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In-depth reviews

Lexus RX SUV (2016-2022) review

"The Lexus RX is comfortable, refined and luxurious, but like many Lexus cars, isn’t as much fun to drive as its rivals"

Lexus RX SUV
Carbuyer Rating

3.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • High-quality interior
  • Quiet and smooth
  • Stylish looks

Cons

  • A bit bland to drive
  • Hybrid economy not great
  • Small boot compared to rivals

The Lexus RX was something of a trailblazer, introducing the world to the hybrid luxury SUV decades ago. Not only did this result in lower emissions but it also meant the RX was extremely refined from the beginning, even if by now almost all of its rival are receiving some form of electrification. 

Those include the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Range Rover Sport, which are all available in hybrid form. Cars like the Audi e-tron go even further, with a fully electric powertrain for zero tailpipe emissions.

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The RX might be less of an outlier than when it launched but it still has unique 'origami' styling to help it stand out. It’s also bigger for this generation, meaning boot space has increased and there's more legroom for passengers in the back. Extra luggage space was badly needed and the RX still lags behind the majority of its competitors in this regard. Designers drew up the boot around the battery fitted in the hybrid model, which has led to a smaller-than-average load space for all RX models.

If you need more room, a stretched version of the Lexus – badged RX L – arrived in spring 2018. It ups the seat count to seven and stretched bodywork behind the rear wheels allows for a bigger boot. Those two extra seats are very tight, though, and you'll need to spend around £1,300 extra for the RX L.

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Buyers of the RX have traditionally had two versions to choose from, a hybrid and a petrol, but in late 2017, the 2.0-litre turbo 200t was discontinued. The hybrid RX 450h uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine in combination with an electric motor to produce 308bhp, which made it both more powerful and more efficient than the 2.0-litre petrol-powered RX 200t.

The RX feels solidly and beautifully crafted, with its plush interior offering space, comfort and luxury wherever you sit. All versions come with plenty of equipment as standard, so the car feels upmarket even if you buy the entry-level model. The F Sport trim adds a more sporty exterior look and some interior upgrades to help it stand out.

The biggest drawback of buying an RX is the lack of thrills you’ll get as its driver. Lexus has focused on making the car comfortable, which makes sense in many ways, but this has led to the car lagging behind a number of its rivals when it comes to handling. If driving dynamics aren’t a big priority, then the RX could be for you; it’s relatively cheap to run, comfortable and good-looking. However, keen drivers should definitely consider alternatives in the class before taking the plunge.

See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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