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2023 Lexus RX 350h Review: Toyota Really Knows How To Do Hybrid

In 2023, Lexus has given its popular RX SUV a complete overhaul, and it retains its signature soft-riding road manners that cater to its loyal customer base. As I reviewed this SUV

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With a range of powertrains to choose from, including the powerful 367-hp F Sport Performance model, the 2023 RX offers something for everyone. The updated styling is a significant departure from the previous model, with a fresh take on the brand's iconic wide-mouthed grille and L-shaped running lights. Inside, you'll find a more luxurious cabin, complete with a large infotainment touchscreen and the latest tech features. Unlike its predecessor, the 2023 RX is now strictly a two-row SUV, though a three-row variant might join the lineup later or be replaced by a new, larger Lexus SUV.

What's New for 2023?

The 2023 Lexus RX enters its fifth generation with an all-new design (ref. Lexus), but it stays true to its reputation as a quiet and comfortable cruiser.

Trims and Pricing

The 2023 Lexus RX offers a wide range of trims to suit different preferences and budgets. The lineup includes the RX350, RX350 Premium, RX350h, RX350 Premium, RX350 Premium Plus, RX350 Premium Plus, RX350h Premium Plus, RX350 Luxury, RX350 F Sport, RX350h Luxury, and RX500h F Sport Performance. The starting price for the RX350 is $48,950, while the RX350h, which I had the opportunity to test drive, is priced at $51,545. The top-tier trims can reach the mid-sixty-thousand range with all the available options.

Engine and MPG

One of the standout features of the 2023 Lexus RX 350h is the balance it strikes between power and fuel economy. The vehicle achieves an impressive 37 mpg, especially for its size. Here are the EPA fuel economy ratings:

  • Combined: 36 mpg
  • City: 37 mpg
  • Highway: 34 mpg

The 2023 RX 350h is equipped with a Gas/Electric I-4 engine with a displacement of 2.5 liters or 152 cubic inches. Its fuel system includes port and direct injection, delivering a maximum horsepower of 246 at 6000 RPM and a maximum torque of 233 at 4300 RPM. The cooling system capacity is not specified, and it features a CVT transmission with one speed.

Exterior

Lexus has made some striking changes to the exterior design of the 2023 RX, and they have certainly caught my attention. The aggressive yet sleek appearance is a departure from what many of us might have expected.

The grille of the 2023 R 350h is a definite head-turner, and the wide front bumper gives the vehicle a more distinctive look. It exudes a sense of grandeur and size, making a strong visual statement.

2023 Lexus RX 350h Review side exterior design

This new design language from Lexus is indeed refreshing. As someone who isn't a Lexus owner, I must admit that the previous generation didn't quite win me over, primarily due to the overly prominent front grille. It just seemed disproportionate for the size of the vehicle. However, the 2023 RX's design has managed to change my perspective.

Interior

While the exterior of the 2023 Lexus RX is turning heads, the interior is equally impressive. The cabin exudes luxury, and it's clear that Lexus has made significant upgrades in this department. The new large infotainment touchscreen is user-friendly and adds a modern touch to the interior. The latest tech features provide convenience and entertainment, making every journey enjoyable.

One of the notable changes for the 2023 model is the shift from a two- or three-row configuration to a strictly two-row setup. This change might disappoint some who were looking for a three-row option, but it's a strategic move by Lexus. The possibility of a three-row variant joining the lineup later or an entirely new, larger SUV with a standard seven-seat layout is intriguing.

2023 Lexus RX 350h Review Interior

The 2023 Lexus RX comes equipped with an impressive infotainment system that centers around a 9.8-inch touchscreen nestled prominently in the heart of its redesigned dashboard. For those craving a more immersive experience, an optional 14.0-inch screen is available, promising an even grander interface. What sets the RX apart is not just the screen's size but its driver-centric design. Much like its smaller sibling, the NX SUV, the RX's infotainment display is thoughtfully angled towards the driver, ensuring easy access to its features. Utilizing Lexus's latest software interface, this system provides a seamless and intuitive user experience.

In terms of connectivity, the 2023 RX raises the bar. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support come standard, offering effortless integration with your smartphone. But what truly sets this system apart is its flexibility. While basic connectivity is guaranteed, the RX leaves room for personalization. Features like built-in navigation, a head-up display for critical information at a glance, and the audiophile's delight, the Mark Levinson stereo system, are available as optional upgrades. This means that the RX caters to a wide spectrum of preferences, whether you seek a straightforward commute or a tech-savvy, entertainment-packed journey. The choice is yours, making the 2023 Lexus RX's infotainment system a versatile and adaptable companion for any drive.

Why This Vehicle Matters

The 2023 Lexus RX 350h is a significant step forward for the brand and the SUV segment as a whole. This review is not only a reflection of my personal experience but also a testament to Lexus's commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction. The new design, improved fuel economy, and advanced technology make the 2023 RX a compelling choice for those in the market for a luxury SUV.

In my opinion, the 37 mpg combined fuel economy is a standout feature, especially for a vehicle of this size and class. It's a testament to the advancements in hybrid technology, which not only reduces emissions but also helps drivers save on fuel costs. The balanced power and fuel efficiency make the 2023 RX 350h a practical choice for daily commuting and long trips.

2023 Lexus RX 350h Review back seats

The exterior redesign is a refreshing change that shows Lexus's willingness to evolve its design language. The attention to detail and the distinctive grille make the 2023 RX stand out in a crowded segment. It's a departure from the conservative styling of the past and appeals to those who seek a more dynamic and assertive look in their SUV.

The interior upgrades, including the infotainment system and tech features, demonstrate Lexus's commitment to providing a premium driving experience. The user-friendly technology enhances convenience and connectivity, ensuring that you stay connected and entertained while on the road.

The Drive

Driving the 2023 Lexus RX 350h is a smooth and comfortable experience. The hybrid powertrain is responsive and efficient, and the vehicle handles well for its size.

The RX 350h accelerates well from a stop and has plenty of power for highway cruising. The CVT does a good job of keeping the engine in its optimal RPM range, which helps to improve fuel economy.

2023 Lexus RX 350h Review rear view

The RX 350h handles well for its size. The suspension is tuned for a comfortable ride, but the vehicle still feels planted in corners. The steering is also responsive and well-weighted.

Lexus has paid special attention to the driving dynamics of the RX 350h. Its chassis is designed to minimize body roll, and the suspension is tuned for comfort, effectively absorbing road imperfections. The steering is responsive and well-weighted, making it easy to maneuver in various driving conditions. The 2023 RX 350h offers multiple driving modes, including Eco, Normal, and Sport, allowing you to tailor the driving experience to your preferences. In Sport mode, you'll notice a more spirited response from the throttle and a slightly firmer suspension setup, making it engaging to drive when desired.

2023 Lexus RX 350h Review cargo

In terms of technology, the 2023 RX 350h benefits from advanced driver-assistance features, contributing to a safer driving experience. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automated emergency braking, among others. Additionally, the available head-up display provides essential information directly in your line of sight, enhancing convenience and safety. Overall, driving the 2023 Lexus RX 350h is a refined and comfortable experience, with a focus on delivering a serene ride combined with the latest technology for an enjoyable and confident driving experience.

The 2023 Lexus RX 350h is a vehicle that matters because it embodies the brand's dedication to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. With a compelling combination of power, fuel efficiency, design, and technology, it's a strong contender in the competitive luxury SUV market.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News TwitterFacebokLinkedin and Youtube. He has more than a decade of expertise in the automotive industry with special interest in Tesla and electric vehicles.

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