Lexus RX 2015 - 2022 guide

What's the Lexus RX hybrid SUV like as a second-hand buy?

What’s it like?

Lexus has always liked to do things its own way, placing a heavy emphasis on hybrid power, and so its RX luxury SUV has been petrol-electric – rather than diesel – for nearly two decades now; the first RX ‘h’ variant appeared back in 2005, and its formula has continued ever since. The fourth-generation RX, however, which launched in 2015 and only went out of production in 2022, added a significant degree of aesthetic appeal courtesy of its striking, angular styling and supremely high-quality interior – annoying infotainment controller aside, that is. Originally intended to be a leftfield alternative to the multitalented likes of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes GLE, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90, in 2018 a stretched-wheelbase model called the RX L was added to the line-up and addressed one of its few shortcomings: the lack of a seven-seat option. Thus, if you see an RX on the used market, it’s a five-seater, and the RX L is the one that larger families need to seek out.

Which model to go for?

It’s incredibly simple in this regard: there is but one powertrain choice for the Mk4 Lexus RX. It was only ever sold here as the 450h, which saw a 3.5-litre V6 petrol paired to a duo of electric motors and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). With all-wheel drive as a result, and a peak power output of 313hp, the RX 450h was brisk – running the 0-100km/h time in just 7.7 seconds.

The RX 450hL, being a little bit bigger, took eight seconds to do the same thing and its fuel economy suffered a little too, officially using 5.9 litres/100km compared to the five-seater RX’s 5.5 litres/100km. But, in truth, despite the fact the V6 powertrain sounded great, there was no sporty edge to the Lexus RX and so it is best enjoyed when driven at a more leisurely pace.

Thus operated, impressive refinement and sound suppression, as well as a really comfortable ride, all serve to make it a fabulous thing to travel in. Admittedly, there can be times the CVT makes the engine a little raucous to listen to, but in general the Lexus RX is suave, it is assured, and it is sophisticated. Your only decision will be whether you need five seats and a bigger boot, or the ability to carry seven people onboard.

Does anything go wrong?

As a Lexus, it’s perhaps disingenuous to say this generation of RX has an unimpeachable reliability record, but it’s not far off the truth. Much of what is fitted to it is tried-and-tested technology running in an unstressed state, and Lexus has an enviable reputation for building dependable cars of all shapes and sizes. While the RX’s CVT is not the most enjoyable gearbox, for extra peace of mind it is worth remembering that this transmission type is particularly dependable – one of the reasons, along with its fuel-economy focus, that Lexus selected it in the first place for the RX.

Lexus issued just three disparate recalls for the RX Mk4 during its life, which were for: a problem with the fuel pump; issues with water ingress in the heated washer jets; and a potential fault with the passenger-side airbag inflator.

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