Ad closing in a few seconds...
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Tempting running costs for private and fleet drivers mean it’ll make a lot of shortlists

Lexus RX SUV (16 on) - rated 4 out of 5
Enlarge 106 photos

PROS

  • Low CO2 hybrid model drives well
  • Quiet, comfortable and refined
  • Five-star crash test rating
  • Lots of standard equipment

CONS

  • Difficult to make a case for 200t version
  • No plug-in hybrid option
  • Expensive list price
  • Frustrating infotainment system

At a glance

New price £41,380 - £63,155
Used price £15,460 - £52,515
Fuel economy 34 - 48 mpg
Road tax cost £20 - £465
Insurance group 34 - 45 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Low CO2 hybrid model drives well
  • Quiet, comfortable and refined
  • Five-star crash test rating
  • Lots of standard equipment

CONS

  • Difficult to make a case for 200t version
  • No plug-in hybrid option
  • Expensive list price
  • Frustrating infotainment system

Lexus RX SUV rivals

Volvo
XC90
4.4 out of 5 4.4

There’s never been a better time to buy a large, luxury SUV, which means the Lexus RX has to compete against some distinctive and credible competition. The Japanese manufacturer may claim it was first to the market with this type of vehicle, but that’s no longer enough to ensure sales.

Hybrid versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Volvo XC90 now offer temptingly low running costs, while performance alternatives like the Maserati Levante, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Porsche Cayenne blur the line between a large SUV and a sports car. That’s before we’ve delved into luxury rivals like the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.

Though such illustrious company is difficult to beat in terms of outright desirability or even cabin quality, we think this Lexus offers a tempting package when it comes to value for money – just so long as you can get over the imposing ‘spindle’ grille and origami-spec styling lines.

But the chances are you’re already sold on the sharper than sharp looks if you’re even considering the RX.

The sensible choice SUV

There’s only one powertrain in the RX and it’s a hybrid. Badged RX 450h, it became the only engine option when the RX 200t turbocharged petrol was removed from the line-up in September 2017

The hybrid is quieter, cheaper to run and better to drive than the petrol-only 200t, so it’s no real loss. With low CO2 output and fuel economy, fleet drivers are a key market for the RX as it also tries to tempt private buyers away from their beloved established premium brands.

Refinement inside the RX is very impressive, with more sound deadening and acoustic glass matching the hybrid powertrain’s quieter running – it definitely suits being driven more sedately, and the luxurious interior helps promote a more relaxed driving style.

Safe, sound and sturdy

Less capable is the infotainment system (although this was updated in 2020), which uses a 12.3-inch screen to display curiously old-fashioned graphics.

2019 Lexus RX interior

It’s controlled using the latest iteration of Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface – a small pillow-shaped control – but we find it clunky and counter-intuitive to operate. Newer cars benefit from a better trackpad design, but still lag behind BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI in terms of ease of use.

The RX has come away from Euro NCAP crash tests with a five-star rating, meaning you’re not left wanting for safety equipment. Each trim level comes with an impressive amount of kit compared to its rivals, too.

Of course, one thing you can certainly count on with any Lexus product – the firm being the luxury wing of Toyota – is reliability. It’s finished particularly well too, so while some of the materials on offer don’t feel as high-brow as the competition, the way they’re put together in the cabin never fails to impress.

Improvements made in 2020

As well as exterior styling upgrades including new front and rear bumpers, slimmer headlights and a more family-familiar grille (this took a single designed six months to develop) the RX also gained some improvements to the way it drives.

Increased body rigidity and stiffer anti-roll bars, plus friction control dampers promise to enhance the car’s cornering ability and comfort.

The safety suite was also given a boost with the ability to spot cyclists during the day and pedestrians at night time. Fancy BladeScan headlights are now available as an option (more on this below) plus standard fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Elsewhere in the interior the infotainment screen became touch sensitive and a better trackpad controller was added too.

Can the ‘original’ luxury SUV keep up with the next generation of contemporary rivals? Read our review to find out.

Lexus RX SUV rivals

Volvo
XC90
4.4 out of 5 4.4

Other Lexus RX models: