As you all know, I get a lot of crossovers to review. Not a shock considering the popularity, take a look at any parking lot you’re in and I guarantee it’ll be the prevailing body style. Unless you’re in Texas which will be mostly pickup trucks. Lexus doesn’t sell a pickup, but they sell quite a few crossovers. When the notice came in that I was getting a silver Lexus hybrid crossover, honestly I wasn’t very excited. However, I’m a professional and spent my week with the 223 Lexus RX 350h Luxury AWD doing the due diligence to see if it should be on the recommended list.
2023 Lexus RX 350h Overview
There are quite a few options for your RX350 and RX350h shopping consideration. The extensive list of trims below are generally listed in order of increasing price. What’s impressive about the hybrid version is that the AWD version costs exactly the same as the non-hybrid version. The RX 350h AWD starts at $51,150 which is the same as the RX 350 AWD, so it’s worth looking at the hybrid version. As you can see, the trim levels have a semi-confusing escalation from Premium to Premium+ to Luxury.
As you can see by the window sticker below, our tester had quite a few of one-off options added to the starting MSRP. I’ll let you read through at your leisure.
I do like the terminology of “Cold Area” Package, live in a cold area, well this might be for you! All in and you’re at $66,400 which is a non-so-insignificant number when looking at new SUVs. Let’s delve into some of the details shall we?
2023 Lexus RX 350h Inside & Out
Silver isn’t a particularly striking color option on most cars as it tends to make them a bit more anonymous. I saw “Iridium” listed ahead of the loan and (once I had Googled it) wasn’t super excited. A hybrid crossover, in silver, oye. However, you have to admit it photographs well. From an exterior design perspective, it’s got some highs and lows if I’m honest. I actually like the adaptation of the Lexus grille, it’s a bit more attractive. I also like the wheels, it’s a classy spoked design that should age fairly well and fits the “luxury” angle. The headlights are pretty cool as well, continuing the checkmark design that’s also been with Lexus for some time.
The, uh, nose is a little bulbous and awkward from some angles. It sort of seems like it has a snout or something. But overall it’s not a bad design and at least doesn’t fully fit into the “looks like every other crossover” category.
The interior has a ton of great design elements, from the cool contour details on the doors surrounding the speaker, to the nicely integrated woodgrain on the dash. Overall layout is solid, Lexus takes a stand against the “tacked on screen” by integrating their 14-inch touchscreen into the black surround, which makes it look much more purposeful. Speaking of the tech side, I absolutely love it it has a volume knob, I know that’s setting me up for “OK Boomer” territory one day but I don’t care. I also found the round knobs for the HVAC controls a fantastic touch, love the faded blue to red tone.
On the comfort and ergonomics side the seats are super supportive and would be great for a long trip. I also like that there is a msall shift knob that lines up nicely with the center console so I had a place to rest my arm. It is pretty cool how when you can place your finger on one of the buttons on the steering wheel and it will display the corresponding function on the heads up display before you press it. That’s fantastic, and a great add to reduce driver distraction. Speaking of distraction, while it’s great that it has a volume button, they painted it black and blends in with the rest of the panel, making it hard to grab even during the day.
In the back, there is a reasonable 29.6 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the 2nd row, with a max of 46.2 cu.ft. with the seats folded.
2023 Lexus RX 350h On The Road
With 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, the 4,455 pound RX 350h isn’t exactly quick, but wasn’t slow either. Lexus cites a 7.4 second trip to sixty mph. In day-to-day driving around town it’s quiet and comfortable and or out on the highway it got up to speed just fine. It does have a handful of drive modes, but they aren’t controlled by a physical button, had to dive into the menu system to find them. It does have an accelerometer for some reason.
After some time in the RX 350h, it was the technology that started to sour the experience. The safety system is very intrusive, it completely cut power at one point based on a calculation that a car turning in front of me was stopped, and would remain stopped. I had to wait a beat until it decided it was time to move again. The blind spot warning system kept flashing warnings about the proximity of other vehicles during lane changes, and then when I looked down at it, it yelled at me for not paying attention to the road. When I looked down at that inattention warning, it yelled at me again for not looking at the road. Than it told me to sit up because my face was not detected and again later because my arm was blocking the driver attention monitor. Leave me alone car!
In the end, the 36 mph combined city/highway will be a great enticement for someone looking for a luxury SUV, as will the Lexus reliability reputation. There are a lot of great midsize luxury SUVs out there in this segment, but the RX 350h is a compelling option. My criticisms were primarily around driver aides that can be switched off, so it’s hard not to recommend it to buyers. Just get it in a more interesting color like Nori Green.
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