May 16, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Lexus RX 450h gives consumers the option of hybrid fuel economy

6 min read

The Lexus premium midsize crossover known as the RX comes in a fuel-saving hybrid model known as the RX 450h, which is available in two sizes: a five-passenger version, or a slightly longer “L” model with room for up to seven.

For 2022, the RX 450h starts at $48,020 (plus $1,075 freight), while the RX 450hL begins at $51,410. All-wheel drive is standard.

We tested the regular-length model in the base trim, with a few options.

To accommodate the third row, the RX’s body was extended by 4.3 inches at the rear, and the tailgate glass was made more vertical to give the rearmost passengers decent headroom. But on the regular-length RX models, the tailgate glass is sharply raked.

L models come standard with seating for seven – two in front, three in the middle and two in the rear. They can be configured for six people by replacing the three-person second-row bench seat with a pair of captain’s chairs, which makes it easier to get into the third row from the second row.

Two years ago, all RX models got a slight makeover, with an updated grille, front and rear fascias, and a new standard 18-inch wheel design. The optional triple-beam LED headlights ($1,975) were also redesigned.

Lexus says the driving dynamics were improved, as well, and more standard safety features were included.

The multimedia system was updated, and there is an optional 12.3-inch touch screen with a remote touch pad that supports new voice and navigation features, including Apple CarPlay. The power rear hatch has an optional kick sensor, included on our RX 450h, to open and close it faster. 

There are three new exterior colors for 2022: Cloudburst Gray and Iridium for all models, and Grecian Water, exclusive to F Sport models.

Standalone LED fog lights with cornering lights are now available on all trim levels for $275 extra.

The RX lineup comes with premium amenities such as leather upholstery (first and second rows only), and a long list of standard features even on the entry-level models.

Hybrid models come with a combination of a gasoline engine and two electric motors that together generate 308 horsepower, yet achieve EPA fuel-economy ratings of 30 mpg city/28 highway/30 combined. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard.

During our weeklong test, driving about 60/40 city/highway, we averaged 29.7 mpg.

The RX 450h all-wheel drive is an electronically controlled system that automatically kicks in the separate 67-horsepower electric motor for the rear wheels when needed to keep going on slippery surfaces. Otherwise, all torque goes to the front wheels.

In our RX 450h, we had plenty of power from the engine and electric motors, even on the mountain roads we encountered on a weekend family jaunt. Top speed is 112 mph, and the RX 450h can go from zero-60 mph in 7.9 seconds – not exactly sports-carlike, but decent for a family hauler.

The regular-length Lexus RX450h hybrid has two rosw of seating for up to five people.


Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, with three 20-inch wheel designs available. Our tester, though, came with the special 20-inch split-10-spoke alloy wheels with super-chrome machined finish, which were included in the Luxury Package ($3,810).

Among other standard RX 450h amenities are keyless entry with pushbutton start; a power tilt/telescopic steering column; 10-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustments; leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls; a nine-speaker premium Lexus audio system with eight-inch color screen, satellite radio, and auxiliary inputs (including USB); Bluetooth audio and phone connections; and dual-zone automatic climate control.

RELATED: Infiniti redesigns QX60 crossover for 2022, adds a 9-speed automatic

Gasoline-only models come with a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine with 290 horsepower and 263 foot-pounds of torque, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

Besides the choice of the gasoline-only or hybrid powertrain, the newest versions of the RX have sophisticated safety, driver-assistance and convenience features that make them among the best-equipped and safest Lexus utility vehicles offered to date.

All models come with Drive Mode Select, which gives the driver a choice of Normal, Sport and Eco driving modes. The main function is to change the shift points of the transmission to either maximize acceleration or fuel economy. Normal is in the middle of the range.

The front bucket seats were very comfortable. A storage space in the front of the center console area is perfect for smartphones. There are four 12-volt power outlets, including one on the instrument panel, another in the center console box (along with two USB ports), one at the rear of the center console (accessible to rear passengers) and one in the cargo area.

There are two decent cupholders in the center console tray. There are front and rear map lights, and a cargo-area light. The center console also is lighted, including the cupholders, which was a nice feature while driving on a highway trip at night.

The 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat is nearly as comfortable as the front seats, with plenty of legroom in the two outboard positions. A smallish adult or child could sit in the middle position, but there is a pull-down armrest there that includes two cupholders and a storage box.

In the RX 450h, there is 18 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, which expands to 55.9 cubic feet with the rear seatback completely folded. The RX can tow trailers weighing up to 3,500 pounds.

All RX models come with Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership.

The Lexus Safety System has such features as Pre-Collision Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Auto Braking, using audio and visual alerts and automatic application of the brakes when a possible collision is detected. The system also includes All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. 

Among other safety features are 10 air bags including dual-stage driver and front passenger; driver and front passenger knee air bags; front side air bags; rear side air bags; and full-length roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for all three rows of seats. 

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, along with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, traction control, Vehicle Stability Control, and Hill-start Assist.

To prevent accidental acceleration, the Toyota Smart Stop Technology automatically cuts engine power if the brake and accelerator pedals are pushed at the same time. There are also active front headrests and a rearview camera system, with an available Panoramic View Monitor.

Besides the 20-inch wheels, the Luxury Package brought a heated leather-and-wood-trimmed steering wheel, semi-aniline leather first- and second-row seats, manual rear door sunshades, LED ambient illumination, four-way power lumbar support, front seat cushion extender, laser-cut gray Sapele wood with aluminum, and LED illuminated door sills.

A Navigation Package ($2,285) gave us the 12.3-inch display, Remote Touch Interface, advanced voice control, Lexus Enform App Suite and Destination Assist, HD radio with iTunes Tagging and more. There’s also an available 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system with Navigation ($3,365), not included on our tester.

The RX has the Lexus signature spindle grille, along with L-shaped LED headlights surrounded by 18 individual LEDs, used as turn signals, and Intelligent High Beams.

Our 2022 RX 450h tester came in the Eminent White Pearl exterior color. Total sticker price was $57,680, including freight and options.

The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Express-News since 2000. Contact him at [email protected], or on Twitter @gchambers3.

2022 Lexus RX 450h

The package: Premium, midsize, all-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger, V-6 gasoline/electric-powered-hybrid crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: This luxury crossover in the hybrid version offers a variety of high-tech features, along with decent fuel economy, good power, and lots of standard or optional amenities. A separate, longer model, called the RX 450hL, has three rows of seating and space for up to seven people. 
Negatives: Price climbs significantly with navigation and other extras.
Overall length: 192.5 inches.
Curb weight: 4,740 pounds.
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline, plus two electric drive motors.
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.
Power: 308 HP. (hybrid, combined gasoline and electric).
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Cargo volume: 18 cubic feet (behind rear seat), 55.9 cubic feet (rear seat folded).
Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds.
EPA fuel economy: 30 mpg city/28 highway/30 combined.
Fuel capacity/type: 17.2 gallons, unleaded regular.
Base price range: $48,020-$53,820.
Price as tested: $57,680, including freight and options.
On the Road rating: 9.2 (of a possible 10).

Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.