cubic feet with both rear rows folded. Those figures are fine among hybrids but trail other luxury midsize SUVs. The sloping roofline restricts the available space.

How Many People Does the RX Hybrid Seat?

There’s a good amount of head- and legroom in the two-row Lexus RX 450h. Both rows have enough space for adults, and the seats are plush and supportive. The long-wheelbase RX 450hL adds third-row seating, but the last row is exceptionally tight.

Synthetic leather upholstery and 10-way power-adjustable front seats are standard. Several features are available, including genuine leather-trimmed upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, captain’s chairs for the second row, and a heated steering wheel.

RX Hybrid and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second row. Each third-row seat has a single tether anchor.

RX Hybrid Interior Quality

Soft surfaces and premium materials like wood and aluminum trim endow the RX Hybrid’s cabin with an aura of luxury.

RX Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Shoppers familiar with Lexus models are probably aware of the brand’s frustrating Remote Touch interface. It’s a mouse-like controller that’s hard to use while driving. While you still need to use it for some functions, the RX Hybrid's touch screen makes it somewhat easier to operate the system.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, a Wi-Fi hot spot, six USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a nine-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a 12.3-inch touch screen, Remote Touch, navigation, wireless device charging, two more USB ports, and a 12- or 15-speaker stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: a moonroof, a panoramic roof, and tri-zone automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

RX Hybrid Performance: Gets the Job Done

RX Hybrid Engine

Every RX 450h has a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors. Together, they produce 308 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. This setup is satisfactory, supplying enough power to propel this bulky vehicle along without incident. Transitions between gasoline and electric power are seamless.

RX Hybrid Gas Mileage

The two-row Lexus RX 450h earns an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The three-row RX L gets 29 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Those are decent ratings for a hybrid vehicle of this size, especially with its standard all-wheel drive, but there are plenty of more efficient electric SUVs in the class.

RX Hybrid Ride and Handling

For the most part, this Lexus opts for comfort over agility. It glides over bumps and cracks in the pavement, and the cabin is well-insulated for keeping out wind noise. Other than some body roll around turns, handling is composed; however, there are plenty of more athletic options. Getting the F Sport trim won’t turn this SUV into a sports sedan, but it should make it a bit nimbler. AWD comes standard.

RX Hybrid Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Lexus RX 450h can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is identical to the nonhybrid Lexus RX.

Read more about performance »

RX Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus RX Hybrid Reliable?

The 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid has a perfect predicted reliability rating of five out of five.

Lexus RX Hybrid Warranty

Lexus backs the RX 450h with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid-related components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.

Read more about reliability »

RX Hybrid Safety

RX Hybrid Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid five out of five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. This Lexus did not receive an overall safety rating.

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 RX Hybrid SUV.

RX Hybrid Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane trace assist
  • Road sign recognition
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Head-up display

Read more about safety »

RX Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The RX Hybrid is between 16 and 16.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,740 to 4,905 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 5,997 and 6,261 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 RX Hybrid Built?

Lexus builds the 2021 RX Hybrid in Canada.

Which RX Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

Lexus makes the 2021 RX Hybrid in three primary versions: the two-row RX 450h and 450h F Sport and the long-wheelbase three-row RX 450hL. All have a V6 engine, three electric motors, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and all-wheel drive (AWD).

A few packages are available throughout the lineup. For $2,285, you can get the Navigation package. It includes a navigation system, a 12.3-inch touch screen, Lexus’ Remote Touch controller, and a 12-speaker stereo. For $3,365, you can get the same package but with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

Several options can be had in all three trims as well, including wireless device charging ($200), heated and ventilated front seats ($640), a head-up display ($600), and a power liftgate with a kick sensor ($150). For $565, you can get front and rear parking sensors with rear automatic braking; adding a surround-view parking camera system bumps up the price to $1,365.

There’s no reason to upgrade from the base Lexus RX 450h unless you want a third row of seats, in which case you’ll have to get the RX L.

Lexus RX 450h

With a retail price of $47,720, the base RX 450h comes with NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and alloy wheels. The infotainment system features an 8-inch touch screen, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a nine-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, six USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The Lexus Safety System+2.0 suite of driver assistance features bundles a pre-collision warning and braking system, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane trace assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers are included too.

Lexus offers a ton of packages and options with the RX 450h. The $480 Premium package adds walnut or bamboo trim. For $3,810, you can get the Luxury package, which comes with semi-aniline leather seats and a heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Adaptive headlights can be added for $1,975. Heated front seats are available for $440, and for $1,480, you can get heated and ventilated front seats plus power-folding and heated second-row seats.

Lexus RX 450hL

The RX 450hL has a starting MSRP of $51,110. Its main addition over the base 450h is a power-folding third row of seats. This RX L model also comes with second-row captain’s chairs, tri-zone automatic climate control, and two second-row USB ports.

The Premium package and Luxury packages are still available, although they now cost $1,580 and $6,000, respectively, and they include a moonroof.

Lexus RX 450h F Sport

F Sport hybrid models start at $51,200. This trim comes with front sport seats, scored aluminum trim, and performance dampers. The F Sport model is only available in the two-row configuration.

Pay an additional $970, and you can get the F Sport Handling package, which includes a sport-tuned suspension, electronic power steering, a Sport S+ drive mode, and a heated steering wheel.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

Compared to other luxury hybrid and electric SUVs, the Lexus RX Hybrid sits in the middle of the pack. It has a top-notch predicted reliability rating, a suspension that absorbs most road flaws, cushy seats, and lavish cabin materials. However, its infotainment system can be tricky to use, cargo space is OK at best, and the RX 450L has a cramped third row. Some rivals are also sportier than this vehicle.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "… This is a quiet, comfy cruiser first and foremost, with the changes for 2020 only sharpening its edges ever so slightly. Lexus knows not to mess too much with this luxury SUV's proven formula." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "The 2019 Lexus RX 450h has many qualities that will make it appealing to a variety of shoppers. As a luxury crossover SUV, it hits all the right marks for interior quality, quietness and overall comfort. It's also a hybrid that returns excellent fuel economy numbers; the EPA says you can expect 30 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Holding back the RX 450h is … acceleration that can best be described as leisurely and a cargo space that could be limiting for families. There is a larger three-row version, the RX 450hL, but its third-row seats are barely suitable for children. … Considering the pluses and minuses, the 2019 Lexus RX 450h remains a solid choice in the class. Add in Lexus' reputation for reliability and the scales tip a bit more in its favor." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "If you're seeking a 5-passenger luxury SUV that delivers a smooth ride, comfortable cockpit and loads of luxury and safety features, then the 2017 … RX 450h hit[s] the mark. Money savvy consumers will appreciate the RX's excellent resale values and low maintenance costs." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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