Tuesday, December 17, 2019

2019 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport: The Brand's Performance-Oriented Crossover Hybrid

Highlight: All the RX hybrid models are outfitted with an all-wheel drive configuration.

Vehicle’s MSRP: $61,854 (Base Model: $52,080)

Seating Capacity: Up To Seven, Depending On The Trim

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; all-wheel drive; a radar activated cruise control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; an all-speed radar activated cruise control system; an automatic high beam light system; a lane departure warning system with steering assist; a lane keep assist system; a brake assist system; a rain sensing wiper system; and a back up camera

F Sport Hybrid Standard Equipment: 20-inch wheels; a hybrid system leather interior; power operated driver’s seat, steering  and memory mirror; aluminum pedals; leather shift knob; an electronic parking brake system; Lexus Enform Safety and Service Connect system; smart watch and Alexa skill integration; auto dual zone climate control system; reclining/sliding  split rear bench seats; a power back door; power folding heated outside mirrors; a power tilt/telescopic steering column; a rearview automatic mirror; a push button ignition starter system; and carpeted floormats

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: blind spot monitor and intuitive parking assist with auto braking; auto dimming power fold mirror; panoramic view mirror; heads up display; touch free power rear liftgate; triple beam LED auto leveling headlamps with washers; intuitive parking assist; 12.3-inch navigation system; Mark Levinson 15-speaker system; power moonroof; aluminum roof rails; all-weather floor mats; and paint protection film

Other Trim Level: 

Luxury trim

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 9-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/308-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 

What’s New: The RX hybrid is basically a carryover for the 2019 model year. The big news is related to the Lexus Enform Remote, which integrates both a smart watch and Amazon Alexa.

Why: The RX is available in both a two-row and a three-row configuration. All RX hybrids are powered by an all-wheel drive configuration.

The RX hybrid, which we reviewed, is fueled by a 6-cylinder, 308-horsepower gas and electric motor. The luxurious hybrid achieves 31 miles in the city and 28 miles on the highway. Lexus signature aggressive grille seems fitting for the F-Sport model.

For those seeking a sportier driving experience in their hybrid, they can step up to the F-Sport trim. This athletic package adds a stiffer suspension system, an enhanced throttle response and a more responsive steering system. Also the exterior appearance of the vehicle has been altered too. The performance-oriented hybrid adds 20-inch wheels, a black grille, a lower spoiler section, black side mirrors and badging, identifying its more aggressive appearance.

Inside the RX F-Sport, Lexus has beefed up the interior too. In addition to all of the luxury amenities one should expect in the RX, the interior design team has outfitted the vehicle with quilted supportive front seats with bolsters and aluminum pedals for the gas and brakes. In fact, our vehicle was accented with a bold looking optional red seats. The bright colored seats added 'flavor' to a brand that hasn't been associated with excitement.

But: While Lexus finally has a three-row, car-based crossover, its takes a lot of maneuvering to seat large adults in both the second and third row simultaneously. Thankfully the second row slides forward in order to accommodate two occupants in the third row. Possibly, the best scenario is to place adults in the second row, while seating small kids in the third row. We can’t imagine average size adults taking a road trip, while being seated in both the second and third rows.

Moreover, with the third row in use, the cargo room is severely limited and the horsepower drops slightly, when comparing the short wheel base RX to the extended version.

And the intuitive hand touched virtual mouse is super sensitive. The intuitive system controls the infotainment system. One can use the duplicate steering, ventilation and audio controls to use many of the systems.

Furthermore, Lexus’ massive spindle grille still is somewhat controversial. Either folks will love it, hate it or just tolerate it.

Lastly, the closes competitor to this non plug-in hybrid is BMW’s X5 which offers a plugin application.

Verdict: Lexus adds the best of both worlds in their most popular vehicle, the RX. The RX is available in a two-row or a three-row configuration. The vehicle is available in a gasoline or a hybrid configuration. Both 6-cylinder engines are powered by a super peppy engine. For those seeking a hybrid with an aggressive design and a sportier appearance, the RX F-Sport model is a great alternative. One not only gains the additional horsepower but a more performance oriented drive too.

Hybrid Plug-In Alternative:  BMW X5 xDrive45e

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