The Lexus RX hybrid was one of the pioneers of the hybrid , luxury SUV realm, as is debuted back in 2006 — known as the RX 400h back then — when luxury SUVs with electrical intervention were still fairly new. Rolling into 2015, the model continues into its sixth year under the RX 450h name.
For 2015, Lexus continues in that tradition, presenting an SUV that combines the fuel economy of a compact sedan, the power of a V-8 and the comforts of a luxury vehicle all rolled into one.
This is the 450h and even with the rather lack of updates on the way it looks, you can excuse the company for that given how relatively new the refreshed package really is.
The 2015 Lexus RX 450h is set to remind us why Lexus knows its hybrids the same way it knows how to build premium performance for its performance line.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus RX 450h.
The introduction of Lexus’ spindle grille to the 2014 RX 450h was about as big a change as you could’ve gotten for the midsized hybrid SUV. And that was last year. This year, with the unveiling of the 2015 RX 450h, Lexus only added some minor updates to the SUV, and the exterior bears little of it.
To be fair, all the things that made last year’s refresh are still there, including the redesigned headlights that customers can actually order in either High Intensity Discharge (HID) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Even the rear lamps were redesigned to be stronger and carry a more sweeping horizontal emphasis.
A new Luxury Package is also set to become available for the 2015 model, offering a number of new options, including a set of 19-inch, triple-split five-spoke wheels with light gray paint and machined finish.
2015 Lexus RX 450h - Exterior Dimensions
|Overall Length||187.8 inches (4,770 MM)|
|Width||74.2 inches (1,885 MM)|
|Height||66.7 inches (1,695 MM) (without roof rails) 67.7 in (1,720 MM) (with roof rails)|
|Wheelbase||107.9 inches (2,740 MM)|
|Ground Clearance||7.3 inches (185 MM)|
Gallery Lexus RX 450h
The overall design of the RX 450h’s cabin remains largely the same, but there are some notable digs that are well worth your attention, including a Standard Display Audio with seven-inch screen for all models that’s, mind you, a new hitch to the proverbial wagon.
The interior also has 10-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls and a multi-information switch on the steering wheel that makes it easier for drivers to access function settings more conveniently.
Likewise, a 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System is also set to be offered and it comes with a plethora of music sources that doesn’t leave you lacking for options. The old reliable CD player is there and if you’re into a little taste of modern technology, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB/iPod control and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, are also being offered.
Oh, and if 12 speakers still aren’t enough for you, Lexus is also set to make available as an option, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system that delivers 330 total watts of power, doing so with just an incredibly low 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD).
Speaking of connectivity, the Lexus RX 450h also comes with Lexus’ Enform connectivity system, allowing customers to customize their smartphones and make them, well, smarter.
2015 Lexus RX 450h - Interior Dimensions
|Headroom||39.0/37.7 inches (992/958 MM) (w/o moonroof) (front/rear)|
|Legroom||43.1/36.8 inches (1,096/934 MM) (front/rear)|
|Shoulder Room||57.9/57.5 inches (1,473/1,462 MM) (front/rear)|
|Hip Room||55.5/54.5 inches (1,412/1,385 MM) (front/rear)|
As a full-on hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in a variety of ways, including electric-only, gas-engine-only, or combined gas and electric modes. The SUV can achieve all of those things by combining a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a front-mounted 116-kW electric motor generator, netting a total output of 295 horsepower, allowing it to hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds to go with a quarter-mile acceleration of 16.1 seconds. Unfortunately, top speed is electronically limited to just 112 mph, somewhat disappointing, given all that promise of luxury without the powerful performance bite to support it.
But as a car that relies on its hybrid powertrain, the RX 450h has four selectable driving modes, including EV, normal mode, Eco mode and Sport mode. Depending on your preference, each of these modes come with their own unique advantages, although we like the perfect blend of engine power and handling that the Sport mode provides.
|Type||Atkinson-cycle 60° V6, aluminum block and heads|
|Displacement||3.5 liters (211 cubic inches)|
|Valvetrain||Four cam, four valves per cylinder, with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)|
|Electric-Drive Motor||Front and rear high-output, permanent-magnet, electric-drive motors|
|Horsepower||295 total system horsepower|
|Fuel Economy (MPG City/Highway/Combined)||30 / 28 / 29|
|0-60 MPH Acceleration||7.8 seconds|
|1/4-Mile Acceleration||16.1 seconds|
|Top Track Speed (electronically limited)||112 mph|
For everything that you’re getting, the Lexus RX 450h comes with a higher retail price of $48,355. That figure could very well hit north of $50,000 if you add some options along the way.
The current generation Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is already a little long in the tooth so its reasonable to expect that the next-generation model, which is scheduled to arrive later this year, makes for a more suitable comparison to the 2015 RX 450h.
No details have been released on the Cayenne’s next-gen hybrid system, but we expect it to be similar to the one used in the current version: it combines a 3.0-liter, V-6 supercharged engine with an output of 333 horsepower with an electric motor that adds another 47 horsepower. This system ensures a sprint from 0 to 60 mph of just 6.1 seconds.
Gallery Porsche Cayenne
Another new company that’s announced plans for a hybrid SUV is Audi. The German automaker hasn’t provided details of its plans, except for the fact that the next-generation Q7 is scheduled to be released sometime next year - with a hybrid version in tow.
Gallery Audi Q7
BMW has been coy about its plans of building a hybrid X5, but recent spy photos seem to indicate that the company isn’t sitting on any developments being made by its competitors.
Our spy photographers recently sent over photos of an X5 carrying a"Hybrid Test Vehicle" logo on the front door and the same charging slot placed up front as the concept version, which leads us to believe that there could very well be a hybrid X5 in BMW’s future.
Other than that, we have no idea about what hybrid system the production version will use, but we expect to be something similar to the concept.
Gallery BMW X5 Plugin Hybrid eDrive
The limited top speed is a big letdown, but other than that, the 2015 RX 450h has a lot of the characteristics on your SUV checklist. Whether its the comfortable ride, the luxurious and techy cabin, and the the tall ride height, you’ll get a whole lot of what you’re looking for in a luxury hybrid SUV with the RX 450h. Just don’t expect to be blazing the road with it anytime soon.
- Welcoming cabin
- Has a load of technological features
- Efficiency is its hallmark
- A little slow
- Not a lot of exterior changes
- Can you wait for the coming competition?
Gallery Lexus RX 450h
Drivers can have it all! With the fuel economy of a compact sedan, the power of a V8 engine, versatility, a bold exterior, and the comforts of a luxury vehicle, the 2015 RX 450h hybrid continues to be a leader in the segment it created more than 10 years ago.
The RX 450h offers an impressive 32 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined EPA fuel economy estimates (30/28/29 MPG with AWD).
Now drivers and passengers alike will appreciate the convenience of the new standard Display Audio with Rear Backup Camera. Display Audio also provides a seven-inch monitor to view phone and vehicle information such as fuel economy and HVAC.
The clear leader in luxury hybrids, with five different models in its line, Lexus also knows how to imbue these fuel-conserving, ultra-low emission vehicles with an engaging driving spirit. Case in point, the RX 450h hybrid offers the performance of 295 combined system horsepower, with substantial torque at all speeds.
Hybrid Technology Leader
A full hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only, gas-engine-only, or combined gas and electric modes. The Lexus Hybrid Drive combines the power of a 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V6 engine with a front-mounted 116-kW electric motor generator, with power from both channeled through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The model with all-weather drive uniquely powers the rear wheels with a dedicated 50-kW electric motor, and this combination yields even quicker performance.
The RX 450h driver can choose from four selectable driving modes, including EV, which allows the vehicle to operate on electric-only power at low speeds under certain conditions. Normal mode provides an ideal blend of performance and efficiency for everyday driving. Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode, which was added in the 2013 redesign, increases powertrain responsiveness for a more engaging driving experience.
For either model, Lexus Hybrid Drive uses a 288V DC nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack that does not impinge on cabin or cargo room. In fact, the RX 450h offers the same cargo room as the gasoline RX 350 model, 40 cu. ft. with the 40/20/40 split rear seatbacks in use and doubling that to 80.3 cu. ft. with the seatbacks folded.
High Standard of Standard Luxury
In the Lexus tradition, the RX 450h comes with a long roster of standard luxury features. The 10-way power front seats, ebony or espresso bird’s eye maple and dual-zone automatic climate control set the tone for the luxury feel found throughout the cabin. The RX 450h upholds another Lexus tradition, the inclusion of Display Audio with Rear Backup Camera as standard equipment. The 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System offers a multitude of music source choices, including an in-dash single –disc CD player, Bluetooth® audio streaming, USB/iPod® control and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included).
For the ultimate in mobile sound, Lexus exclusively offers Mark Levinson® audio systems, a brand revered by audiophiles. The optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system will delight discerning ears, no matter the music choice. The system delivers 330 total watts of power with an incredibly low 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD). A rear seat entertainment system with dual seven-inch LCD screens ensures that passengers will enjoy long drives perhaps more than the driver does.
The standard SmartAccess system combines push-button starting and touch-sensitive exterior door handles. When the driver turns off the ignition, the seat automatically slides up to two inches rearward and the power tilt/telescoping steering wheel tilts upward and slides forward to ease exit. The next time the driver is seated and pushes the “On” button, the seat and steering wheel return to their preset positions automatically.
Connected, Informed and Entertained
Lexus has expanded connectivity in its vehicles while helping to reduce driver distraction. The foundation of this capability, Lexus Enform, can make a compatible Bluetooth smartphone even smarter. The available Enform service, with Destination Assist, eDestination, and App Suite, comes with the Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package. Lexus Enform provides access to the subscription-free App Suite. These voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing™, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com™, listen to Internet radio, including , Pandora®, and iHeartRadio™, search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on Facebook Places™.
Subscription-based Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles, while the RX 450h’s telematics system, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect® is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. Both subscription-based features come with complimentary one-year trial subscriptions. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week—every day of the year.
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services including NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. SiriusXM services offer complimentary one-year trial data subscription.
Lexus RX 450h also features available Siri® Eyes Free Mode technology licensed from Apple®. Compatible with the iPhone® 4S and iPhone 5 models forward, Siri lets you call contacts, select and play music from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation through Siri and Apple maps, and much more.
To help you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, Siri can read notifications and calendar information and allow you to add reminders, calendar appointments and notes.
All Lexus RX models are equipped with 10 standard airbags, including roll sensing side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, rear side airbags (for the outboard seating positions) and knee airbags for the driver and the front passenger.
The standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is designed to anticipate loss of vehicle control. It manages all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems – the Anti-lock Braking System, Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) – coordinating with the electronic throttle control system. VDIM employs these systems collectively and seamlessly to help make corrections while allowing higher dynamic capability. The system also provides a limited slip differential effect.
The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling directly ahead. The radar sensor can detect certain obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer with vehicle-speed, steering angle and yaw-rate inputs helps to determine whether a collision is imminent. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.
New for 2015
Standard Display Audio with seven-inch screen for all models
Available Luxury Package offers a 19-inch triple-split five-spoke wheel with light gray paint and machined finish
Available HID and LED headlamps paired with LED foglamps
Available navigation system features updated Remote Touch interface knob for improved ergonomics