The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.6
The RX L isn’t a bad car, it’s just that rivals like the Volvo XC90 are also very, very good. The Lexus is well-made and comfortable to ride in, but it's a little short on performance due to the hybrid powertrain, and the handling is disappointing, too. Legroom in the back is minimal if you’re using both rows, meaning it’s fine for occasional use but if you want a truly massive seven-seater there may be better options.
Reasons to buy
- Comfortable ride on top-level suspension
- Quality interior
- Sharp looks despite its size
At a glance
Running costs for a Lexus RX L 450h
Like the standard, RX the RX L is only available as a hybrid and faces up against cars like the Volvo XC90, the BMW X7, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. Against these cars the RX L looks surprisingly good value, given it offers both seating for seven and the attractions of a hybrid powertrain.
But in the case of the Volvo and Audi they’re both full plug-in hybrids, meaning considerable tax savings for VED – or ‘road tax’ – for private buyers and potentially huge ones for company drivers. In running cost terms the Lexus is actually a closer comparison in CO2 and fuel consumption with the diesels offered by BMW and Mercedes, which is fine but perhaps not what you’d have hoped when you saw the hybrid description. Whether in tax or costs at the pump, there’s no escaping it could be cheaper to run many of the RX L’s rivals, even if they appear more expensive to buy.
Reliability of a Lexus RX L 450h
While data specifically about the RX is difficult to come by, Lexus and its parent company Toyota have a deserved and long-running reputation for reliability, consistently scoring highly in studies like the Warranty Direct Reliability Index and the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. We also awarded Lexus the Most Reliable Brand prize in the 2019 Auto Trader New Car Awards. In the unlikely event anything should go wrong, Lexus offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
Safety for a Lexus RX L 450h
All cars come with Lexus’s Safety System+, which is a suite of technologies including automatic emergency braking, which will slam on the anchors if you don’t react to an impending accident, and lane keep assist, which will alert you if you inadvertently drift out of your lane. A traffic sign recognition system will also display the current speed limit and other warnings on the car’s screen. 10 airbags are included as standard, and there are two Isofix child seat mounting points on the second row of seats. Blind spot monitoring and a cross traffic alert to warn you of cars in your path when reversing out of spaces are standard on the top model but, sadly, optional on the lower grades. Given the size of the RX L and its poor rear visibility we’d advise ticking that box.
How comfortable is the Lexus RX L 450h
Leather seats are standard across the range and the front row seats are comfortable and adjustable in every which way. The steering wheel also adjusts to give most people their preferred driving position. The cockpit is adorned with leather as well as aluminium and dark wood with laser-etched detailing, created by the same people at Yamaha that work on guitars and concert pianos. It makes for a classy, understated environment. Build quality is good, but lacks some of the final edge of quality that makes Audi the king of solidity in this type of car. There are a few bits of plastic that feel a bit cheap, and one of our test cars developed a couple of annoying creaks, but overall it’s a solid and well-made place to sit.
The big feature of the RX L is its third row of seats, which allow two more occupants to sit in the back while still leaving enough boot space for a couple of golf bags, which is impressive. Head space in row three is pretty decent, and there are cupholders between the two back seats, which will fold down electrically into the boot floor if you need extra luggage space. However, legroom is in severely short supply. The second row of seats slide individually to give more space in the back, but then you’re left with very little legroom there, too. With the third row of seats folded away and the second row slid back, legroom is decent, but then there’s a regular RX available if you don’t need the rear seats.
There are two suspension options on the RX L, with the top-of-the-line version sporting an adaptive suspension system that adjusts its stiffness to cope with different road conditions. It has an impressively supple ride quality that = makes for relaxing, comfortable progress. The standard suspension actually improves the car’s handling, but at a slight cost to the ride quality.
Features of the Lexus RX L 450h
The RX L is available in two grades, the base one with various bundled options packs and the top of the line Takumi version that basically has all the toys included as standard. There’s even a Takumi ‘Captain’ edition with six super luxurious seats, rather than seven.
All RX L versions get Lexus Link connected services, DAB, DVD, a 12.3-inch touch-screen with navigation and smartphone integration, six USB sockets, Bluetooth, wireless charging for compatible devices, sophisticated ‘Climate Concierge’ climate control, third-row controls for the climate control, power adjustable seats and (at the very least) synthetic leather upholstery. The third-row seats also fold electrically on all models. Takumi grade gets extra luxuries such as real leather upholstery, a fancy Mark Levinson stereo system and more.
Power for a Lexus RX L 450h
There’s one hybrid powertrain, combining a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with two electric motors, one at the front and one at the back which together can power all four wheels for maximum traction. The combined hybrid output is 310 horsepower and a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds.
There’s no plug-in option, which means you can’t recharge the battery at home or at a public charge point. Instead, the battery recharges itself from either the engine, or through reclaimed energy from braking. It’s a well proven system in a range of other Lexuses and cars from Toyota (Lexus’ parent company), but with Volvo’s XC90 and the Audi Q7 offering a full plug-in options, it’s a shame Lexus can’t match the latest technology.
Although the combined power of the engine and motors is more than 300 horsepower, it’s far from zippy to drive. The electric motors add a bit of pep when you first put your foot down, but after that the petrol engine struggles. The experience isn’t helped by the CVT gearbox, which sends the engine revs soaring as it tries to find the right ratio.