Saturday, 22 June 2024

2024 Lexus RX 500h delivers sporty design, solid tech Featured

Posted On Sunday, 02 June 2024 03:24 Written by
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The 2024 Lexus RX 500h is one of the hybrids offered by the luxury automaker. The 2024 Lexus RX 500h is one of the hybrids offered by the luxury automaker. Photo courtesy of Lexus

The RX lineup of vehicles is a longtime heavy hitter in the Lexus lineup. In 2023 alone, Lexus sold over 114,000 RX vehicles, extremely strong numbers for a luxury ride.

In the Lexus SUV world, the RX slots above the smaller NX model, but below the larger TX option.

Lexus has long been a fan of offering hybrid vehicles across its vehicle lineup, and among the offerings in the RX landscape are several hybrid offerings. While 2024 brings a new addition with the 2024 plug-in hybrid RX 450h+, also returning are the traditional hybrid offerings — including the RX 350h and the more powerful RX 500h.

With the steady drumbeat in the news today that many people in 2024 are skipping the move to a full EV and instead preferring to explore hybrid options, the RX hybrid’s popularity should be safe for many years to come.

I recently tested an RX hybrid — specifically the 2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance AWD model — and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up against its luxury hybrid competitors.

LOOKS

The 2024 Lexus RX 500h features deep lines on the side of the vehicle, and a striking silhouette that you won’t see on other luxury SUVs, hybrid or not.

My test vehicle also had a beautiful paint job (“copper crest” color) that I've rarely seen on other vehicles. It’s a unique paint option that really stands out in the crowd in a positive way.

The RX’s large front spindle grille keeps in line with recent Lexus design language. It’s in-your-face approach can be polarizing among luxury car lovers, but it works in this instance in my view.

Overall, the RX hybrid comes across as a forward-looking vehicle that will hold up well both today and well into the future, from the overall design down to the lighting.

The F Sport Performance version offers an even sharper design, including 21-inch matte black wheels, dark chrome exterior trim, black exterior mirror caps, synthetic suede interior door trim, a sport-design steering wheel, and sport seats in front. Other features included a power moonroof, roof rails, and black brake calipers.

Going inside the RX 500h, you’ll immediately notice a luxurious, upscale design.

Lexus has designed the door handle as one you will push to open, which is unique but works well. The soft materials on the doors are a nice touch.

There’s an overall sleek design to the interior of the RX, and upscale, high-end materials are used throughout. The huge touchscreen has a classy look and dominates the center of the vehicle. A tiny shifter boosts space in the center console.

This is a two-row SUV that will comfortably seat 5, so if you need more seats and are looking for three rows, you’ll need to upgrade to Lexus’s new three-row TX option.

Cargo space is decent in the RX 500h, coming in at 46.2 cubic feet with rear seats down, 29.6 cubic feet with rear seats up. There’s also plenty of legroom and headroom for all passengers.

The RX500h features leather-trimmed, heated and ventilated front seats, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel — both with memory functions. A cold area package is available, offering helpful features such as a windshield wiper de-icer, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated power rear outboard seats.

Multi-zone climate control is also featured in the RX, and the seats are quite comfortable, even on longer rides.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2024 Lexus RX 500h I tested was powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with a hybrid system featuring two electric motors. Output is impressive at 366 total horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

THe power plant is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the RX hybrid comes in FWD or AWD.  The RX 500h also features a sport-tuned adaptive suspension and an upgraded braking system..

Looking at other trims of the RX, the base, nonhybrid RX 350 offers 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet; The base hybrid (RX 350h) delivers 246 horsepower and 233 pound-feet, the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid offers 304 horsepower.

The RX 500h is somewhat quick, going from 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds in my experience. It proved to be excellent in traffic and on freeway on-ramps for merging and passing.

While some rival luxury SUVs are quicker at getting up to speed, the RX hybrid is extra smooth once you get moving. It features an impactful adaptive suspension, and excellent handling and agility for its size.

Drive modes included Normal, Eco, Sport and Custom. Sport was tons of fun, and even the Normal mode can be enjoyable. Eco is for maximizing fuel savings, of course, so it will be less thrilling.

Drivers seeking a super hot rod experience may be disappointed, but most people will love the experience behind the wheel of the RX hybrid, especially families exploring luxury options and looking for a balance between fun and practicality.

Towing numbers on the RX 500h came in around 3,500 pounds, not the greatest numbers but not terrible either.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The RX’s Lexus Interface infotainment setup features a massive, sharp-looking 14-inch touchscreen that is well-designed and easy to use by touch controls. (Note: A 9.8-inch touchscreen in standard, with the option to upgrade to the 14-inch screen.) 

The 14-inch version I tested features clearly labeled menus for navigation, music, phone, car info and vehicle settings. All commands are executed by touchscreen, except for physical dials for the radio volume and climate temperature.  

Voice commands in the RX also worked very well, and can handle everything from climate to checking fuel mileage to phone calls to radio to navigation. So there is little reason to use the touchscreen if you don't wish to do so.

Other tech highlights include a boatload of ports, a wireless phone charger, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for phone mirroring and a satellite radio trial. There’s also an optional 21-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

While this is not the absolute best tech setup I've seen in a luxury car, it is toward the top of the list. Important to note is that it’s much better than the older Lexus tech setups that could be quite frustrating to use.

As usual, Lexus has loaded the RX with safety features that are helpful and intuitive.

One strong feature is the basic self-driving system which pilots the call via its lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control systems. In my time using the system, it delivered a smooth ride even on curvy roads and also stopped reliably whenever stopping was necessary.

The center of the safety setup is the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, which includes features such as: Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Management, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Intelligent High Beam Headlamps

Other safety and support systems include Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Safe Exit Assist, and Intuitive Parking Assist. Optional features included a panoramic view monitor, and a customizable head-up display — which is helpful, but takes time to master.

Another unique feature is the digital rearview mirror, which will allow drivers to see out the back of the vehicle even when the cargo area is fully loaded.


MPG

The level of success in fuel economy varies depending what version of the RX hybrid you’re driving.

The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2024 Lexus RX 500h are listed as  27 city/28 highway/27 combined. In my real-world driving though, the results were a bit disappointing at just 22 mpg (even allowing for my generous use of Sport mode).

If you’re looking for better numbers, the RX350h hybrid claims 37 mpg city and 34 on the highway. The RX450h+ is a plug-in model that offers a 83 MPGe rating for combined gas/electric driving (including over 30 miles of pure electric driving).

If you opt for the RX450h+, its 18.1-kWh battery pack can be changed in just over two hours with a Level 2 (240 volt) charger.

PRICE

The 2024 Lexus RX 500h I tested was in the higher end of the price range, coming in at just under $75K. My test vehicle was just over $74,765; base price starts about $50K. Hybrid pricing starts around $52K, and the nonhybrid base RX starts around $50K.

Trims offered on the RX include: RX 350, RX 350 Premium, RX350h, RX 350 Premium Plus; RX 350h Premium, RX 450h Premium Plus, RX 350 F Sport, RX 350 Luxury, RX 350h Luxury, RX 500h F Sport Performance, and RX 450h+ Luxury.

The RX hybrid’s price range is about middle of the pack vs. other luxury hybrids, costing less than some big-name European rivals while being equal to or costing slightly higher than other rivals. All in all, it’s a fair price for what you’re getting.

And there’s no need to jump all the way into the $70K range to get a quality RX. Plenty of strong options are available in the $50K to $60K range.

Warranties are strong for the luxury realm, including:
— Overall limited warranty for four years or 50,000 miles
— Powertrain warranty for six years or 70,000 miles
— Hybrid components warranty for 10 years or 150,000 miles
— Complimentary maintenance for one year or 10,000 miles (a bit low) 

BOTTOM LINE  

The 2024 Lexus RX hybrid features a sharp design that’s unique among luxury SUVs, plus a roomy and high-class interior.  

While not the most powerful luxury ride, it offers a sporty ride, plus solid tech offerings and excellent safety features.  

Put all this together, and the RX offers a strong overall package and is one of the better luxury SUVs available, and has the goods to back up its strong sales numbers.

=== 

AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu 



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2024 Lexus RX 500h
  • Price as tested: $74,765 (RX pricing starts around $50K)
  • Best feature: Attractive and unique design, strong tech and safety features
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars    
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers seeking top-notch design, comfort and tech
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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