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Hoo boy, Lexus really went for it with this one. All of it. Since its inception in 1998, the Lexus RX has been a leader in the midsize luxury crossover segment. In fact, it basically created it. Which means that the newest, most hybrid-y, sporty RX should be the best ever, right?

The 2022 Lexus RX 450h tries to be a bit of everything for everyone — and rarely succeeds. Instead of committing to its base demographic, Lexus wants to play in the sporty segment. Alas, it’s not ready to leave the bench, let alone join the starting lineup. 

two 2022 Lexus RX 450hs driving next to each other

Photo Credit: Lexus Newsroom

Price and Value 

The MSRP range for the 2022 Lexus RX is $46,995-$59,185. It’s available in 10 trim levels, including special editions. Standard features include Apple CarPlay and the class leading Lexus safety system+ 2.0. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below. Prices are for all-wheel-drive versions.

RX 350: $48,045 

  • 295-horsepower V6
  • Apple CarPlay integration
  • Class leading Lexus safety system+ 2.0

 RX 350L: $50,875 

  • Power folding and reclining third row seat
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Second row armrest with two USB ports

RX 350 F Sport: $51,525

  • F Sport exterior styling
  • F Sport front seats with enhanced bolsters
  • Performance inspired instrumentation

RX 450h: $49,795 

  • 308 total system horsepower
  • 30 combined mpg estimate

 RX 450hL: $52,735 

  • Vehicle dynamics integrated management
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Second row captain’s chairs

 RX 450h F Sport: $52,825 (our tester was $62,450)

  • Performance inspired instrumentation
  • 308 total system horsepower
  • 30 combined mpg estimate

RX 350, 350 L, 450h, 450hL Black Line Special Editions: $52,175-$57,155 

  • Black seats with white accents and gray stitching
  • 20-inch black wheels
  • Gloss black grille, front splitter and rear diffuser

The Lexus RX 450h F Sport is a lot of money for a vehicle that’s been on the market for nearly eight years. We’d stick with the base RX 350 and save about $14,000. Lexus does offer some nice warranty coverage, though, including: 

  • 4-year/50,000-mile basic coverage
  • 5-year/70,000-mile powertrain coverage
  • 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain coverage
  • 10-year/150,000-mile hybrid battery coverage

Lexus also throws in roadside assistance, two complimentary maintenance services, and lodging for emergency breakdowns 100 miles from home. 

a man in the front seat of a 2022 Lexus RX 450h

Photo Credit: Lexus Newsroom

Performance 

The Lexus RX 450h F Sport really wants you to believe it's a performer, but it’s just not. The motor is decently peppy — once you’ve mashed the accelerator to the floor. The continuously variable transmission chimes in as needed, but I wouldn’t say that it’s fun. 

Engine 

The hybrid assistance comes from two electric motors producing up to 308 horsepower, which feels nice when pushed. The V6 engine is happy to propel you up to speed and keep you there. It’s not terribly exciting, but it moves the RX’s 4,740 pounds down the road just fine. 

Fuel Efficiency 

Lexus buyers who put down the big bucks for the 450h will see decent gas mileage for a midsize SUV. The EPA estimates 31 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 30 mpg combined. Our test drive yielded closer to 27 or 28 mpg combined. Good, but not the best hybrid numbers out there. 

Drivetrain 

It’s been a while since I’ve driven a vehicle with a continuously variable transmission. I know many people who don’t mind the CVT, but with its drawn out, spongy power delivery, I am still not a fan. To each their own. Our RX 450h tester was all-wheel drive, and it did an admirable job of keeping the car going as it heaved and leaned through corners. 

Acceleration and Handling 

For all of its 308 horsepower, the Lexus was still nothing more than a leisurely jaunt in all driving circumstances. It does offer multiple drive modes. Sport or Sport + is your best shot at feeling any measure of excitement here. Motor Trend estimates the RX 450h running 0 to 60 mph in a middling seven seconds. Its handling is slow and light and mostly devoid of feeling. For buyers wanting ease of driving, the smooth and tepid handling and acceleration will be just fine. 

Braking 

Continuing on the relaxed ethos of the RX, Lexus has tuned the brakes to feel especially soft, making them easy to modulate and control. Rear cross-traffic braking and Lexus’ pre-collision system with pedestrian detection are also included. 

Interior Comfort and Convenience 

The F Sport package on the 450h is one of the biggest misnomers in recent memory. While the package does upgrade some interior bits in the way of luxury, the cabin is an uncomfortable and overly complex place to spend time. There is plenty of legroom in the back and decent cargo space, but the rest of the interior left us wanting. 

Seats 

The front seats in the RX 450h F Sport are very nice — if you weigh less than 180 pounds. They’re supportive, sporty and aggressively bolstered. But they’re also confining. They’d be appropriate in a small sports car, but not in a large SUV where you’re expecting to relax. 

Oddly, the rear seat isn’t much better because the standard recline angle is a bit excessive. Oh well, at least the front seats are heated and ventilated.

Interestingly, $64,000 doesn’t include real leather. Instead, Lexus uses its signature NuLuxe fabric — which, admittedly, is nice. 

Climate Control 

The RX retains many physical buttons for its climate controls. They’re easy to use and should please drivers and passengers alike. The RX is also outfitted with Lexus’ fast-response interior heater. It did just that.

Cargo Space and Cabin Storage 

Cargo space and cabin storage are adequate on the Lexus RX, but nothing exceptional. This would be a great vehicle for two people to take on a short weekend trip, if they can get comfortable in the front seats. Not much room for luggage, though. There’s only 16 feet cubic feet of cargo space standard, and a mediocre 32.6 with the rear seats folded down. 

Infotainment System 

There is no way around this: the infotainment on the 2022 Lexus RX 450h is not good. It’s complex and counterintuitive, with a haptic touchpad inspired by cheesy ‘80s sci-fi movies. Also, it’s situated so far out of reach, you nearly need to unfasten your seatbelt to reach it. 

Honestly, the infotainment system was infuriating enough to make me never want to set foot in the car again, let alone consider spending $64,000 on it. Lexus’ new infotainment should reach the RX soon, and it can’t come soon enough. 

a 2022 Lexus RX 450h parked in a driveway

Photo Credit: Lexus Newsroom

Exterior Appearance and Functionality 

The Lexus RX 450h F Sport just tries so hard to be cool, but it’s all cosmetic. The Sport package includes 20-inch wheels, a special shift knob and badges, LED ambient illumination and a few other touches. It’s aggressive and ostentatious, especially with the massive underbite of a grille hanging over the front wheels. Our tester was painted in a rally inspired Grecian Water Blue, belying it’s true nature. 

Towing Capacity

The Lexus RX 450h is equipped to tow up to 3,500 pounds. Whether you should is another matter entirely. 

Wheels 

F Sport wheels always look attractive, and Lexus hasn’t let us down with the dark graphite 20-inch ones. The 235/55 R20 all-season tires did a nice job keeping road noise down and feeling smooth on the highway.  

Lights and Turn Signals 

Bi LED headlamps come standard in the RX, as well as LED tail lamps and daytime running lights. The F Sport package upgrades to LED turn signals and triple beam LED headlights, with dynamic auto leveling and built-in headlamp washers.

Cameras and Side Mirrors 

Lexus has done a nice job with their cameras in the RX 450h. Our tester had the $1,365 option for a panoramic view monitor with intuitive parking assist. We enjoyed the camera’s surround view capabilities and considered it worth the money. The side mirrors were easy to see out of and provided nice views down the side and behind the vehicle. 

Front and Rear Windshield 

Visibility is pretty good in the RX 450h, but not the best we’ve experienced. The front windshield sits far in front of the driver, creating a palpable sense of distance between you and the road. The front and rear wipers did a nice job of keeping the view unobscured. The defrost features worked especially well, particularly with the included cold weather package. 

Safety 

The Lexus RX 450h feels safe, but the technology can be overly sensitive in its alerts and application — sometimes frustratingly and distractingly so. The RX 450h also did not score as high as expected in government crash test ratings. 

Features 

Lexus is all about the latest in safety technology. Here is just a sampling of some of the fancy features found on our tester. The rest can be viewed on the Lexus website. 

  • Rear cross-traffic braking
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Lane departure alert

Awards and Ratings 

While the RX 450h didn’t sweep the safety ratings as we thought it might, it did score relatively well. It earned a 4-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Final Impression 

The 2022 Lexus RX 450h F Sport is the definition of a mixed bag. It’s neither particularly luxurious, comfortable, sporty or as efficient as its price tag suggests. Its technology is very complicated and dated. It’s not easy to drive smoothly and is best suited to long highway cruises — albeit with most of the electronic nannies turned off. Lexus sells a lot of these, but in my eyes, the leader has become the follower merely along for the ride. We look forward to the next generation to see what improvements are made.

FAQs 

Is the Lexus 450h F Sport fun to drive? 

While the F Sport appearance and handling package may sound like the solution to creating a fun RX, it’s not. The 450h is best driven slowly, putting around town from errand to errand. 

Is the Lexus 450h F Sport good for families? 

One thing the 450h does well is backseat legroom. It’s fairly spacious and adequate for a small family. However, the odd recline angle of the rear seat, confining front seats and the non-competitive amount of cargo space make it less compatible than you might hope.

Is luxury calling your name? Take a Lexus for a test drive to find out. Discover the one for you on KSL Cars.