On the test, we have an updated Lexus RX. I have already driven this Japanese crossover before, but only on the pre-styling version of it, and I have already weighed all its pros and cons. Then I was left with mixed feelings. This time I will draw conclusions by comparing it with some classmates.
Lexus RX 450h front view
I must say that this Japanese crossover still does not differ in dynamics and outstanding driver qualities; just as before, it is quite voracious. But, despite my own preferences (and I am a fan of the German car industry), this time I looked with interest in the direction of Lexus. To be honest, I liked this car. And it’s not even that after the restyling in the RX something radically changed (although, of course, some of the engineers have updated). Probably, changes have occurred in me, and this has affected the perception of the car.
But let’s figure it out together.
The fourth generation of the Lexus RX with the factory index AL20 was introduced in 2015. In 2019, we had a facelift, and this is the version we are currently testing. Externally, the car was slightly updated and, I would say, “brought to reason” by narrowing the headlights and redrawing the bumpers. In addition, the design of the rear optics and the pattern of the wheels were also changed. However, all these transformations will only be noticed by fans. For myself, I noted that the dynamic turn signals in the lights no longer resemble a “Chinese garland”, as it was before, and the owner of the RX will no longer be ashamed in front of drivers of budget VAG-s.
Lexus RX 450h side view
It is also necessary to say that the updated Lexus RX has revolutionary bladescan headlights. While the whole world uses matrices to control the light spot, and constantly increases the number of diodes to improve accuracy, Lexus engineers have created an alternative and it seems that they are going to surpass everyone in road lighting technology.
Lexus RX 450h rear view
For comparison, Mercedes-Benz has 84 diodes installed in the most modern multibeam matrix headlights. Selectively disabling some diodes depending on the traffic situation allows you to “cut out” oncoming and passing vehicles, as well as highlight road signs and pedestrians. But In the bladescar headlights, there are only twelve diodes, but they do not Shine on the road, but on a rotating mirror, which, changing the angle of reflection with a very high frequency, scatters a beam of light. And to ” cut ” another car out of the stream, the diode goes off for a fraction of a second. As a result, it was possible to achieve the highest accuracy, equivalent to the operation of four hundred diodes, with only twelve available.
Lexus RX 450h headlights
It is believed that this technology has already cast doubt on the further development of conventional matrix headlights from manufacturers Continental and Hella. It turns out that with a lower price and size, this technology provides a better result. During the test, we specifically tested the effectiveness of Bladesman lighting on the Lexus RX, so we can confirm the excellent performance of the system.
Lexus RX 450h tail lights
If we talk about the appearance of the model, then, as for me, the RX looks quite controversial. On the one hand, this is a representative of the Japanese school of design, and the fact that it can not be called completely ugly (like, for example, Honda Pilot) is already good. On the other hand, there is a lot of aggression in the design of this Lexus, which should correspond to the character of the car. But aggressive driving is not the strong suit of this crossover at all, although we will discuss this in detail later. However, I am sure that many people just love this model for the bright elements in the design that significantly distinguish it from its classmates.
In the current generation, the dimensions of the Lexus RX already clearly fit into the class of full-size luxury crossovers “K3”. It is played by Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. The RX is quite comparable to these crossovers both in length (4890 mm) and width (2180 mm), except that it is a little “short” in height (1705 mm). But the Volkswagen Touareg in external dimensions is absolutely the same as the test RX. True, the wheelbase of the German car is still larger, but, oddly enough, this does not affect the layout of the interior.
However, many buyers still traditionally compare this Lexus to smaller crossovers like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, or Mercedes-Benz GLC. In addition, there used to be an opinion that the RX model is a “female” car. But these views are already a thing of the past.
Lexus RX 450h road behavior
As for the price of the crossover, the RX is located approximately in the middle between the commensurate German luxury Odnoklassniki and more compact models. Since 2016, the RX has become a little more affordable, and starts with 55 thousand dollars for the Business version with a 2.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive. A car with a 3.5-liter engine in a decent Premium configuration will cost 69 thousand dollars. And in the maximum configuration of Luxury and with a hybrid power plant, called 450h (as we have on the test), this car is already under 90 thousand rubles.
It turns out that for the same money today you can only buy a VW Touareg or Volvo XC90. But many buyers do not consider these brands equal to Lexus. But the GLE, X5 or Q8 in good trim levels will cost about 20 % more.
However, the concept of “good equipment” is very subjective. Especially when comparing Japanese and German cars. For example, Lexus already in the” base ” is equipped with double Windows, a good audio system and a leather interior. In addition, there is Apple CarPlay, wireless charging for a smartphone, an electric steering column and a Keyless system. On the other hand, even in the maximum configuration of the RX, there are not many popular options that are typical for this class. For example, there are no massage options and multi-contour chairs, night vision functions or door closers when closing are also not provided here. And in Ukraine, the list of options for some reason does not include a projection display, which is offered in other markets.
As a result, the Lexus RX is a good alternative to BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz models if you want to stay in the luxury class, but also save money. In addition, you will be able to save money not only during the purchase of the car, but also during the maintenance process. The thing is that RX is much cheaper to maintain than its German competitors. For 100 thousand mileage, regular MAINTENANCE and replacement of brake pads every 30 thousand km will cost you about three thousand dollars. But the service BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLA for the first 100 thousand. the mileage will cost at least two thousand dollars more. And if you take into account the cost on the secondary market in 3-4 years, it turns out that a month’s ownership of the Lexus RX, even despite the higher fuel consumption, is about twice as cheap as the aforementioned X5, GLE, Q8 (and even more so Range Rover).
However, the question of saving is not in the first place; you need to understand well what you will have to sacrifice for the sake of such savings and trouble-free operation. And also to understand what buyers of German luxury crossovers are willing to overpay for when they choose their cars instead of Lexus.
The stated characteristics indicate that the Lexus RX can not boast of dynamics, when compared with any of the modern competitors. This car is definitely not suitable for those who are constantly in a hurry somewhere. The RX with a 2.0-liter engine in our last test accelerated to “hundreds” in 9 seconds (and this is even 0.5 seconds faster than the result indicated by the manufacturer). At the same time, the power of such a power unit is by no means small-almost 240 forces. The RX 350 version with a V6 engine already produces 300 “horses”, but also does not show outstanding dynamics: 8.2 s to 100 km/h. For comparison, this is not even on par with the basic 2.0-liter engines of German competitors. But under the hood of your Lexus will be legendary in terms of reliability 2gr engine with a resource of half a million kilometers.
Lexus RX 450h acceleration to 100
The hybrid RX 450h, like ours, is considered the fastest. The same 3.5-liter 2GR engine is installed here, but reconfigured. The claimed acceleration to the first 100 km / h in this version is 7.7 seconds, but it took only 8 seconds to accelerate in real conditions. And if you take the average, the result will be overclocking for 8.4 s. Which is even slower than the RX 350 version.
The reason for the discrepancy between dynamics and power lies in the gearbox. Lexus still installs very reliable and smooth Aisin automatic transmissions. Of course, their resource impresses with indicators for 250 thousand kilometers. But alas, to compare the units installed on Lexus with the German ZF boxes in terms of speed does not make sense yet. And in the hybrid version, a CVT is generally installed.
Lexus RX 450h automatic transmission selector
On the other hand, if you do not know the indicators, it feels like the dynamics of the crossover is quite sufficient. The car is very “soft”, and when you sharply press the gas pedal, it significantly “squats” on the rear axle. The V6 engine sounds thoroughbred, including in the hybrid version. Although very quiet: no loud exhaust system, just six cylinders somewhere up ahead.
Sport mode predictably makes the gas pedal more sensitive, and the RX is pretty quickly picking up the speed you want – feels like-at the moment. At the same time, acceleration even slightly pushes you into the back of the chair. As a result, it turns out that you do not feel any discomfort due to a lack of dynamics while sitting in the cabin. But this crossover does not provide dynamics as such. Magic Lexus, not otherwise!
The hybrid car is equipped with a CVT, so the traction at speed is smooth, without switching. But in the RX350 version, where an eight-speed torque Converter gearbox is installed, switching feels good.
Fuel consumption in the Lexus RX is a separate topic, because the actual figures here differ significantly from the stated ones. The most economical is the RX 300, which has a 2.0-liter turbo engine. Despite the fact that in the urban cycle, according to the passport, such a car should consume about 10 liters per 100 km, it actually turns out about 15. On the highway up to 120 km/h, the consumption will be at least 12 liters, and if you move at a speed of 150-180 km / h, the consumption will exceed the mark of 16 liters of gasoline. Interestingly, the 350 consumes about the same amount of fuel. The only difference is that the 300th when driving calmly is more economical in the city, and the 350th – on the highway. The main reason for this situation is the gearbox, because the RX350 version no longer has six, but eight stages, which saves fuel at high speed.
The test RX 450h uses the least fuel. The promised passport consumption is about 6 l/100 km. In real conditions, it can be placed in 10 liters (mixed cycle). Naturally, the hybrid is a very effective technology when used in the city, especially in terms of fuel economy. The system can turn off the engine when necessary, start driving only on electric power, and recharge the battery when you roll to the traffic light.
But on the highway, all this does not work anymore. I will give an eloquent example: after driving about 80 km at a speed of 140-180 km / h, I got a flow rate of 16 l/100 km. On the way back along the same route, there were “toffees” in places, and for the same distance it turned out to meet 11 liters.
Of course, against the background of German competitors with diesel engines, “pouring” so much money into the tank of your car looks terrifying. But choosing a Lexus RX, in fact, buyers still save (with the above-mentioned purchase, maintenance and resale). Therefore, after calculating all the costs, we can say that fuel consumption is not a serious drawback of the Japanese crossover.
If we talk about my preferences, I would stop at the RX350 version. The fact is that the” hybrid ” in the same configuration turns out to be more expensive by $ 8,600. In order to recoup this difference due to fuel consumption, you need to drive 150 thousand kilometers.
Of course, the hybrid power plant at Lexus is a separate philosophy, and such a car has a number of undeniable advantages over other versions. For example, it is the most comfortable for the city and incredibly quiet. On the other hand, there are also disadvantages. First, all-wheel drive is very conditional. The rear wheels are driven by an electric motor, so at least some off-road driving with a low battery can turn into a real problem. Secondly, the hybrid Lexus is not able to charge a 12-volt battery from a high-voltage battery. As a result, the battery is discharged quite quickly. It is enough to stand for a while with the lights on, and you will have to ask for technical help. By the way, this is a feature of all Toyota hybrid cars.
Lexus RX 450h engine
As for the version with a 2.0-liter engine, it is not very economical, and it lacks dynamics even more. In addition, the RX 300 version is not much cheaper and is only sold with simple configurations. For example, the RX350 Premium is $ 5900 more expensive than the RX 300 Executive, but the difference in configuration is quite noticeable. On the other hand, if you do not need extra options and you are indifferent to speed, then you can watch the 300th. By the way, the rumors about problems with the turbine were not groundless. At first, there were warranty requests, but then the problem was solved.
In any case, the resource of the turbo engine is less than that of the atmospheric 2gr unit. This may be important for those who buy a car for a long time, and then are going to sell it at a bargain price.
The interior of the Lexus RX, as well as its appearance – is for an Amateur. There are a lot of connoisseurs of this approach to design, but not among those who are used to German cars. Some consider this salon tasteless and soulless, but this is just a Japanese approach to style and design. But fans of Lexus interiors believe that this is what luxury should be: when everything is big, when there is a lot of wood and pliable plastics, when riders are surrounded by a pleasant soft skin.
Lexus RX 450h interior
And if you can’t find fault with the quality of Assembly and fit here, then it’s easy to find fault with the quality of materials. To my surprise, there was a place for inexpensive plastics in the cabin, and the front panel can not be covered with leather, it will only be an imitation of it.
But among the seventeen trim options, you will definitely be able to choose the right one for yourself. Even those who switch from German cars will be able to find a more restrained performance. Only here are wooden inserts in the steering wheel rim (which not everyone likes), offered in all versions, except for the more “youth” F Sport. In it, the steering wheel is covered with leather, there is a black ceiling, and contrasting inserts in the seat upholstery.
But all this is a matter of taste, because in the BMW salon there is also something to find fault with, so you need to choose for yourself.
Lexus RX 450h front seats
But the size of the saloon is amazing. For example, the distance between the middle posts in the RX is 5 cm longer than in the Mercedes-Benz GL (W166). The large upholstered chair is comfortable to sit in, even though the settings of this chair are not so much (by the standards of luxury class): in addition to standard options, there is only an extension of the pillow and adjustment of the lumbar support. But there is almost no side support in the front seats. In fact, in this car, it is not necessary: believe me, you will not sharply enter the turns on it.
The interior of our test car is covered with semi-aniline leather. The peculiarity of this material is that in light colors it is not very easy to clean, but it gets dirty quite easily. It is also worth noting that the thread stitching on the leather trim elements is perfect, as if it was made not by a person, but by a robot. Some automakers should have learned this neatness from the Japanese.
With ergonomics, everything is ambiguous. On the one hand, many elements are very large, clear, and “time-tested”. Almost every function has its own button, and everything is conveniently signed. On the other hand, the location of all these buttons is chaotic and sometimes very inconvenient. For example, heating and ventilation of seats for some reason was placed behind the lever of the box. It is not so easy to activate one of these functions intuitively and quickly.
Managing a multimedia system using a proprietary touchpad is also not very easy, and the process requires getting used to. And in General, the electronics of Lexus is still a puzzle! Engineers tried to equip the car with all modern functions, but their algorithms sometimes make the driver suffer. Where it would be possible to use one button, in Lexus you need to press two, and to enable some functions, you have to read the instructions. However, in comparison with German competitors, all these buttons and switches work flawlessly.
Lexus RX 450h climate buttons
The main rule in the Lexus cabin is to work as quietly as possible. The climate control system is almost inaudible, just like the seat ventilation (it works on air intake). The Windows close very nicely (the Windows, again, are double). The bottom of the Cup holder on the Central tunnel can be deepened for different containers, and it rises very smoothly. After the restyling, the niche for the smartphone received a rubberized damper to minimize the noise from its movement. As a result, we can say that it has its own world, where thanks to tens of kilograms of noise and vibration isolation, its own rules apply.
Most of all, I don’t like the dashboard in the RX saloon. It is strange that the cheaper RAV4 received almost a digital “tidy”, and the luxury model from Lexus for 90 thousand dollars (and even after restyling) is content with such a simple screen. When the backlight is turned on at night, the situation does not become more pleasant, and the only thing that can be noted with the “plus” sign is the ability to change the color of the tachometer scale when switching modes. I am sure that many potential buyers were scared off by such a device. However, the Japanese claim that customers do not complain.
But even more surprising is that the Central display, in contrast to the “tidy”, looks very modern. The screen resolution and image quality are excellent. But it is still difficult to understand the logic of managing various interfaces and menus. It’s good that now there is Apple CarPlay, which can “cover” the shortcomings of the standard system.
It would be nice to increase the resolution of all-round cameras after the display upgrade, and make the graphics vector so that the pixels do not catch your eye. The circular view function itself is implemented quite well.
As for the rear row, I will immediately note the absence of a transmission tunnel, and this is the difference not only in the hybrid version, where there is no gimbal, but also in all other options. Interestingly, the engineers did not achieve this at the expense of free space in the cabin. There is plenty of legroom, even though the RX wheelbase is 10 cm shorter than, for example, the Touareg base. Sitting in the second row is very comfortable, including due to the soft sofa, which gives additional comfort to passengers. There is an armrest with a niche and Cup holders. The tilt of the back itself is regulated in a fairly wide range. I will only note that the tall passenger does not have much space above his head.
Lexus RX 450h rear row seats
Despite the fact that there is a sofa in the back row, and not separate seats, the average passenger will be uncomfortable to sit because of the very hard armrest. Rear passengers have access to a heated rear sofa, two USB chargers and window blinds in the Luxury configuration. The backs of the front seats are upholstered in leatherette. The sofa can be moved in the longitudinal direction, significantly increasing the volume of the trunk. An interesting detail: before the restyling, it was possible to adjust the tilt of the back of the rear sofa using an electric drive, but now we decided to remove this convenient option.
Note that for some markets, the Long version is also offered, which is additionally equipped with a third row of seats. The increase in space was obtained by increasing the body by 10 cm with the wheelbase unchanged. Moreover, such crossovers can be either seven-or six-seat, where the second row is represented by two captain’s seats. By the way, we also have such cars available, but under the order. I think that the seven-seat RX (given its comfort and grandeur) is a good option for those who travel with their family.
The pre-styling RX was offered only on wheels of the 20th diameter, which slightly affected the comfort. Now the situation has been corrected, and 18-inch wheels are installed on the basic versions. Although… For me, the Lexus RX is now the quietest and most comfortable car in the class for this money on 20-inch wheels, especially in the hybrid version. Japanese engineers did not try to find a compromise, they put everything that conflicted with “softness” in the background. And for those who don’t drive fast and brash, this is probably the perfect car. This crossover floats even on our roads, and for this it does not need “Pneumatics”. The suspension works out the pits very gently and quickly dampens the swing.
Lexus RX 450h driving in the city
Steering in the RX has an interesting feature. Due to the fact that the connection with the wheels is poorly felt, it seems that you are driving some big Kramnik. But in terms of handling, the steering settings leave much to be desired.
But the body rolls, which is unexpected, are small. During the restyling, Japanese engineers strengthened the stabilizers, made the body even more rigid and modified the adaptive suspension. Now the RX is even more comfortable, and in Sport mode it is better controlled. And even when the suspension is “clamped”, the car remains comfortable by reducing vibrations and rocking on the pits. I am sure that in the basic versions with standard springs, the car will behave differently. The only thing that ruins the idyll is the impact of heavy 20-inch wheels, when the suspension “does not guess” the nature of the roadway and relaxes too much.
Lexus RX 450h wheels
On the highway, quite a comfortable speed can be considered 140-150 km / h, but up to 180 kilometers this hybrid accelerates without problems and even keeps the trajectory perfectly. At the same time, the cabin is still relatively quiet. But what happens at this speed with the steering wheel, I absolutely do not like. Apparently, in order to insure the driver from careless movements, the steering wheel becomes less sensitive. A minimal turn does not give results at all, the reaction is very late, and if you turn the steering wheel harder, the car reacts with a sharp tilt. At such moments, confidence becomes less, and again you want to slow down to 140 km/h. Moreover, the brakes here are far from ideal.
Initially, the braking performance in the RX seems quite normal. Of course, the car “bites its nose”, which is inevitable with such suspension settings, but the crossover stops gently and without jerks. In addition, during emergency braking, the resistance on the pedal is predictable, but there is no failure. At first glance, everything is fine. But measurements of the braking distance gave disappointing results-41.3 meters. In almost perfect conditions, three times in a row I got 42 meters when braking at 100 km/h.
Lexus RX 450h braking distance from 100 km/h.
It is considered that all results exceeding 40 meters are fraught with danger. The normal value for today is considered to be an indicator of 37 meters. For comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GL W166 showed a result of 39 meters, which is also not perfect, but much better. So sharp maneuvers on Lexus need to be performed with a back thought about the performance of the brakes or something to do with them. On sale there are reinforced brake kits, thanks to which, based on reviews, the braking distance will be reduced by 3-5 meters. But again, if you drive calmly, the standard brake system will be enough for you.
Lexus RX 450h clearance
It is important to note that the Lexus RX is not an off-road vehicle, even though it has a claimed clearance of 20 cm. In fact, this is a front-wheel-drive crossover, where the rear axle is connected either through a clutch or using an electric motor. Both options when skidding is enough for a very short time. Still, do not forget that we are talking about an urban crossover built on a common platform with the Toyota Camry.
The comparison with the Mercedes-Benz GL W166
I was able to test the RX 450h for a week. All this time I used to drive this car quite slowly and relaxed. I just enjoyed the ride, despite the fact that the car does not differ in driving qualities and consumes too much fuel.
When I get into a Mercedes-Benz GLE (W166) after spending time behind the wheel of a Lexus, I stop thinking about how the car is driven and look for peace and quiet. Compared to Lexus to Mercedes, there is a lack of sound insulation.
Mercedes-Benz GLE W166
Immediately it is worth noting that the w166 body has already been discontinued. Nevertheless, this car is still considered very comfortable within the class, while remaining well-controlled. But still, in terms of comfort, this Mercedes is inferior to Lexus. After driving roughness on the body remains a lot of vibrations, which in the Japanese crossover is almost non-existent. But the steering wheel settings in Mercedes allow you to drive much more actively. But for a relaxed ride around the city, the steering wheel in Lexus is more suitable.
Comparison with VW Touareg
The air suspension on the Touareg gives the driver more balance, especially when activating sport mode. This German crossover enters better turns thanks to a more informative steering wheel, it can be easily maneuvered even at speeds up to 200 km/h. Also, the dynamics here are much better, and the fuel consumption is less.
In General, the air suspension Touareg is quite comfortable crossover. But even on 18-inch wheels, it will not be able to compare with Lexus in terms of comfort. First of all, the difference is felt in noise and vibration isolation. In addition, with a comparable mileage of test cars in the Touareg cabin, there are already more extraneous sounds. And most importantly, the passage of holes and bumps in the German crossover feels much stronger, so it’s better to go around them. But it is much easier to do this than on a Japanese crossover.
The Touareg interior is a head more technologically advanced and modern than the RX, and for many today this factor is crucial when choosing a car. However, here I do not have a sense of high cost, which in some places would border on controversial decisions, as is often the case in luxury class. I also note that the abundance of displays and touch buttons can scare off a more Mature audience.
Of course, the Lexus RX is not without drawbacks and weaknesses, but there are more than enough weighty arguments for buying it. He justifies his gluttony with an affordable service. The slow pace and shortcomings of the handling – comfort. Clumsy (for some) design and gloomy multimedia system-legendary reliability. What is really important and what is not, and whether one can replace the other, depends not so much on our tastes as on our lifestyle and priorities. And as you know, they tend to change sometimes. This explains how people who have been driving German cars all their lives switch to Japanese cars. And vice versa.