2015 Lexus RX Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus RX Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.9

The 2015 Lexus RX Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy for the class, and reviewers note that it has sufficient power, a comfortable ride and controlled handling. Still, they say that it isn't as athletic as a number of rivals, and a few comment that the brake pedal does not offer consistent feedback, which could make it tricky to stop smoothly.

  • "The 2015 Lexus RX 450h delivers on its promise of impressive fuel economy, utility and luxury. For a hybrid luxury crossover SUV, it's a great choice." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lexus RX 450h is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors that together produce 295 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The RX Hybrid gets up to an EPA-estimated 32/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class, and better than the ratings of most other diesel and hybrid SUVs in the class as well.

Reviewers agree that the RX Hybrid has plenty of power, and they add that the gas engine cycles on and off smoothly. Some critics think that the CVT is responsive, but others find that it doesn’t react quickly to throttle inputs.

  • "With some hybrids, strong fuel economy comes at the expense of performance, but that isn't the case here. The RX is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 teamed with electric motors and a battery pack, and this combination works to ensure that the crossover always feels adequately powered." -- Edmunds
  • "And the RX450h's continuously variable transmission, while blending gas-engine and electric motor functions seamlessly, completely disconnects right-foot inputs from forward motion." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "RX450h also has impressive thrust and outstanding passing punch. Its CVT transmission is responsive. The well-integrated hybrid/electric powertrain exhibits very little of the surging and bogging typical of hybrid vehicles." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the 2015 RX 450h and all-wheel drive is optional. Test drivers write that the RX Hybrid rides comfortably and has steady handling but is less athletic than a number of other midsize SUVs. A few critics dislike the RX Hybrid's inconsistent brake pedal feel, which they say makes it hard to stop smoothly, and some comment that the steering is too heavy.

  • "Through turns, this Lexus hybrid remains composed and secure, though it's not as sporty as many diesel-powered luxury crossover SUVs, and the steering can feel overly heavy." -- Edmunds
  • "Where the RX450h takes a turn for the worse is in brake and transmission feel. Despite algorithms that attempt to translate brake pedal movement and force into predictable deceleration, no two pedal stabs feel the same-one moment, you're not slowing fast enough, the next instant, too much-and modulation is very tricky." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "Agile handling is not the RX's forte, but both RX 350 and 450h are competent enough on twisty roads. They exhibit moderate cornering lean but secure grip." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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