People looking for a luxury SUV generally want a comfortable, quiet interior and a ride quality that smooths out the bumps. The new Lexus RX 450h delivers in those key areas. Add in impressive fuel-economy with its hybrid powertrain, and you have the recipe for success.
We spent this week driving the all-new 2016 Lexus RX 450h AWD.
The Lexus RX 450h has been redesigned for 2016. It comes with greater interior space and bolder exterior styling. The 2016 Lexus RX is nearly five inches longer overall and rides on a wheelbase that’s gained almost two inches. Height and width have changed little. It also gains a new rear-seat entertainment system that’s available with 11.6-inch screens.
Features & Options
This 2016 Lexus RX 450h comes with all-wheel drive ($53,635) and includes leather upholstery, rearview camera, nine-speaker audio, eight-inch screen, HD and satellite radio, CD player, Bluetooth capability, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
It also comes standard with a moonroof, navigation, blind-spot monitor, and 12-speaker audio.
Options on our RX 450h tester were the Luxury Package ($3,125) that added 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, and four-way front seat lumbar adjustment. It also came with the Cold Weather package ($315), power folding heated rear seats ($840), color heads up display ($600), and Lexus Safety System + package ($2,250). The latter comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlight control, and other accident avoidance features. It also came with the optional Mark Levinson premium audio system ($1,510) and the new dual rear-seat entertainment system ($2,095) with 11.6-inch screens.
Total MSRP: $64,610 including destination.
The Lexus RX 450h interior gets top marks for its luxury and comfort. Our tester got even better marks because of its extra luxury leather upgrades. The leather seats are extra comfy and come with contrast stitching. There’s abundant soft leather touches throughout the cabin that make it a comfortable place, front and back. The large display screen sits in the middle of the dash at eye level, making it easy to see and keep your eyes on the road.
The optional panoramic sunroof stretches all the way to the back for optimal outdoor viewing.
In the back, seats can accommodate passengers of nearly any size and there’s plenty of legroom. RX 450h riders sit about an inch higher, as the nickel-metal hydride battery goes under the back seat. When the optional rear shades are lowered, it becomes an in-house movie theater.
The kids will be entertained for hours with the optional dual screen rear-seat entertainment system. It comes with wireless headphones and HDMI input. The rear seats recline back for extra comfort and also slide back or forward to the desired position.
We used the power rear hatch this week and it made loading cargo easy.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2016 Lexus RX 450h uses a hybrid gas-electric powertrain making 308 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. The luxury SUV is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 coupled with a pair of front-mounted electric motor/generators. The AWD model has an additional motor powering the rear wheels.
The RX 450h hybrid uses a planetary drive system and is able to start off on battery power alone at lower speeds. It worked well this week navigating through parking lots and especially in stop-and-go traffic in Denver.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30/28 city/highway and 30 combined with all-wheel drive.
When looking for a luxury crossover, you want a certain level of quiet and comfort. You want a vehicle that will leave you rested, even after a long trip. The Lexus RX 450h will fulfill all those needs and more. This RX 450h is exceptionally comfortable and supremely quiet on the road. It smooths out the bumps and turns them into a mere blip on the radar.
Other than the distracting remote touch interface for the radio and climate control, we have no complaints with the Lexus RX 450h. The ride and handling is not like a European sports crossover, but it has the driving dynamics families will appreciate. Lexus softened the suspension somewhat and enhanced the steering feedback for a more pleasant driving experience.
The 2016 Lexus RX 450h is more comfortable than ever and carries on the Lexus reputation for superb ride quality. The interior is a strong suite and with the extra upgrades inside, the cabin becomes an even more desirable place to spend time. The kids will appreciate the entertainment system and parents will be glad they spent the extra money.
The RX 450h will save on fuel and it has enough power for most driving situations.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy