2010 Lexus RX 450h Review

Pros & Cons

  • Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, smooth ride, luxurious and comfortable interior, smart electronics interface.
  • No third-row seat, expensive option packages, questionable economic and environmental benefit.
List Price Range
$12,495 - $16,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2010 Lexus RX 450h models

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.

2010 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Lexus RX 450h.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love it.
LuckyMe,11/02/2016
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
The great thing about this SUV is that the body changes so little each year that the car seems like new, at about a third of the price of a new one. I don't like the big new grilles Lexus has been making anyway, I think they cheapen the look. I prefer the more refined grille of the 2010. Despite that mine had somewhat high mileage, it was extremely well maintained by the previous owner and seems like new. I have had no problems with it thus far except I occasionally get a little carriage squeaking on overpasses for some reason, but not on regular paved road. However, otherwise, the ride is as smooth and quiet as silk. My favorite things about this car are the cushy interior and the high ride so that you can practically walk in and out of the car. No having to bend way down to get into the car. The quality of the interior is great, soft leather, nice wood on steering wheel and other locations. The only things that are cons for me are that the charger outlet and usbs are not in a good place. You have to remove a storage bucket in the front center console to get to them. It would be more convenient to have them in the dashboard area. However I guess it allows you to store things that are being charged or played out of sight. Heated seats are very nice. I like the auto lights and being able to talk on the phone handsfree via bluetooth connected phone. Mine is silver (tungsten pearl, to be precise; it is a little different than silver, I've noticed) with black interior and some light gray around the window area. I love it. Sometimes after I get out of it and walk away, I look back at it just to admire it. I am getting good mileage, averaging about 29 mpg thus far, and that's on 87 or 89. By all means, buy the luxe car a few years later at a fraction of the price!
Surprised at low resale
Steph G,05/25/2016
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We have taken very good care of our 2010 Lexus RX450H the past 3 years (second owner). Low miles, no accidents, garaged....ect. We have been looking at the value of our 450H on Edmunds and Kellys.....shock that we are already under loan value. And we put down several thousand at purchase to cover the gap. Very disappointed. And this Hybrid never met it's promised mpg's either.
Very pleased with this car after nearly 8 years!
Happy Lexus Owner,04/08/2018
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We bought our RX450h new and have driven it daily since. It is not a car for the performance oriented driver. It is a room, comfortable cruiser that gets impressive gasoline mileage in town. On the highway it is smooth and quiet. The hybrid drive has worked great, and we've had no problems with the system. After 70K miles, I can report only one significant mechanical problem, which could very well have been catastrophic. An oil hose burst and the car leaked oil all over our garage a driveway. Fortunately, I discovered it in time before the car was driven a significant distance. The local Lexus dealer replaced it for free. This was not an isolated incident with the model... there are quite a few similar cases posted on internet forums. Why the Lexus dealer didn't recall and replace it earlier is a mystery. If you own this car or buy one used, make sure your mechanic checks all of the oil hoses! Otherwise, it's a great (if boring) car. We will pass it down to our teenage daughter soon.
Loving the Lexus
S Hodgson,10/01/2015
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I've been driving my RX 450H for around 7-8 years and love it. I spend a tremendous amount of time driving for work and wanted something nice/comfortable. We purchased the extra maintenance plan and at nearly 200,000 miles, so far I've done nothing but the scheduled oil/maintenance, tires and a battery. More importantly, I love driving it. I concur that milage is contingent upon driving style. I average 26 mpg even hitting 80mph with highway driving, by avoiding quick acceleration and taking my foot off the accelerator when I know I'm braking soon. My only frustration is the USB port location is inconvenient which they've changed in newer models. I leave the connector plugged in so rarely have to access it the port. My Lexus dealership couldn't be more accommodating during maintenance, with a loaner if reserved beforehand, shuttles to the mall across the street if desired, and a nice set up at the dealership where I can work or watch TV in designated lounges. (Johnson Lexus, Raleigh NC) I highly recommend this car and wouldn't hesitate to buy another lexus after this experience.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Lexus RX 450h
More About This Model

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h is a multitasker. These days the term is often used as a code word for doing many things poorly rather than fewer things well. This does not apply to the new Lexus, but the all-new RX 450h seems to embrace so many missions, it can be hard to tell what the point of this vehicle really is. Is it a luxury SUV or a fuel-sipping hybrid?

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h looks nice inside and most materials have a quality feel, but certain luxury items are missing from the 450h's standard features list. With a combined average of 26 mpg it's clear this RX doesn't make a huge case from a fuel-savings perspective, and that sort of goes for the luxury theme as well. For approximately $50,000, we'd expect features like heated front seats and would hope for fewer Toyota parts-bin pieces sprinkled throughout the interior. For the less badge-conscious, a loaded Toyota Highlander Hybrid might work just as well.

Ultimately, non-hybrid crossovers like the Toyota Venza and Highlander are better overall choices. They're more fun to drive, and for less cash, can be optioned to look and feel nearly as nice as the RX hybrid.

Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h Overview

The Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h is offered in the following submodels: RX 450h SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h Base is priced between $12,495 and$16,500 with odometer readings between 73776 and134265 miles.

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Which used 2010 Lexus RX 450hs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Lexus RX 450h for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2010 RX 450hs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,495 and mileage as low as 73776 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Lexus RX 450h.

Can't find a used 2010 Lexus RX 450hs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus RX 450h for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $25,126.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 4 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $15,705.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus RX 450h for sale - 6 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $10,631.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus for sale - 1 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $24,820.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 Lexus RX 450h?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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