2021 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid – Re-Driven Review – Electrified Radiant Usefulness

2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: 4th generation mid size Radiance X-over is the most popular luxury vehicle sold in America.

POLARIZING RADIANCE IS MOST POPULAR:  Admittedly an acquired taste, no other luxury vehicle has found as much love among American mothers and, for that matter, fathers, sons and daughters as the Lexus RX crossover SUV. The  current fourth generation Lexus RX is about one foot longer than the original XU10 series and continues to cook-up the most desired recipe for premium mid-size crossover utility vehicle available.

ELECTRIFIED REASON FOR RE-DRIVE: An “L” for extended length conventional combustion engine powered RX 350L is already under Roadblazing.com‘s testing belt. The drive partner for this round happens to be the most popular battery electric hybrid luxury vehicle in the U.S., the mid-cycle refreshed 2021 Lexus RX 450h AWD sparkling in Celestial Blue glass flake F-Sport Black Line motif.

Driving Hits:

  • No. 1 selling gas-battery electric hybrid luxury crossover SUV available in U.S.
  • 308 hp (230 kW) Net Hybrid = 193 kW (259 hp) / 247 lb-ft DOHC Atkinson gas V-6 engine + 123 kW (165 hp) 650 V permanent sealed magnet electric Motor Generator 2  + [AWD only] 50kW (67 hp) 650 V permanent sealed magnet electric Motor Generator 3
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: 2 x 650 V permanent magnet AC motors are supplied by a 1.88 kWh NiMH battery pack adding 350 lbs.
  • 1.875 kWh regenerative recharging 30 modules (240 cells) x 9.6V Ni-MH battery pack
  • Ample around scoot zip in Sport Mode
  • Standard on-demand all-wheel drive
  • Active corner braking quells some understeer
  • Lexus solid build
  • Lexus contemplative cabin isolation from road and powertrain
  • 10-step CVT with fixed ratio planetary first gear, manumatic step shifting
  • Pure battery electric mode

    2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: power flow displays
  • No need to fuss with charging cord
  • 30 miles per gallon combined driving fuel economy
  • 482 miles estimated highway range
  • Decent road compliance on 20″ Bridgestone Ecopia touring tires
  • Predictable body motion and appropriately hefty steering weighting

Driving Misses:

  • +353 lbs. vs. non-hybrid Lexus RX 350 = increased body roll & dive
  • Longer throttle tip-in and slower than non-hybrid RX 350
  • Continuously variable transaxle doesn’t feel very stepped
  • Steering feel anesthetized
  • Pure electric operation limited to parking lot speeds
  • No all-terrain capability with all-season highway rubber

What It Has Got:

  • From $49,370 (incl. destination) for a 2021 Lexus RX 450 Hybrid AWD . The tested 2021 RX 450h AWD F-Sport ticks off at a total of $56,795.
  • 4th generation (AL20 series) of mid size luxury crossover sports activity vehicle
  • Available extended length 3-Row “L” model
  • Eye catching Celestial Blue glass flake paint
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: Sports the polarizing dark honeycomb filled spindle snout
  • Rather chiseled evolution of Jelly Bean SUV w/ floating roof D-pillar
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: Celestial Blue hue is rather radiant
  • Immense spindle grille and Kammback liftgate = acquired taste
  • Gold standard for solid build, tight seams, syrupy smooth control action
  • Tall, yet car -like riding
  • Accommodates 5 adults with plenty of space
  • Car-like twin cowl intimate cockpit instrument and control layout
  • Supportive front seat bolstering, especially on F-Sport
  • 40/20/40% split nearly flat folding 2nd Row seat backs, remote cargo bay releases
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: 40/20/40 split folding 2nd Row seat backs
  • Sub cargo floor storage
  • Epicurean feeling materials, high resolution displays
  • Good for segment standard feature set
    • Heated mirrors, front seats, headlamp washers
    • Keyless comfort entry, ignition
    • Bi-LED headlamps
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Power windows full express x 4
    • Power liftgate
    • 2-zone automatic climate
    • 10 way/ 5-way power adjust driver / front pax seats
    • Bluetooth wireless communications and music stream
    • Dual ELD dial gauges, 4.2″-inch TFT color MFD
    • USB-A x 6
    • 8.0″-inch touch LCD infotainment display w/ Remote touch interface control
    • 9 speaker , 360W CD, streaming audio
    • Android Auto, AppleCar Play, Amazon Alexa
    • Real time traffic, weather
    • Enform Remote vehicle services
    • Wi-Fi
  • Stand-out safety features & grades
      • 10 SRS airbags
      • IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus
  • Safety System Plus 2.0
    • Rear camera, Forward Collision avoidance w/ pedestrian & daytime cyclist detection braking; Adaptive cruise control – full; Lane keep assist, lane centering & tracing; Blind spot warning; Rear cross traffic warning; Road sign detection; Auto high beams headlamps
  • 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper to bumper, 6 yrs / 70k mi. powertrain. 10 yrs. / 150k mi. hybrid component warranty includes 1 yr. / 10k mi. maintenance

What It Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Lexus Spindle grille = acquired taste
  • Tall cargo liftover
  • 13% less nominal cargo space (due to EV battery)
  • No 2nd Row seat heating
  • Getting the hang of touch-pad remote infotainment display control
  • Lexus Enform free infotainment apps have been gutted

Standout Features on tested 2021 Lexus RX 450h AWD F-SPORT BLACKLINE:

  • Heads Up Display
  • 12.3″ dashtop media display w/ native cloud GPS Navigation
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: available HUD displays adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and native cloud navigation
  • Mark Levinson 15-speaker 835 watt 7.1 DTS audiophile audio
  • Cabin panel & seating blue contrast stitching
  • Wide shoulder bolster F-sport seats, heated & cooled front, driver’s 2 position memory
2021 Lexus 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport: Enhanced bolstering F-Sport NuLuxe front bucket seats are retain admirable comfort
  • Heated power tilt, telescope leather F-Sport steering wheel w/ transmission shift paddles
  • Power folding side mirrors
  • Approach activated power liftgate
  • Inductive wireless device charging pad
  • Sonar park assist w/ surround camera view
  • Blackline 2-piece set of matching Zero Haliburton luggage


2021 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid AWD F-Sport = Unconventional looks notwithstanding, incomparable fuel economy and refinement, make this the land’s most loved luxury mid-size gas hybrid electric crossover vehicle.


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WHAT: 2018 Lexus RX 350L AWD-i 3 Row, mid-sized plus hybrid luxury crossover sport utility vehicle.

Standard Power: 3498 cc Atkinson cycle, dual VVT-i DOHC 24V V-6 cylinder gasoline engine: 290 hp/ 263 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm +8 -speed Automatic Torque Converter Planetary Transaxle;

(Optional) PTU to viscous multi-clutch differential; 100:0 – 50:50 torque split

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: 4.4″-inch lengthening of AL20 variant of K-platform, which also underpins Toyota Highlander ; Wheelbase and 2nd Row doors = standard RX.

Obsequiously Ostentatious = upper & lower multi horizontal bar “Spindle Grille.” Lower front fascia follow mold with chrome ringed “L” creases. High belt-line, creased door cheatline, with lower front to rear door valance creasing opening then folding up to rear quarter panel;

Now lengthened horizontal roof cascades down to gloss black short mid D-pillar, which slopes down from tinted post C-pillar window = Hearse’s rendition of the “Floating Roof”;

Upright rear backlight is outlined by arching roof and window spoiler; Upper middle liftgate is less radically creased; Tweezed wrap-around taillamps cinched by chrome bar; Monolithic bumper cover receives upper-indent chrome lower valance.

“L” for “Lexus” LED white Daytime Running Lights and rear parking lights;

An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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