Saturday, April 20, 2024

2024 Lexus RX 450h AWD: The Luxury Brand’s Midsize Crossover Adds A Plug-In


Highlight: When parking on the street, the RX can detect if a vehicle or bicycle is approaching from the rear, preventing the inside occupants from operating the door.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $76,765 

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; back up camera; a stability control system; pre-collision system; rain detection system; a radar activated cruise control system; lane tracing assist system; lane departure with steering assist; intelligent high beam headlamps; a front collision warning system; a road sign assist; an automatic braking system; blind spot electronic monitor with a rear traffic alert system; a daytime cyclist detection system; rain-sensing windshield wipers; side mirrors with integrated turn lamps; and a first aid kit


Standard Equipment (450h): 21-inch wheels; Level 1 charging cable standard; all-wheel drive; Ash Bamboo interior trim; 14-inch infotainment screen; power folding heated outside mirrors; panoramic moonroof; roof rails; semi-aniline leather seats; heated and ventilated front and rear seats; a three position driver’s memory seat; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power partial reclining rear seats; wood and leather trimmed steering wheel; race inspired paddle shifters; a heated steering wheel; a wireless phone charger; a heads up display system; a subscription based navigation system; and a multizone climate control system

Options: advanced park with remote park; cold area package; panoramic view; monitor traffic jam assist; premium triple beam; power rear door with kick sensor; digital key technology package; a digital rearview mirror; Mark Levison premium audio system; carpet cargo mat; illuminated package; illuminated cargo sills; illuminated door sills; mudguards; side puddle lamp; and wheel locks


These two photos demonstrate the optional advance parking system, while activated.

Other Non Electrified Trim Levels:

RX

RX 350h

RX 500h F Sport

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 12-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD/CD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

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

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 70,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Standard RX 450h Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine/304-hp

Electric Vehicle Hybrid Battery Warranty: 10 years or 150,000 miles

Recommended Fuel: Premium


Electric Vehicle Driving Range: 37 (could take up to 3 hours to charge using a Level 2 outlet)

Standard Mileage: 88 MPGe combined (according to Lexus) We are still waiting for fueleconomy.gov, which is operated by the federal government to evaluate its MPGe.

Maximum Towing Capacity: 999 lbs

What’s New: The brand’s fifth-generation RX adds a plug-in model for the 2024 model year, making it the first time the popular model has transitioned to electrification.


Why: 

A sporty exterior design

A plug-in model with 37 miles of electric driving range

A longer driving range with both fuel and gasoline

Great power and acceleration

Roomy interior

A 14-inch infotainment touchscreen is available

Panorama roof available with a power sunshade

A high-end Mark Levinson Audio System

Heated and ventilated front and rear seats

A radar active cruise control system with co-pilot assist

A low speed hands free traffic assist driving system

Heads Up Display (HUD)

Wireless Apple Carplay

An optional digital latch with safe exit is designed to prevent the door from opening and warn of motorists and cyclists approaching

The optional digital rearview mirror increases one field of vision

Wireless phone charging

A high level of safety driving aids

An advanced optional automatic parking system

A variety of driving modes

But: 

The front fascia is still somewhat polarizing

A complicated infotainment system requires voice activation to control many of the functions.

Driver’s seat needs more back support

The layout and design of the digital instrument cluster and infotainment system needs to be thoughtfully integrated into the vehicle like in the Genesis and Audi brands.

No front wheel drive model on the 450h

The vehicle rides firmer than one would expect from Lexus

Towing capacity is significantly lower than other RX gasoline only models



Verdict: Unlike Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, Lexus has taken a cautious approach in terms of electrifying its brand. In 2023, Lexus added its only fully electrified vehicle, the compact RZ. The RZ shares a platform with Toyota and Subaru. And now the larger RX is making its push toward electrification.

Unlike the smaller RZ, which is all-electric, the RX like the compact NX and TX, is now available in a plug-in configuration. This means for many buyers, who are somewhat hesitant about jumping in the all-electric world, they will have the best of both worlds, gasoline and electrification.

On a full charge, the peppy 304-horsepower RX can achieve upwards of 37 miles, before the gasoline engine kicks in. When the gasoline engine takes over, the RX plug-in can achieve over 500 miles of non-stop driving, before needing to refuel and/or recharge. We’re still waiting for fueleconomy.gov, a federally operated website, to release their finding on the mileage.

For comparison sakes, Lexus’ RX 350h luxury trim, which has a 619-mile driving range, according to fueleconomy.gov, has a starting price of $61,000. While the horsepower in the RX 350h is somewhat underwhelming, the peppy RX 450h, which is a plug-in, starts out the gate near $71,000. At $71,000, this makes the RX the most expensive RX to date.

On the hand, when comparing the RX plug-in to its direct competitors, the Volvo XC60 Recharge and BMW X5 sdrive50e, we notice a drastic difference in the price. The Volvo XC60 and BMW X5 sdrive50e offers a 36-and 39-mile driving range, respectively. The Volvo and BMW has starting prices at $59,125 and $74,095, respectively. 

Moreover, Mercedes-Benz is the only automaker who has a fully electric vehicle in the midsize luxury segment, the EQE 350. Out the gate, the base EQE is priced at $79,050.

There is also the compact Genesis G70 Electrified to consider. The luxurious all-electric vehicle has a starting price under $68,000. 

While the price point of the RX 450h is more aligned with the BMW X5 xdrive50e, which are both plug-ins, we can only imagine the price point of the RX once the model becomes all-electric.

Outside of the electrification, the current generation RX, which debuted during the 2023 model year, mirrors that of the plug-in. Our test model offered a firm ride and all of the latest luxury accoutrements one has come to expect from the luxury brand. As in other Lexus models, we were somewhat frustrated by the subscription-based navigation system and the audio system. Lexus is counting on the users to rely on the inconsistent voice-activated system to operate the infotainment system.

With that said, will those seeking an electrified Lexus be willing to pay for the plug-in, which qualifies for federal incentives, steer toward the RZ, which offers heavy incentives, are just steer clear of the plug-in and/or possibly seeking out a non Lexus brand. Time will tell, while Lexus takes more of a cautious approach to electrifying their vehicles.

Plug-In Competition: BMW X5 xDrive50e and Volvo XC60 Recharge

Fully Electrified Models: Genesis Electrified GV70 and Mercedes-Benz EQE



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