The Lexus RX has been around for a while and its hybrid model has been an offering since it debuted in 2006. The RX 400h was the first luxury hybrid model on the road and the 2022 450h is the latest and most excellent rendition of it so far. The current generation of the RX came on the scene in 2016 and saw a few updates a year or so ago. The 2022 model year brings back the limited edition Black Line for those wanting a little more panache in their ride.
What hasn’t changed is the very well-done, refined, and luxurious cabin of the RX–a Lexus hallmark–and the well-balanced hybrid powertrain the crossover has. That powertrain is a combination of a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and three electric motors which all together produce 308 horsepower in all-wheel drive. Power delivery is smooth and fairly quick, though the CVT does dampen things a bit. But the 2022 RX 450h is confident and zippy enough to make most drivers feel good about its capabilities.
Fuel economy in this hybrid model is pretty good for the segment. As a midsized SUV, the RX 450h returns 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Our time with it proved that out, with our highway loop averaging 28.3 mpg and our overall MPG being in the 29 range after a week of driving. Rivals are at or a bit better than these in MPG returns, however, so Lexus may be ready to make a full update to the RX 450h soon. Given its age, we expect that a new generation RX will come in the next couple of years.
Where rivals haven’t necessarily caught up, though, is in interior luxury fitment. The 2022 Lexus RX is beautiful on the inside with plush leather (or leatherette), extremely comfortable seating, and that signature Lexus “hug” factor that creates a coziness inside without feeling cramped. Seating for five is standard and realistic in the RX 450h while the 450hL adds a little length and a third row for seating up to six (second row becomes captain’s chairs). The third row option is mainly for kids, but adds two more LATCH anchor sets for parents to use.
The infotainment, though? Still clunky and distracting. That’s all we have to say about that. It’s Lexus’ greatest downer.
Cargo in the 2022 Lexus RX 450h is sub-par, but not much of a letdown really. There are 16 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 32.6 cubes with the second row folded. That’s a lot less than some rivals, but still usable on the daily. The three-row L model has 23 cf behind the second row and 58.5 with all three rows folded. Most of the cargo space loss versus the standard gas model RX is because of the hybrid powertrain and its batteries. Still, those needing more cargo should look at the RX 450hL as an option.
With a starting price at around $50,000 and a host of standard features and safety equipment listings, the 2022 Lexus RX 450h is a beautiful entry into the midsized luxury segment. It’s likable as-is with a smart look and smooth daily drive quality.
This review first published at DriveModeShow.com.