The hybrid version also shares the same changes made to all 2010 RX models, including an increase in width (though other dimensions remain essentially unchanged), a beefier structure to promote greater crashworthiness, bigger wheels and brakes, more airbags (now at 10 total), a keyless ignition system and a new computer mouselike multifunction controller for the optional navigation system.
Though expensive, the 2010 Lexus RX 450h delivers impressive fuel economy and utility plus all the power, amenities and flawless build quality consumers have come to expect from Lexus.
The 2010 Lexus RX 450h hybrid combines a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine with electric motor-generators to power vehicle systems and the driving wheels. Front-wheel-drive models use two motor-generators -- one acting as a starter/generator and the other providing motive force -- while the all-wheel-drive version adds a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Producing up to 295 hp and working through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT), the RX 450h provides smooth, strong performance. We've timed the 450h from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, a time that's about the same as the regular RX 350's. Fuel economy estimates stand at 28 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined for the FWD model, with the AWD version rating 1 mpg less. Properly equipped, the RX 450h can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Although the RX 450h is part of Lexus' entry-level SUV lineup, the 450h's cabin gives the impression that this could be the company's flagship. Real wood and leather trim make for a rich ambience. The optional Mark Levinson sound system rivals the best systems available from any manufacturer, and the optional navigation system boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces around. In addition to voice command capability, the latter employs a new "Remote Touch" interface that replaces the former touchscreen setup with a mouselike controller located on the center console. Remote Touch is immediately intuitive and generally easier to use than interfaces offered by the RX's competitors.
Rear passengers can get comfortable thanks to the seat's reclining and sliding adjustments. That seat is split 40/20/40 to optimize both passenger comfort and cargo-carrying flexibility. When it's time to turn this luxury cruiser into a beast of burden, the RX 450h is ready with 40 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats up and 80 cubes with those seats down.
Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, smooth ride, luxurious and comfortable interior, smart electronics interface.
No third-row seat, expensive option packages, questionable economic and environmental benefit.