The 2017 Lexus RX 450h manages to combine luxury and efficiency in an eminently practical SUV, creating a true luxury crossover hybrid. Being a Lexus, the midsize RX 450h has plenty of luxurious trappings. Material quality and workmanship are as top-notch as you'd expect from Lexus. There's also plenty of technology, including new safety items such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, auto high-beams and adaptive cruise control.
Then there's the additional utility you expect with a crossover. The RX 450h does lack the option of third-row seats, and the sloping rear roofline can limit its ability to carry especially large or bulky objects. Still, with the rear seats up, it offers more capacity than any large sedan on the market, and lowering the rear seats allows for up to 55 cubic feet of cargo.
Finally, there's the hybrid powertrain. The 308-horsepower combination of a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 with two electric motors up front (a third motor in the rear is included with all-wheel-drive models) provides adequate performance and admirable fuel economy. The EPA rates the RX 450h at 30 mpg combined (31 city/28 highway) with all-wheel drive. To put those numbers in perspective, the non-hybrid RX 350 all-wheel-drive model comes in at 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway).
As to which RX 450h to pick, this midsize crossover is essentially offered in a single model, though the available F Sport option package brings enough extras to qualify it as its own distinct version. As a matter of fact, we think the F Sport's adaptive suspension and lowered ride height that contribute to sharper handling and an improved ride quality, as well as its racier good looks and distinctive trim, make it the way to go.
Both versions of the 2017 Lexus RX 450h come well-equipped and can be upgraded with assorted option packages, though not all of them are offered in every part of the country. Extras such as a color head-up display, 12.3-inch Remote Touch infotainment display, and a 15-speaker premium sound system will appeal to buyers looking for more tech. Power-folding rear seats are available to make accessing that extra cargo capacity an easier job.
If the RX 450h has its flaws, they're largely limited to the details. The joystick-style Remote Touch system used to access choices on the menu-based central display takes some getting used to. And most people won't lack for room, but a 6-foot passenger will feel the pinch if seated in the rear behind an equally tall driver. All that said, the RX 450h manages to excel at being both a practical luxury crossover and a respectable fuel-sipping hybrid. If that sounds like the vehicle you're looking for, Edmunds can help you decide what options you want and find the best deal in your area.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.