2010 Lexus RX 450h SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Lexus RX 450h SUV

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Lexus RX 450h Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 295 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 30/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Lexus RX 450h

  • Though expensive, the 2010 Lexus RX 450h delivers impressive fuel economy and utility plus all the power, amenities and flawless build quality consumers have come to expect from Lexus.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, smooth ride, luxurious and comfortable interior, smart electronics interface.

  • Cons

    No third-row seat, expensive option packages, questionable economic and environmental benefit.

  • What's New for 2010

    For 2010, Lexus has redesigned the hybrid version of its popular RX luxury crossover SUV. The name change from last year's RX 400h to this year's RX 450h signifies evolutionary style changes along with some significant under-the-skin improvements.

Full 2010 Lexus RX 450h Review

What's New for 2010

For 2010, Lexus has redesigned the hybrid version of its popular RX luxury crossover SUV. The name change from last year's RX 400h to this year's RX 450h signifies evolutionary style changes along with some significant under-the-skin improvements.


When it debuted four years ago, the Lexus RX 400h answered what many thought was an obvious question: Why doesn't someone make a midsize hybrid SUV? Better yet, how about a luxury-branded midsize hybrid SUV? That first RX hybrid offered the typical Lexus attributes of luxury, a smooth and quiet ride and top-notch build quality. It also provided strong performance along with fuel mileage ratings in the mid-20s. The 2010 Lexus RX 450h represents the next generation of this successful offering.

Among the changes made for 2010 are more power along with slightly better fuel efficiency. The RX 450h produces a maximum output of 295 horsepower, 27 more ponies than before, while the fuel numbers go up a couple of mpg. The hybrid version also shares the same changes made to all 2010 RX models, including an increase in width (though other dimensions remain essentially unchanged), a beefier structure to promote greater crashworthiness, bigger wheels and brakes, more airbags (now at 10 total), a keyless ignition system and a new computer mouselike multifunction controller for the optional navigation system.

Unfortunately, another change for the 450h is a weight gain of more than 400 pounds. However, it seems to have little effect on the RX 450h's dynamics, as performance is still strong and handling feels sharper than before, thanks to revised steering and suspension systems. As before, the hybrid can function in gas-engine-only, electric-only or combination modes depending on conditions. During light acceleration or when coasting, the 450h saves fuel by running solely on battery power. When full power is called for, the 450h offers acceleration similar to that of some V8-powered rivals while achieving the best fuel economy in the midsize luxury SUV class.

Of course, none of this comes cheap. A typically equipped 2010 Lexus RX 450h will cost about $4,000 more than a similar RX 350. Given that, it would take many miles and years of driving to recoup the hybrid's additional cost via reduced fuel consumption. And from a pure "save the planet" standpoint, buying a 50-mpg Prius makes much more sense than buying a 28-mpg crossover. But it's hard not to like the RX 450h -- quick, luxurious and relatively fuel-efficient, it seemingly offers the best of all worlds, virtually guaranteeing its appeal to the luxury SUV buyer.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h is a midsize luxury SUV available in front- or all-wheel-drive versions. It comes in one trim level, with standard and optional equipment levels similar to those of the RX 350. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, 10-way power front seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, wood interior trim, sliding and reclining second-row seats and a nine-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options are bundled in a number of packages. The Sport package adds 19-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. The Premium package adds leather seating, a sunroof, a power tailgate, driver seat memory and an iPod interface. Selecting this package allows further upgrades via the Comfort package (adaptive xenon headlights and heated/cooled front seats) and the Luxury package (19-inch wheels, upgraded leather seating, side-monitoring system, wood/leather steering wheel and extendable front seat cushions). The Navigation package (also requires the Premium package) includes a hard-drive-based navigation system, real-time traffic updates, a back-up camera, Bluetooth and upgraded speakers.

Individual options include LED headlights, park assist, a Mark Levinson premium stereo system, a dual rear-screen entertainment system, a head-up display, and the Pre-Collision system (which primes the brakes and tightens the seatbelts if a collision is deemed imminent). Many of the various package features are also available as stand-alone options.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h hybrid combines a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine with electric motor-generators to power vehicle systems and the driving wheels. Front-wheel-drive models use two motor-generators -- one acting as a starter/generator and the other providing motive force -- while the all-wheel-drive version adds a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Producing up to 295 hp and working through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT), the RX 450h provides smooth, strong performance. We've timed the 450h from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, a time that's about the same as the regular RX 350's. Fuel economy estimates stand at 28 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined for the FWD model, with the AWD version rating 1 mpg less. Properly equipped, the RX 450h can tow up to 3,500 pounds.


The RX 350 comes standard with front- and rear-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and dual front knee bags. Standard stability- and traction-control systems as well as antilock brakes with brake assist are on hand to help you avoid an accident in the first place.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although the RX 450h is part of Lexus' entry-level SUV lineup, the 450h's cabin gives the impression that this could be the company's flagship. Real wood and leather trim make for a rich ambience. The optional Mark Levinson sound system rivals the best systems available from any manufacturer, and the optional navigation system boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces around. In addition to voice command capability, the latter employs a new "Remote Touch" interface that replaces the former touchscreen setup with a mouselike controller located on the center console. Remote Touch is immediately intuitive and generally easier to use than interfaces offered by the RX's competitors.

Rear passengers can get comfortable thanks to the seat's reclining and sliding adjustments. That seat is split 40/20/40 to optimize both passenger comfort and cargo-carrying flexibility. When it's time to turn this luxury cruiser into a beast of burden, the RX 450h is ready with 40 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats up and 80 cubes with those seats down.

Driving Impressions

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h drives a lot like its gas-powered RX 350 sibling, delivering both a smooth ride and reasonably tight handling despite its extra weight (which is only noticeable when changing direction at higher speeds). That smooth ride comes thanks to soft suspension tuning, which makes the RX feel a little too spongy for those who appreciate a more spirited driving experience. However, the Sport package does firm things up a bit.

The RX 450h is capable of approaching 30 mph in electric mode alone, which is of great fuel-saving benefit in stop-and-go traffic. This year brings a new "EV" mode that allows solely electric propulsion for lower speeds over short distances. Under maximum acceleration, though, an un-Lexus-like amount of engine noise is generated as the gas engine revs all the way up to redline.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Lexus rx 450 h

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Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Without a doubt the finest car I have ever owned. After 80,000 miles the car has only had oil changes tires and brakes 3000 miles ago. Car has averaged 25.5 mpg to date. Less than what is stated but not uncommon. I live in a very hilly area. The cost of the hybrid over the RX 350 has been met and I am now reaping the reward of buying this car rather than the non hybrid model which gets 30 % less mpg. I am kind of bummed at the residual value which is less than half of what the car cost. this car will cruise to 250,000 miles easy with the proper maintenance. While this is a great car I would like to see it a diesel RX suv

2010 rx 450h hybrid

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Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I bought this car after careful review from all the usual sources. I am very pleased with my new red car. Comfort package and all the bells and whistles. I studied the reviews and surmised that the way you drive the car dictates the mileage you will get. So no quick starts and using the cruise control when ever possible and averaging 28 mpgs! I live 6 miles from work and drive to mountain bike on the weekends and am getting over 400 miles per tank. You really have to take it easy and enjoy the car to get this but it is achievable .Love the complete voice activation for everything. Just read the manual and you are on your way. Very comfortable and a joy to drive.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

Lexus lemon car

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Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I bought the 2010 RX 450h after having a 2002 GS 300 that served me greatly for 7 years. However, the RX stranded me in the middle of a busy intersection after 1 month and 2000 miles. This car has given me nothing but problems since I bought it and it has been in the shop 20 days of the 50 days that I have owned it. Lexus does not build the quality cars it used to. I would not recommend buying this car. You will regret it!

3 of 10 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I finally decided to get a new car and replace my 2005. Wanted to stay in the SUV arena, but really wanted to save on mileage. This one does it! I am averaging 30 mpg and I'm not driving differently to effect the mileage. The technology is really fun -- I like the mouse and can work it effortlessly. (I was afraid it wouldn't be natural - it is.) Heads up display is cool. - - I can even see what radio station I'm on. This car is not only beautiful but functional too. I'm happy.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Hard, stiff, jolting ride. Very uncomfortable if there are any imperfections in the road surface. Lexus destroyed the beautiful 400h to create this mobile design error. Typical stupidity was to put the only front 12 v outlet in a cavern under 3 boxes. Duh! Why not a second convenient one? The only thing luxurious about the 450h is the price. It is our 3rd and LAST Lexus unless they replace our suspension system. It is sad to see great soft riding comfortable SUVs (RX series 1999- 2009) be trashed so badly in 2010. After 6 months the car has 3000 miles on it because our Honda truck is far more comfortable. The Lexus is history next year!

Lives up to high expectations

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

With 5,000 miles on the car now, I'm averaging about 28mpg. The lowest tank average occurred driving through the mountains on vacation with a loaded car at about 25 mpg and I have gotten around 30mpg on normal driving around town. I had very high expectations for this car when I chose to buy it and it has really beaten my expectations with pure comfort, exceptional ride quality and enough technical gadgetry to keep me occupied on long drives. It certainly is not a sports car, but for it's size, the handling is very good and the engine and CVT transmission is a perfect match. I also live in a very dark area and the adaptive headlights are bright and extremely helpful at night.

Talk About The 2010 RX 450h

2010 Lexus RX 450h Discussions See all Started By

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Read more about the 2010 Lexus RX 450h

Gas Mileage


  • 30
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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