Did you know that the Lexus RX is the company’s best-selling model in the United States, not just among their SUV lineup but across their entire vehicle portfolio? If you’ve driven one, you know why that’s true: it’s right-sized, extremely comfortable, and smartly luxurious. The 2021 Lexus RX got a bit of a facelift this year, with a few updates and some added technology.
The Lexus RX is offered in two variants, the RX 350 (gas-powered) and RX 450h (hybrid). If you are in the market for one, I highly recommend springing for the RX 450h hybrid option. The price difference between a two models is around $4,000. For that extra money, the RX 450h adds 13 horsepower, makes all-wheel drive standard, and delivers the added fuel economy of a hybrid. Both base model RXs have a full suite of safety systems as standard, but the RX 450h has a couple of convenience additions like a power liftgate.
As you might expect, fuel efficiency is a big factor to consider. The 2021 Lexus RX 350 is rated at 27 mpg on the highway, while the Lexus RX 450h is rated at 28 mpg. But in city driving, it’s a very different story, with the 350 only rated at 20 mpg, while the 450h is rated at 31mpg. That is a huge difference, and given that most people will do the bulk of their driving in town, the hybrid model means less stops (and less money) at the gas station.
Both Lexus RX models get the same upgrades/features when adding the F SPORT package, but the better physical balance and earlier delivery of torque makes the hybrid 450h model more enjoyable to drive, comparatively. It also has hybrid regeneration to slow the vehicle down in corners and recapture energy, while saving on your brakes.
Price-wise, the 2021 Lexus RX 450h starts at about $47,820. That’s about $5,500 less than the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid and almost $10,000 less than the BMW X3 Hybrid and about $5k less than the Audi Q5 Hybrid. That makes the Lexus RX 450h one of the most affordable of this luxury segment when it comes to hybrid-electric options.
We liked the feel of the 2021 Lexus RX 450h, with its smooth drive quality, balanced road feel, and smart delivery of power and efficiency from its 3.5-liter V6 and its electric motors. The equilibrium of all-wheel drive is also a player here. For those who prefer a little more of that feel in their drive, the F SPORT package adds larger wheels, sport-tuned dampers, and sportier seating. The F SPORT Handling package adds to that with an adaptive suspension. But to be frank, the base model with the F SPORT add-ons is really good as-is.
In all, there’s a lot of goodness in the 2021 Lexus RX 450h. It’s not a sports coupe and doesn’t pretend to be. Instead, it’s a luxurious, well-balanced luxury crossover-SUV that delivers a comfortable ride and checks off all the boxes. After spending a week with the RX, it’s easy to see why it’s the company’s best-selling model year after year.