2023 Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency evaluation

The most recent Lexus RX is likely one of the most vital new launches for the Japanese luxurious model, as a result of it’s up in opposition to some very powerful competitors.

Whereas giant luxurious SUVs don’t fairly do the amount of their mid-sized counterparts, the section is extremely aggressive and arguably units the tone for a model’s broader vary. Consider the BMW X5, as an example.

The RX has lengthy been one of the in style Lexus fashions, in addition to a competitor to the likes of the X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Jaguar F-Tempo, Vary Rover Velar, and Volkswagen Touareg.

This new technology launched regionally earlier this 12 months, changing an ageing predecessor that was a stalwart of the section, and remained a preferred alternative for prosperous Australian households proper up till the top of its life.

With this overhaul, Lexus has made the five-seat RX greater, lighter, and extra electrified. The seven-seat RX L – an Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 rival – is but to be instantly changed, although a big three-row SUV based mostly on the Toyota Grand Highlander is reportedly within the pipeline.

With contemporary Toyota New International Structure (TNGA) underpinnings and a turbocharged petrol-electric drivetrain within the 2023 Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency examined right here, the brand new RX guarantees to be probably the most luxurious, tech-laden and dynamic iteration but.

Specifically, the F Sport Efficiency mannequin on check goals to supply extra than simply sporty appears and trimmings, moderately bringing a driving expertise that ought to break free from the taxi and rent automobile fame that plagues a few of Toyota and Lexus’s hybrid fashions.

However, at $126,000 earlier than on-roads, this flagship Lexus RX is true up there within the thick of it with established section benchmarks. Can it justify that value?

How a lot does the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency value?

The RX500h F Sport Efficiency AWD is $126,000 plus on-road prices – $11,000 dearer than the decked-out RX350h Sports activities Luxurious AWD with all of the Enhancement Packs.

That comes with a reasonably first rate bump in efficiency in addition to mechanical modifications and additional equipment, however there’s no denying that’s nonetheless a wholesome wad of money.

Regardless of this, the RX500h F Sport Efficiency is a top-spec mannequin priced according to mid-spec and even entry variations of rival fashions from German rivals, which in relative phrases performs to Lexus’s value-focused pitch.

An Audi Q8 50 TDI S line will set you again $133,800 today, whereas an up to date xDrive30d M Sport is now the entry level into the BMW X5 vary at $134,900. The petrol xDrive40i is even dearer at $138,900 for the facelift due later this 12 months.

Need a Benz? The GLE300d is a dear four-cylinder various at $120,500, whereas the inline six-powered GLE450 begins from $135,200.

Different choices embrace the Jaguar F-Tempo 400 Sport ($128,450), the bottom Porsche Cayenne ($134,300), and the Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI R-Line ($117,540). All costs exclude on-road prices.

2023 Lexus RX pricing:

  • Lexus RX350h Luxurious 2WD: $87,500
  • Lexus RX350h Luxurious AWD: $92,000
  • Lexus RX350 F Sport AWD: $99,900
  • Lexus RX350 Sports activities Luxurious AWD: $105,900
  • Lexus RX350h Sports activities Luxurious AWD: $111,900
  • Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency AWD: $126,000

Costs exclude on-road prices

What’s the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency like on the within?

The brand new RX is a world away from the previous one inside.

The brand new RX addresses my gripes about a few of the materials high quality in its smaller NX sibling and provides the brand new RX an inside worthy of a flagship Lexus – largely.

Our check automobile’s Darkish Rose perforated leather-accented trim is attractive, and actually makes components of the cabin pop due to the array of surfaces trimmed in the identical hue. If it’s a bit an excessive amount of to your liking, there’s black obtainable too.

There’s precise aluminium trim items littered all through as properly, which is a pleasant contact, and steel can also be used on the sports activities pedals.

Lexus additionally has a knack for making nice steering wheels, notably for F Sport fashions, and the general design of the tiller right here stays largely true to that.

The fats rim, trimmed in beautiful perforated leather-based, feels stunning within the hand and has some heft to it. It has a gorgeous design and properly completed switchgear, however the precise buttons themselves aren’t my favorite.

For some motive Lexus goes arduous on these fiddly touch-capacitive steering wheel controls with configurable shortcut menus, which initiatives onto the windscreen through the color head-up show.

It appears cool and techhy in principle, nevertheless it’s fiddly in apply. When you set your required set of shortcuts it’s somewhat higher, however there’s nonetheless a powerful probability the controls could not work in addition to arduous buttons for you, as I discovered.

When the switches haven’t been used shortly, it takes two presses to entry the operate you’re making an attempt to activate. You typically end up specializing in the HUD and never the highway to be sure you’re urgent the correct factor, which may be distracting.

Oddly, the Lexus vary persists with a primary 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster – F Sport and Sports activities Luxurious fashions get a ‘Excessive Grade’ model, apparently – moderately than the absolutely digital binnacle that we’re beginning to see in Toyota fashions in addition to the majority of the RX’s direct competitors.

I’m additionally not bought on the fiddly inside door handles, that are small levers that double up as buttons, although aren’t at all times instantly apparent. I had a number of family and friends members lament their unconventional design.

The large central touchscreen will little doubt catch your eye the second you hop in and switch the RX on.

Measuring 14-inches, the show is well one of many largest in school, and does away with Lexus’s previous, infuriating contact controller that plagued its previous-generation merchandise.

It runs the model’s newest consumer interface and software program, which does little to differentiate itself from its Toyota origins today apart from the color scheme. Whereas easy, it’s properly function and largely works properly.

Load instances are snappy and responses to the touch inputs are equally responsive; although I’d notice the dimensions of the show means reaching over for some menus whereas driving isn’t that consumer pleasant.

Along with embedded navigation, there’s wi-fi Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, DAB+ radio, and a 12-month subscription to Lexus Related Companies – permitting homeowners entry to emergency name, automated collision notification, in addition to distant capabilities through the Lexus Related app.

There’s additionally a voice assistant accessed by saying “Hey Lexus”, which options pure voice recognition.

All of it works properly, even when it’s somewhat too near the interface used within the newest Toyota fashions. In typical Lexus trend although, there’s a spotlight few rivals can match – the audio system.

The RX500h F Sport Efficiency scores the 21-speaker Mark Levinson encompass sound system, which as with earlier iterations is a benchmark for sound high quality.

Dial up the amount and bass, and also you’re cocooned in what appears like a rolling recording studio. It’s impressively crisp, and has a depth to the sound that feels notably excessive finish. Bravo.

Storage up entrance is first rate, with large toothed cupholders and an array of storage nooks and cabinets to your stuff. There’s a giant cubby below the front-centre arm relaxation too, and the door pockets are fairly spacious.

The RX’s elevated measurement in nearly each dimension has made for improved passenger house within the rear, which was a criticism of the earlier technology.

A 60mm enhance to the wheelbase (2850mm) brings a welcome achieve in second-row leg and knee room, although the RX nonetheless feels a bit cosier within the again in comparison with one thing like a Volkswagen Touareg, particularly you probably have entrance occupants of above-average peak.

F Sport and F Sport Efficiency fashions additionally sadly miss out on heated and ventilated outboard rear seats, in addition to the power-folding rear seat backs unique to the Sports activities Luxurious. Given the value, they’d be good.

You do get a 3rd zone of local weather controls with directional vents although, in addition to USB-C factors to maintain units juiced. Rear map pockets and bottle holders within the doorways function, in addition to a chunky fold-down rear centre armrest with a storage cubby and cupholders, which feels constructed to final.

ISOFIX anchors are fitted to the outboard seats, and there are top-tether factors throughout the backs of all three rear seats. Children ought to be more than pleased within the again, and there are guide sunshades to dam out the haters.

One other space the place the brand new RX has grown considerably is within the boot, the place it now presents 612 litres of quantity with the second row in place, or 1678 litres with the rear seats folded.

That’s properly up on the earlier technology, which quoted 453 litres and 924 litres respectively for a similar configuration, and nearly matches the outgoing RX L (652L).

Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless behind the likes of the Volkswagen Touareg (810L-1800L) and BMW X5 (650L-1870L).

What’s below the bonnet?

The RX500h debuts a brand new turbocharged hybrid drivetrain for Lexus, based mostly round a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine much like the one you’ll discover below the bonnet of the RX350.

By itself the turbo petrol engine develops 202kW (6000rpm) and 460Nm (4300-4500rpm), and is teamed with two electrical motor-generators – a 64kW/292Nm unit on the entrance axle and a further 76kW/169Nm unit on the rear.

Lexus quotes a system output of 273kW, and in typical trend doesn’t quote a system torque determine. The e-motors are hooked as much as a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Zero to 100km/h takes a claimed 6.2 seconds, which is sizzling hatch territory – not unhealthy for a 2160kg (kerb) SUV.

Now for a few of the extra technical components. The transmission shouldn’t be an e-CVT such as you’ll discover in different Toyota/Lexus hybrids, moderately there’s a six-speed automated transmission on the hybrid entrance transaxle with a moist begin clutch, which the corporate says acts because the beginning mechanism instead of a normal torque converter for “clean off-the-line efficiency”.

When the engine is working, the beginning clutch and a second clutch are engaged, combining the engine and entrance electrical motor-generator torque and transmitting it to the entrance wheels. In EV mode, the moist begin clutch sends motor-generator torque to the entrance axle, whereas the e-motor on the rear facilitates electrified all-wheel drive.

Lexus says the variable all-wheel drive system – dubbed DIRECT4 – can provide torque distribution from 70:30 front-rear to twenty:80 relying on the situations and driver inputs, which permits for “trustworthy steering inputs that assist cut back oversteer and understeer”.

The electrical motors additionally work to remove turbo lag, and mixed with the Lexus-first separate two-port vane oil pump and high-voltage electrical oil pump on the entrance transaxle declare to enhance gasoline financial system.

Official mixed gasoline consumption is a quoted 6.5L per 100km on the extra lenient NEDC check cycle, with common CO2 emissions rated at 148g/km.

The drivetrain is homologated to Euro 6B emissions laws, and requires 95 RON premium unleaded gasoline. The RX500h runs a 65-litre gasoline tank, which suggests a theoretical 1000km of vary per fill based mostly on official consumption.

It’s additionally rated to tow as much as 1500kg (braked).

How does the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency drive?

The F Sport Efficiency comes with large hype, so I used to be eager to see whether or not it lived as much as the promise.

You’ll discover early on that the RX500h isn’t like different hybrids within the Toyota-Lexus secure. It drives fairly otherwise and provides you the impression it’s rather more about efficiency and engagement from the get-go.

It’s keener to lean on its turbocharged petrol engine than common Lexus and Toyota hybrids, and having an precise six-speed transmission means you gained’t see it flaring revs such as you would with automobiles utilizing a CVT.

Response on the town is sort of good. The immediacy of the e-motors’ torque means you get rolling rapidly and easily, and the petrol engine will kick in below heavier throttle inputs or about 20km/h and get rolling faster once more.

There’s an artificial engine noise pumped into the cabin below throttle to disguise the electrified underpinnings, and it’ll play at various ranges relying on the drive mode chosen and the extent of throttle enter.

It’s fairly satisfying to punt on the lights, and getting as much as freeway speeds barely breaks a sweat. Whereas the 500h and F Sport Efficiency branding could counsel AMG or M ranges of efficiency, the way in which the RX500h performs is extra according to mid-tier choices in rival ranges.

Don’t get me flawed, this factor is fast and feels it, however the 6.2-second 0-100 time is barely on par with rivals that includes six-cylinder turbo-diesel engines, not to mention these with turbocharged or supercharged six-pot petrols.

In a straight line it hustles and it’s so fantastically linear that it’s typically going faster than you realise, however this gained’t be a extra attainable substitute for a Porsche Cayenne GTS or BMW X5 M60i. The augmented engine sound can also’t cover the two.4-litre turbo’s buzzy notice below heavy load.

From a dealing with perspective, the RX500h has quite a lot of cool options to maintain it caught to the blacktop and provide extra direct response, however there’s no disguising its heft nor the actual fact this isn’t a correct efficiency SUV.

There’s an upright, lofty really feel from the driving force’s seat and that lengthy nostril can at instances make it really feel boaty, notably in tighter bends. It factors and turns in fairly properly, although, even when the steering really feel is somewhat mild and numb at finest.

The rear-wheel steering system helps to enhance manoeuvrability at low speeds by turning the rear wheels as much as 4.0 levels reverse to the fronts to tighten the turning circle, whereas at greater speeds it turns them in the identical course to boost stability.

I can’t fault the sure-footedness of the RX500h within the number of climate situations and environments I encountered throughout my time with the automobile. Such as you’d anticipate of a giant luxurious SUV, it has glorious stability and grip throughout the board, which evokes confidence whether or not you’re on the varsity run or a winding B-road.

The mixture of a traditional six-speed automated and hybrid transaxle with moist begin clutch is pretty properly sorted, with snappy shifts, clean take-off and a close to seamless shift between petrol, electrical and hybrid energy the place relevant.

I discovered the RX500h had a behavior of actually leaning on the petrol engine so it drove extra like an electrified petrol automobile with help below load and at parking speeds, which is a win if you happen to don’t just like the CVT really feel of different Toyota-Lexus hybrids however not a lot of a win if gasoline consumption is a excessive precedence.

Our check automobile was continually working in hybrid mode moderately than EV mode even in its Regular and Eco drive modes, and didn’t appear to need to have interaction EV drivetrain mode above 70km/h – very similar to the previous RX450h with its hybridised V6.

Whereas it meant you had all its efficiency on faucet more often than not, every week’s value of commuting to and from the workplace in peak-hour site visitors meant real-world gasoline consumption was truly fairly poor, particularly given the most recent TNGA development of attaining glorious effectivity.

We ended the week with an indicated determine of 10.7L/100km, and noticed as little as 9.0L/100km at sure factors in the course of the week – properly up on the producer’s mixed declare of 6.5L per 100km.

I contacted Lexus Australia to see if there was maybe something flawed with the automobile, given it appeared to not need to lean on its electrified elements as a lot as we anticipated, however on the time of writing we’re below the impression the automobile was working as supposed.

Sure, that is the F Sport Efficiency with a larger deal with straight-line go than your ordinary hybrid, nevertheless it’s disappointing the RX500h can’t even match the effectivity of diesel-powered competitors.

In regular situations the RX500h is a minimum of a quiet, snug and refined factor to cruise in, as you’d anticipate of a Lexus.

The adaptive damping does an incredible job of ironing out the lumps and bumps of every day driving even with 21-inch alloy wheels, and presents a stage of adjustability to tailor the chassis to your liking in addition to the driving atmosphere, if not fairly as plush as some air-sprung rivals.

Additional, it’s impressively hushed over most surfaces throughout all speeds, although I’ll notice these large ol’ wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 efficiency tyres to transmit a little bit of highway roar into the cabin over rougher black prime.

The RX’s vary of help programs are additionally factors for reward.

All-speed adaptive cruise management and Lane Hint Help mix to facilitate semi-autonomous freeway driving, and are accessed through a button on the steering wheel – like VW’s Journey Help mode. As soon as activated, it’s neatly calibrated and never overzealous like Toyota-Lexus programs of previous.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert turn out to be useful with the RX’s rakish tailgate and thick D-pillar design, and the Panoramic View Monitor makes parking this large 4890mm lengthy and 1920mm large bus that little bit simpler – and may cease you scraping these 21-inch alloys.

The RX500h additionally will get the flagship tri-projector LED headlights with BladeScan tech, which successfully apes a Matrix LED unit with adaptive high-beam. It presents shiny and crisp illumination, and when left in its auto setting does all of the arduous give you the results you want with out dazzling oncoming highway customers.

What do you get?

RX350h Luxurious highlights:

  • Bi-LED headlights
  • LED daytime working lights, fog lights
  • Heated exterior mirrors with driver’s facet auto-dimming
  • Rear privateness glass
  • 19-inch alloy wheels with shiny machined end
  • Roof rails
  • Energy tailgate
  • 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wi-fi Apple CarPlay
  • Wired Android Auto
  • 12-speaker Panasonic sound system
  • Satellite tv for pc navigation
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Lexus Related Companies
  • 5 x USB-C, 2 x 12V, 1 x USB-A
  • 8-way energy entrance seats with two-way energy lumbar
  • Heated entrance seats
  • Leatherette upholstery
  • Tri-zone local weather management
  • Energy-adjustable steering column
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Paddle shifters
  • Ambient lighting

Enhancement Pack ($5100 FWD, $5500 AWD) provides:

  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Leather-based upholstery
  • Ventilated entrance seats
  • Easy accessibility seat
  • Driver’s seat reminiscence
  • Head-up show
  • ‘Excessive-grade’ instrument cluster show
  • Good key card
  • Wi-fi telephone charger
  • Contact-sensitive steering wheel controls

RX350 F Sport provides:

  • Turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels
  • Bi-LED headlights
    • BladeScan expertise
    • Adaptive high-beam
    • Dynamic auto-levelling
    • Cornering lights
    • Headlight cleaners
  • F Sport exterior look package deal with distinctive bumpers, grille
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Aluminium monobloc six-piston calipers
  • Arms-free energy tailgate
  • Encompass-view cameras
  • Dimpled leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • F Sport scuff plates
  • F Sport shifter
  • F Sport instrument cluster
  • Heated and ventilated entrance sport seats
  • Aluminium pedals
  • Easy accessibility driver’s seat
  • Contact-sensitive steering wheel controls
  • Multi-colour ambient lighting
  • 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
  • Energetic Noise Management
  • Wi-fi telephone charger
  • Rear door sunshades
  • Good key card

The $3000 Enhancement Pack 1 provides a panoramic sunroof, whereas the $1100 Enhancement Pack 2 provides a digital rear-view mirror, semi-automatic parking help, and a heated steering wheel.

RX350 Sports activities Luxurious and RX350h Sports activities Luxurious add (over Luxurious):

  • Bi-LED headlights with adaptive high-beam
  • 21-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels
  • Encompass-view cameras
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Heated and ventilated entrance seats
  • 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
  • Energetic Noise Management (RX350 solely)
  • 10-way energy entrance seats with semi-aniline leather-based upholstery
  • 4-way lumbar assist and reminiscence
  • Heated steering wheel with woodgrain trim
  • Energy-folding and reclining rear seats
  • Heated and ventilated outboard rear seats

The $3000 Enhancement Pack 1 provides a panoramic sunroof, whereas the $900 Enhancement Pack 2 provides a digital rear-view mirror and semi-automatic parking help.

RX500h F Sport Efficiency provides (over F Sport):

  • Enhancement Pack 1 + 2
  • Matte black 21-inch alloy wheels
  • Black aluminium monobloc entrance calipers
  • Piano black bumper facet moulding
  • Physique-coloured rocker trim
  • Energetic Sound Management
  • Dynamic Rear Steering

Is the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency secure?

Following its launch in Australia, the Lexus RX obtained a five-star ANCAP security ranking based mostly on Euro NCAP assessments carried out in 2022.

The ranking applies to all variants – which incorporates petrol and hybrid powertrain variants.

It scored 90 per cent for grownup occupant safety, 89 per cent for little one occupant safety, 89 per cent for susceptible highway consumer safety, and 93 per cent for security help.

“The Lexus RX is one other of our prime performers – attaining excessive scores throughout all key areas of evaluation leading to a 5 star ANCAP security ranking,” mentioned ANCAP chief government, Carla Hoorweg.

Commonplace security options embrace:

  • 8 airbags incl. entrance centre, driver’s knee
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    • Pedestrian detection (day, evening)
    • Bicycle owner detection (day, evening)
    • Motorcyclist detection (day)
  • Emergency steering help
  • Acceleration acceleration suppression (low velocity)
  • Adaptive cruise management
    • Curve velocity discount
    • Overtaking prevention
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane Hint Help (centring)
  • Auto high-beam
  • Highway signal help
  • Entrance, rear Parking Help Brake
  • Entrance, rear parking sensors
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reversing digicam
  • Secure Exit Help
  • Tyre stress monitor
  • Trailer sway management

RX Sports activities Luxurious provides:

  • Adaptive Excessive-Beam System
  • Panoramic View Monitor (360 cameras)

How a lot does the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency value to run?

The Lexus vary is roofed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee.

Upkeep is required each 12 months or 15,000 kilometres – whichever comes first. The primary 5 companies will every set you again $695 apiece below the Lexus capped-price service program.

You additionally get entry to the Lexus Encore possession program, which provides homeowners entry to Caltex gasoline reductions, invites to luxurious dinners and occasions, in addition to luxurious lodge partnership advantages.

Lexus Australia can also be rolling out a brand new smartphone app that lets homeowners monitor and check out or management features of their automobile from the sofa.

CarExpert’s Tackle the Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency

The RX500h F Sport has loads going for it, however I simply don’t really feel prefer it delivers on all its guarantees.

Sure it’s quick, sure it’s luxurious, and sure it’s a household SUV that you could possibly dwell with day-after-day. Would I say it is a real various for different extra performance-focused luxurious SUVs? In all probability not.

There’s a number of disjointed components to the RX’s driving expertise that depart it with out that ultimate layer of polish to be a best choice in my books. It’s not fairly fast or sharp sufficient to match an AMG 53 or M Efficiency, not to mention one thing with a Porsche badge, neither is it environment friendly sufficient to justify its hybrid promise.

On paper the RX500h F Sport Efficiency ought to have the makings of greatness, however in actuality feels a bit undercooked.

It’s one of the best RX to drive that I’ve skilled, and definitely has a stage of efficiency by no means seen earlier than within the nameplate’s historical past, however I simply wouldn’t go into the Lexus showroom considering that is going to outshine a Porsche Cayenne or Jaguar F-Tempo with its dynamic skills, nor a BMW X5 with its cabin presentation.

It’s a disgrace, as a result of the RX’s attractive appears and muscular efficiency are in any other case fascinating, and the lengthy options listing and confirmed reliability are draw playing cards for these cautious of proudly owning a European rival exterior of the guarantee interval.

With that mentioned, and like most Lexus merchandise, you’re higher off purchasing on the decrease finish of the vary for one of many 350h hybrids, as they’re much better worth and extra aggressive inside the section. The $126k asking value for this 500h F Sport Efficiency appears somewhat too steep, even when it exhibits glimpses of greatness.

My tip? Get a 350h Luxurious with the Enhancement Pack if you would like one of many best-value giant luxurious SUVs available on the market, or nab your self a 350h Sports activities Luxurious with Enhancement Pack 2 if you would like the very best in luxurious and tech the RX line-up has provide.

In any other case, the Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI R-Line has comparable punch from its six-cylinder diesel in addition to higher real-world effectivity, and has extra passenger and cargo house to counter its inferior cabin high quality in comparison with the Lexus. Maybe a future head-to-head comparability is on the playing cards…

You’ll be saving your self hundreds in comparison with the 500h F Sport Efficiency, which you wouldn’t have in your driveway for over 12 months if you happen to ordered tomorrow anyway.

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