2017 Lexus RX Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride, though its steering is a bit slow to react. There is little difference in performance between this luxury midsize SUV and its gas-only version. It has strong acceleration and smooth transitions from electric to gas power.

  • "With the F Sport package teamed to the hybrid platform, the RX becomes a performance SUV with exceptional handling and fuel-economy numbers of which its rivals can only dream." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It's a hybrid that doesn't draw attention to itself, and that's a good thing. The fact that you can now enjoy the hybrid's fuel economy benefits with the F Sport's superior driving dynamics makes the 450h even more appealing." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Smooth, solid and quiet. If it isn't exactly fast, the 2016 RX is lively enough to occasionally encourage its driver to push." -- Autoweek (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors that produce a combined 308 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (which acts like an automatic) is standard. The RX Hybrid gets 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are among the best fuel economy estimates in the class.

Just because it's a hybrid doesn't mean it gives up power. The RX Hybrid has good acceleration off the line thanks to its three electric motors. The transition from electric to gas power is seamless. A refined transmission helps the RX Hybrid quickly get up to highway and passing speeds.

  • "The RX 450h hybrid combines an electric motor with the V6 delivering even more horsepower and torque with superior fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The transitions among electric, gasoline and combined driving modes are as smooth and seamless as you'll find." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "The gas-electric RX 450h hybrid uses the same Atkinson-cycle V-6 and dual electric motors as before. It's a smooth setup that Toyota has perfected over the years, and fuel economy remains right around 30 mpg, which is impressive considering the hybrid model's hefty curb weight of 4,600-4,700 pounds -- about 350 pounds more than the RX 350. The hybrid's instantaneous torque makes it feel a bit quicker than the standard V-6, meaning the newly available F Sport hybrid is less of a contradiction than you might think." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 RX Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive and has a smooth and comfortable ride. Its steering isn’t the most responsive, but it is fine for daily driving. For more precision and engagement, upgrade to the F Sport trim. You'll get a sportier ride with superior suspension.

  • "Changes were made to the suspension and drivetrain as well, but the 2017 Lexus RX 350 remains a luxury SUV that places an emphasis on comfort and confidence over blistering performance. We're not saying the Lexus can't handle tight turns or twisting back roads, but if you're seeking razor-sharp reflexes, a step up to the F Sport trim is in order." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Its steering is nicely balanced, but it feels slow to react. In normal driving through parking lots and on interstate roads, it won't be an issue, but when trying to negotiate switchbacks or mountain twisties, it becomes more apparent." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "Saw at the wheel a few times and you can feel the extra weight want to keep going against the direction of the steering. The hybrid understeers more readily, even with AWD. If the in-dash power distribution display can be trusted, the RX 450h seems as willing to electrically power up its back wheels, but it doesn't achieve the same levels of rear torque as the RX 350." -- Autoweek (2016)

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