Following the recent introductions of the subcompact UX and three-row, midsize RX L, Lexus now boasts a total of six crossover and SUV offerings. After 21 years on the market, the RX lineup continues to be the best-selling luxury CUV/SUV on the market, and it’s the best-selling Lexus product as well with more than 111,000 units being sold in 2018; of that, about 15,000 were RX hybrid models marking an 82 percent sales increase over 2017. After testing both the RX 350 and RX 350L, my recent seat time in Lexus’ fourth-gen RX came in the 2019 Lexus RX 450h equipped with the added style of the option F Sport package.
2019 Lexus RX 450h Exterior
Even with the oversized (and polarizing) signature spindle grille, the 2019 Lexus RX displays the best application of Lexus’ current design language. This angular styling starts up front with diamond-shaped headlights and standard LED daytime running lights, and this tester upgraded to the triple-beam LED headlights for an additional $1,615. The LED taillights mimic the shape of the headlights, and the blacked-out portion of the C-pillar that gives the RX a floating roof look. The RX 450h is subtly distinguished as a hybrid model with the blue Lexus badges.
Stepping up to the RX 450h F Sport brings sporty touches starting with a redesigned front fascia that features a blacked-out mesh grille, lower chin spoiler and satin-finish chrome-plated lower protector. The F Sport also includes black side mirrors and exclusive 20-inch 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. Overall, the added black and satin chrome accents are a perfect touch on this Matador Red Mica tester. Speaking of the paint, all 2019 Lexus RX colors are finished with a scratch-resistant, self-restoring clear coat. When it comes to options, this tester was equipped with the $1,350 power sunroof and aluminum roof rails as well as the $200 hands-free power liftgate.
2019 Lexus RX 450h Interior
Lexus has always crafted stylish, tech-filled interiors, and the 2019 Lexus RX 450h F Sport is a shining example. The leather is ultra soft and all of the touch points are covered in high-quality materials, and the F Sport interior gets even more content with heated and ventilated front seats, perforated leather on the seats and three-spoke steering wheel, aluminum interior trim accents and drilled non-slip lightweight aluminum pedals. The F Sport also adds an eight-inch LCD instrument cluster inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar. Unlike other F Sport models, this cluster does not have the motorized displays, but it has all the same content the combines a tachometer and digital speed indicator and also provides real-time information such as G-force metrics, navigation information, torque distribution and more.
In terms of technology, the 2019 Lexus RX adds a new standard feature: Amazon Alexa and smart watch integration part of the Lexus Enform Remote (a one-year subscription comes standard). Aside from this change, everything else carries over including the massive, 12.3-inch screen that is optional on upgraded navigation/audio packages including this tester’s $3,225 navigation/15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. As always, this large display is easily controlled through the Remote Touch controller found on the center console. Our tester was also fitted with the $600 full color head-up display unit.
The bigger dimensions of the fourth-gen RX means more space for passengers and their cargo, and even better, hybrid buyers don’t have to sacrifice cabin space for fuel efficiency. The added hybrid components fractionally reduce cabin volume, and the RX hybrid can hold 18.0 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and up to 55.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat (that’s only 0.4 cubic feet less than the RX 350); the rear seats can conveniently fold flat using handles located in the cargo area. That means the 2019 Lexus RX 450h will have no problem loading up five passengers and a weekend’s worth of gear!
2019 Lexus RX 450h Powertrain
The 2019 Lexus RX 450h holds the distinction of being the most-powerful Lexus RX ever with its combined power output of 308 horsepower. This is thanks to the same gas engine as the RX 350, a 3.5-liter V-6 that is also Toyota’s most powerful V-6 ever. This engine features Toyota’s advanced D-4S fuel injection system that combines port and direct injection allowing this to maximize power, torque and efficiency. This engine mates to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, and the RX 450h comes standard with an all-wheel drive system that adds electric drive motors to both axles. With its hybrid components, the RX 450h has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway*, which is significantly better than the 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway* of the RX 350.
The fourth-gen RX benefits from a new chassis and suspension tuning that allows it to be smoother, quieter and more responsive, and the F Sport model gets its own special level of tuning and performance dampers. Sadly, it’s hard to notice any add sportiness from the RX 450h F Sport since the hybrid components make this model almost 400 pounds heavier than the RX 350 AWD. It’s no sports car with a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds, but it is extremely efficient, luxurious and especially practical right down to the 3,500-pound max tow rating (on all 2019 RX models).
2019 Lexus RX 450h Safety
The 2019 Lexus RX 450h comes standard with 10 airbags and the advanced Lexus Safety System+ ( Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, intelligent high beam headlights, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Lane Keep Assist), which helped this hybrid crossover score a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another cool standard feature on the 2019 RX is the rear seat belt reminder that lets the driver know if one of the rear-seat occupants (and specifically which one) isn’t buckled up. This tester added even more safety content with a $1,865 bundle that included Blind Spot Monitor, Intuitive Parking Assist, Auto Braking and a panoramic view monitor.
2019 Lexus RX 450h Overall
Despite an onslaught of competition, the 2019 Lexus RX remains the most popular choice for luxury CUV/SUV buyers, and it doesn’t take much seat time to see why that’s the case. This RX 450h packs quite a punch in terms of cabin technology and high-quality materials, while the hybrid powertrain delivers a mix of added performance and fuel economy. Add on the extra style from the F Sport, and you have the complete package!
With the addition of the new three-row model, there are now six ways for consumers to enjoy the 2019 Lexus RX, but all this luxury, technology and safety doesn’t break the bank. Stepping up from a base RX 350 FWD ($43,670**), the RX 450h F Sport represents the highest-priced and most well-equipped RX of the lineup starting at $51,455. With all of the optional content, this tester carried an as-tested price of $61,854, which is still reasonably priced for a fully loaded, mid-size luxury CUV/SUV.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2019 Lexus RX 450h today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.