2020 Lexus RX Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Review: A Crossover With Spark

by Aiden Eksteen

It's all about premium luxury with the Lexus brand, and this is a quality that rings true in the RX Hybrid - it may have an assertive, sporty exterior and a trim line dubbed the F Sport, but there's no mistaking its penchant for luxury once seated within its tranquil cabin. The comprehensive roster of creature-comforts it gets is a clear indication of its endeavor for luxury too, as is the new touchscreen infotainment system, which now features full smartphone integration for both Apple and Android users. The RX Hybrid is an ideal family crossover SUV offering both five and seven-seater variants, albeit it lacking a little in practicality when it comes to storage options. It's a tough segment, the midsize one, and with the likes of the Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX both boasting hybrid derivatives, the Lexus doesn't have it easy. Powering the RX Hybrid is a 3.5-liter V6 engine, three electric motors, and a 37-kWh sealed nickel-metal hydride battery, altogether harnessing a combined output of 308 horsepower. Outputs are routed via a CVT automatic to the RX Hybrid's electric all-wheel-drive system.

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 RX Hybrid?

For the 2020 model year, Lexus ups the ante on the RX range's infotainment setup by bringing in two new, more user-friendly touchscreen displays, a standard-fit eight-inch display, and an optional 12.3-inch display with split-screen capability. Full smartphone integration in both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay has also been installed to the system this year, as has a dynamic voice and navigation system. Along with a few minor exterior updates, including a revised spindle grille and redesigned LED head and taillights, the RX range also receives some enhancements to its steering responses and driving dynamics, brought about through a slightly tweaked suspension and some chassis stiffening. Finally, there are new wheel designs for all models and two new paint options join the exterior color palette, namely Nori Green and Moonbeam, replacing Autumn Shimmer, Satin Cashmere, and Silver Lining metallic.

Pros and Cons

  • Competitively frugal
  • Refined ride quality and quiet drive
  • Premium and well-built cabin
  • Exceptional crashworthiness ratings
  • Improved infotainment system
  • Sloppy handling
  • Mediocre acceleration
  • Below-average trunk capacity
  • Infotainment feels unresolved

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
RX 450h
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$46,800
RX 450hL
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$50,510
RX 450h F SPORT
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$50,600

RX Hybrid Exterior

The exterior revisions the RX accrued coming into the new model year, though minor, do vastly improve its overall aesthetic. A new prominent spindle grille depicts the front end along with new LED headlights featuring reshaped housings for a sharper, sleeker design. They're integrated with daytime running lights and accompany the lower fascia LED foglights. The wraparound LED taillights have also been reshaped with a sharper design. Every model has also received newly redesigned wheels: on the RX 450h and 450hL, 18-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels pave the way, and 20-inch split-ten-spoke alloys with a dark graphite finish fill the wheel arches of the 450h F Sport.

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Front View Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Front Angle View Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Rear Angle View Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Archetypal to the midsize crossover class, the RX 450h measures 192.5 inches in length (196.9 inches for the 450hL), 67.7 inches in height, and 74.6 inches in width. A wheelbase of 109.8 inches is standard across the lineup, which, in comparison with rivals, is on the short side, considering the Toyota Highlander Hybrid's 112.2-inch wheelbase, and the MDX Hybrid's 111-inch wheelbase. The RX 450h and RX 450h F Sport have a curb weight of 4,749 pounds and ride with a running ground clearance of 8.2 inches, the RX 450hL comes in at 4,905 lbs and rides 7.9 inches from the ground.

  • Length 192.5 in
  • Wheelbase 109.8 in
  • Height 67.7 in
  • Max Width 74.6 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 64.0 in

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Exterior Colors

  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Nebula Gray Pearl
  • Atomic Silver
  • Obsidian
  • Caviar
  • Nori Green Pearl
  • Nightfall Mica
  • Matador Red Mica
  • Moonbeam Beige Metallic
  • Ultra White

RX Hybrid Performance

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Front View Driving Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Rear View Driving Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Rear Badge Lexus

Engine and Transmission

A 3.5-liter V6 engine, three electric motors (including one on the rear axle), and a 37-kWh sealed nickel-metal hydride battery work in cohesion to power the RX Hybrid with combined outputs of 308 horsepower. A CVT automatic routes the combustion engine's outputs to the front wheels, while the rear axle is purely driven by electric power. With this powertrain, the RX Hybrid accelerates from 0-60 mph in a slow-going eight seconds or less and is accorded a top speed of only 112 mph. Where it is impressive, is in the maximum towing capacity afforded by electric augmentation: a decent 3,500 pounds. The hybridized engine itself performs quite competently, it always delivers power sufficiently and smoothly. As for the transmission, while its responses are quick and imperceptible, it doesn't make the best use of the hybrid engine's electrified torque, although you're hardly ever found wanting.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

When it comes to its ride and handling, the RX Hybrids purpose is clear, and that purpose is luxury. Its been purpose-built to deliver a smooth, soft, and relaxed ride with the compliance and stability that keeps it tranquil around every turn. Sadly, that purpose has been over-indulged, and the RX's handling tends to be sloppy, the weight shifting excessively on turn-in without much support from the suspension.

The standard models smooth over most road imperfections on the straight, and never feel overly floaty when traversing undulations with the standard suspension. Though with a slightly firmer ride quality, the F Sport model exhibits greater composure with its adaptive variable suspension. Still, roll is present, and the RX Hybrid is far from the picture of perfection in this regard.

None of the models are as sporty as other class rivals though, showing little poise when tackling corners at speed, and feeling somewhat top-heavy throughout. Those looking for a bit more fun in the corners would want to look to the Volvo XC90 Hybrid, or even the Acura MDX Hybrid.

RX Hybrid Gas Mileage

The Lexus RX Hybrid does well in the way of fuel-efficiency and is, in fact, one of the most frugal hybrids in the class. While the RX 450h and F sport earn EPA estimates of 31/28/29 mpg city/highway/combined, the heavier 450hL performs slightly less efficiently within city conditions, getting an estimate of 29 mpg and dropping the combined figure to the same. Every model is equipped with a 17.2-gallon gas tank, requiring the use of premium unleaded gas only. Full, this should carry the RX Hybrid for around 516 miles before running empty. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid leads the class with combined gas mileage estimates of 36 mpg, it's also equipped with a larger 17.9-gallon gas tank, which means it will take you further, and for less.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 31/28 mpg
* 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid RX 450h AWD

RX Hybrid Interior

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Dashboard Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Front Seats Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Steering Wheel Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The RX 450h and F Sport are equipped with a conventional seating setup for five; the RX 450hL is outfitted with two second-row captain's chairs and a two-seater third-row bench for a seating capacity of six. While passenger room is plentiful in the first and second-row seats, this is not so much the case in the third-row seats, which is usually the case with most three-row SUVs. The RX 450h L is particularly cramped, however. All seats are otherwise genuinely comfortable, spacious, and supportive, the driver is seated with optimal outward visibility, but many of the controls are not within easy reach.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.1 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.2 in

RX Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

The RX's floating roof design that slopes inward toward the back is somewhat counterintuitive to the crossover's practicality. The 16 cubic foot trunk in the RX 450h and F Sport is otherwise relatively good, but the RX 450hL offers only a meager 7.5 cubes behind the rear-most seats. The Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, also a three-row SUV, offers a massive 16 cubes behind the third-row seats, a clear indication of the RX Hybrid's practicality flaw. While you'll only get a large gym bag and laptop case in the 7.5 cubes, a medium-sized pet crate should fit into the 18 cubes. With all seats folded, things do improve (up to 34.1 cubes in the RX L and 32.6 in the standard length model).

As for in-cabin storage points, there are door side pockets that fold out to provide more usable space, bottle holders in all four doors, every row of seating is given two cupholders, there's a large center armrest cubby, passenger-side glove box, and storage tray in the second-row bench.

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Gear Shifter Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Side View Lexus
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Driving Back View Lexus

RX Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

Lexus outfits the RX lineup to the expected level for a luxury crossover; the base-spec model comes with SmartAccess and push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping adjustability, ten-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-sliding moonroof, a power-operated trunk, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The three-row RX 450hL is equipped second-row captain's chairs, power-folding and reclining 50/50-split third-row seats, three-zone automatic climate control, and a Lexus memory system. An air of performance is given to the F Sport, with sport-inspired instrumentation, a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, heated and ventilated sport front seats with additional bolstering, and LED cabin lighting all standard. Every model is fitted with a rearview camera, Lexus' Safety System+, Enform safety, and Service Connect.

Infotainment

Lexus did a great job improving the infotainment system in its RX models by finally upgrading the screens with touch functionality. An eight-inch touchscreen display is now standard across the lineup. The Remote Touch Interface is still there, as is a premium nine-speaker sound system, and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality have been made standard for 2020, these join the already standard Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free operation, Siri Eyes Free, voice command, and satellite radio. All models come standard-fit with an auxiliary input jack, a 12-volt power outlet, and six USB ports. A 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation and a premium 12-speaker sound system is available within the Navigation Package, this can also be had with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. While we welcome the tech improvement, it feels somewhat half-baked, and the interface doesn't respond fluidly. It's also positioned too far away from the driver, reeking of the fact that it was never designed to be touched from the get-go.

RX Hybrid Problems and Reliability

The Lexus RX Hybrid has proven to be a highly reliable vehicle, having steered clear of any major recalls for numerous consecutive years now. J.D. Power is yet to avail the RX Hybrid with a Quality and Reliability rating, but Lexus does, however, cover the range with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile hybrid component warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

RX Hybrid Safety

While the RX 450h and F Sport received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the 450hL received only a four-star overall rating. With top scores of Good for all six the evaluations given by the IIHS, the RX earned a Top Safety Pick classification for the 2020 model year. Every model comes standard with ten advanced airbags, including driver and front passenger knee airbags, Lexus' Safety System + 2.0, which comprises intelligent high beams, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, and road sign assist.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid a good SUV?

With its luxurious intentions, commodious cabin, leading gas mileage estimates, evidently high reliability, and decent safety ratings, you'd think the RX was a home run hit. But here's the thing, it's severely compromised where it counts. The ride is comfortable, but sloppier than undercooked rice pudding, and the infotainment has been upgraded with a whole lot of tech, yet it's unintuitive and feels ill-conceived. Add to that all but useless third-row seats and sub-par cargo-carrying capacity, and the RX falls well behind midsize rivals. An Acura MDX may be a little thirstier, but its a better all-rounder, while on the plug-in front, a Volvo XC90 Hybrid leaves the Lexus for dead.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid?

Pricing for the Lexus RX Hybrid is relatively attractive, for the base-spec RX 450h, prospective buyers can expect a starting MSRP of $46,800, the three-row RX 450hL carries a price of $50,510, and the performance-oriented RX 450h F Sport comes in at $50,600. All prices are excluding any tax, registration, and licensing fees as well as Lexus' destination and handling charge of $1,025. There are numerous optional packages available heavy RX model, the most appealing one may be the Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package which bundles the 12.3-inch touchscreen and 12-speaker surround-sound audio system at a cost of $3,365.

See All 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Trims and Specs

🚗What Lexus RX Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

Deciding between which Lexus RX model to opt for will come down to one's personal needs, with the RX 450h offering the classic luxury appeal of the RX with seating for up to five passengers, the case for the RX 450hL is the same in terms of its luxury appeal but comes with seating for up to six passengers - albeit with minimal space for those in the back. The F Sport offers a performance-centric appeal with seating for up to five too, but with its enhanced underpinnings, it also delivers the most polished ride quality and handling dynamics from the lineup. None of the models are exceptional, but we'd avoid the L and probably send you in the direction of the F Sport, if only to slightly mitigate the sloppy handling of the base SUV. Regardless of the model one chooses though, we recommend opting in the Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package for the 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation system, and 12-speaker surround-sound system.

Check out other Lexus RX Styles

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Comparisons

Toyota Highlander Hybrid CarBuzz
Acura MDX Hybrid Acura
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus RX Hybrid308 hp31/28 mpg$46,800
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 243 hpTBC$38,200
Acura MDX Hybrid 321 hp26/27 mpg$53,000

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid vs Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is sold solely as a midsize three-row SUV and is a lot more affordable than the RX Hybrid with the base model coming in at a starting MSRP of only $38,200. There's seating for up to eight passengers in the Highlander, something to consider, while even the RX450h L only seats six and with almost no space. It's a whole lot more practical too, offering just a little more than double that of the 450h L's trunk capacity, with 16 cubes behind the rear-most seats. Though Lexus is the premium side of the Toyota brand, we feel the Highlander packs in a whole lot more luxury and value than the RX, even offering a cabin almost as upscale and luxurious. The Highlander is the better hybrid as well, offering greater gas mileage estimates, albeit provided from an engine that is rather underpowered. Ultimately, we'd settle for the Highlander as the better vehicle in general.

See Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid vs Acura MDX Hybrid

Buyers will have to scoop out a lot more for the Acura MDX Hybrid with the base MDX model costing more than even the top-of-the-line RX F Sport. For those extra clams, the MDX offers a superior driving experience overall, its faster on a straight with a 0-60 mph time of around six seconds, and more capable around the corners, exhibiting far more poise. The RX Hybrid is the more fuel-efficient vehicle though. The MDX also has the more premium and commodious cabin, offering more convenience elements and more passenger room throughout. Its more practical as a three-row SUV too, offering up 15 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear-most seats. If the extra cabin room isn't required, then the RX Hybrid should suffice as a daily commuter, boasting the better infotainment setup between the two, even if marginally so. But the cost and infotainment can't outweigh the benefits posed by the Acura. We'd take the MDX Hybrid.

See Acura MDX Hybrid Review

Lexus RX Hybrid Popular Comparisons

2020 Lexus RX Hybrid Video Review

$46,800 - $56,510
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