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2021 Lexus RX Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.0

The 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid has a gentle ride and a satisfactory powertrain. It’s also fuel-efficient. However, there are sportier alternatives in the class.

  • "The 2021 Lexus RX might look aggressive and sporty, but its character is relaxed and comfortable instead, which makes it a perfect choice for cruising. Even upgrading to the F Sport model brings few driving thrills." -- Car and Driver
  • "The RX 450h hybrid combines an electric motor with the V6 delivering even more horsepower and torque with superior fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "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)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Powertrain: 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors with a combined 308 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)

This Lexus has a capable powertrain. It’s not going to wow you, but it’s unlikely to disappoint you either. Accelerating from zero to 60 mph takes around eight seconds, which is typical for a vehicle of this size. It feels peppy in stop-and-go traffic, thanks to its electric motors.

  • "The RX 450h’s power and fuel economy are hard to fault, but it is prone to a bit of transmission whine (like all Toyota/Lexus hybrids)." -- Autotrader
  • "Powertrains remain the same as last year. … Neither powertrain feels particularly eager to move the RX quickly, even while using the newly standard paddle shifters, but we found the hybrid to be more engaging to drive despite our previous test results showing that it is the slower of the two models." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "The hybrid powertrain includes a stout 3.5-liter V6 engine, and the system delivers seamless acceleration in all conditions. Its 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.2 seconds is a bit slow for the segment but actually a couple of tenths quicker than the RX 350." -- Edmunds (2019)

MPG Estimates

This Lexus gets decent gas mileage for the class and among luxury midsize SUVs. Depending on whether you get the two- or three-row model, it gets 29 to 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

Comfort is one area where this Lexus excels. Most road flaws are smoothed over by the suspension, and the ride is hushed. Handling is reasonably composed, though there is some body roll, particularly around sharp turns. The F Sport model sharpens things up a bit.

  • "In EV mode, the RX 450h is wonderfully smooth. The virtually silent driving underlines the luxury aspect. It’s only the slight drone that detracts from a generally pleasant driving experience." -- Autotrader
  • "What the RX does best is ride comfortably; it irons out rough stretches of road and delivers a compliant ride. The cabin remains quiet and well isolated from the road, making the RX an excellent long-distance cruiser." -- Car and Driver
  • "It feels coordinated and secure in most situations at civilian speeds, with moderate body roll. But the extra weight from the hybrid system is apparent if you hustle it on winding roads." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2021 Lexus RX Hybrid

MSRP: $51,110 - $57,110

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