Review: 2022 Lexus RX 450h

2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada

Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: February 6, 2022

 



The Lexus RX soldiers on into 2022 without any significant changes, as it already received a handful of revisions over the past few model years like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a tweaked suspension for better ride quality, and a full suite of driver assistance features. Why mess with something that isn’t broken, and we don’t think that the lack of upgrades will stop the RX from continuing to be Lexus’ best selling vehicle in Canada. Built in our own backyard of Cambridge, Ontario, we’re back in the Lexus RX 450h to see what makes this hybrid tick, and why it’s such an appealing product to Canadians.

 



When this RX’s design language first debuted with that Predator-style front grill, its appearance was controversial but over the years it has grown on us. Judging by the more mature and sleeker designs brought forth by the new IS Sedan and LX 600 SUV, we think the next-gen of RX will be even better looking.

 



The interior is far from the technological wonder of a Mercedes GLE or BMW iX, but it’s an inviting place to spend time in. Fit and finish is at the top of its class and there’s not a panel gap in sight. Materials are soft and though black plastics are to be found, leather is the dominant texture and runs rampant even on the armrests.

 

 

And it’s the little things that matter, like the thickly padded steering wheel, analog clock, adjustable-depth cupholders so you can fit cups and mugs of any size without spillage, side door pockets that can swing outwards so you can grab and store larger items much easier, heated and ventilated seats that automatically detect temperature and tune to the perfect setting, and power windows that slow down right before they close so the action is quieter and less intrusive to passengers.

 

 

The overreliance on an army of hard buttons for functions may seem excessive and intimidating but it’s a refreshing alternative to the industry’s trend of digital real estate. The RX is available in both two- and three-row configurations as well, though the third row L-model seats feel more like a punishing afterthought than usable, adult-friendly thrones.

 


As with all modern Lexus’ since the mid-2010s, we are constantly let down by the infuriatingly complex infotainment system. While it used to only be controlled via a maddening mouse-like knob, it can now be operated with a slightly easier-to-use trackpad and with touchscreen input. The latter saves the day, as we’ve always said the system was designed to be a touchscreen all along, but unfortunately the screen is still situated too far away from the seats to deem as convenient. And we haven’t ferried around one passenger that hasn’t complained about how difficult it was to change the radio station. The haptic-feedback joystick is simply unreliable, unpredictable, and does not feel natural under use, especially for those coming from the swift, lag-free actions of a smartphone.

The RX offers two powertrains to choose from. The first is a conventional V6 gasoline engine in the RX 350, while the RX 450h we are testing uses the same V6 but is bolted with three electric motors - two in the front, and one in the rear - sending a combined 308 hp to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The RX 450h follows a tried and true formula that has landed Toyota at the top of the hybrid game since the turn of the century with the Prius. In fact, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid we reviewed is one of the most fuel efficient, practical, and versatile hybrid SUVs we have ever driven.

 



The RX 450h manages both combustion, electricity, and the transition in between flawlessly and seamlessly. You would be hard pressed to notice the change of the guard, as the only indication that the engine has flipped on is by the auditory buzz and clatter it emits. Acceleration is smooth yet even with the immediacy of torque from the electric motors, it never feels eager off the line. On the bright side, the brakes have decent mechanical feel and are not as characteristically mushy as other hybrid vehicles with regenerative braking.

 

 

For fuel saving measures, the RX 450h can run on pure electricity for up to 60 km/h before the engine tags in and takes over. It ends up being a game of how little throttle and speed you can get away with, before the big brother engine is woken from its slumber. The more you play, the more you save, and on city driving, we ended up averaging a respectable 8.6 L/100km in sloggy, slushy winter conditions with the cabin heat, heated seats, and heated steering wheel cranked up to the maximum - still impressive for such a sizable SUV. Shame that it requires premium 91-octane fuel, though, as it zaps away some of the savings gained.

 

While it’s far from a sporty SUV, the RX 450h and its additional weight from the batteries handles itself with composure and rides over bumps and pockmarked roads with a solidity expected from a premium vehicle. The adaptive dampers and active stabilizers that come with the F Sport packages are geared more towards providing a soothing and relaxed ride rather than a sporty one, which pretty much summarizes everything about this Lexus SUV, and something tells me that RX owners won’t mind one bit.

 


Infotainment worries aside, the RX 450h continues its impressive take on a proven hybrid formula. Its driving experience is calm and collected, while its handling is grounded and secure. Acceleration from the hybrid powertrain is strong as well as efficient, which should greatly appease its target audience. Add to that its premium badge, stellar reliability track record, and army of creature comforts, and it’s no wonder why the RX continues its winning streak here on home turf.

 


Photo Gallery:

 

2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada f sport series 3 2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada 2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada wheels

 

2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada badge

 

2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada interior 2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada electric motor 2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada touchscreen

 

2022 Lexus RX 450h matador red mica canada heated seats

 

 



Specifications:

Model: 2022 Lexus RX 450h F Sport Series 3

Paint Type: Matador Red Mica
Base Price: $60,250

Price as Tested: $74,300
Wheelbase(mm): 2,790
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,890 / 1,895 / 1,720

Curb weight (kg): 2,110
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 with hybrid
Horsepower: 308 combined hp
Transmission: CVT
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 8.6

Tires: P235/55R20

 



OTHER REVIEWS:

 




 

search for cars:

 

 

 

  • OTHER REVIEWS:

     

    BMW X5

     

    Volvo XC90

     

    Lexus ES 300h