Home » Car Review » 2013 Lexus RX450h Review [complete] – Sumo

2013 Lexus RX450h Review [complete] – Sumo

2013 Lexus RX450h 3.5 F Sport E-CVT Review. Lexus RX is one of the original symbols of the premium SUV category. It was originally designed for the North American market, where has more than eight years in the hybrid variant and over 15 years as a gasoline powered SUV. Today, Lexus RX is also an important player in the European premium SUV’s market. It has, however, to face a strong competition.

2013 Lexus RX450h

2013 Lexus RX 450h 3.5 F Sport E-CVT

Lexus has a rich experience in the hybrid propulsion systems field. And still believes that this solution is more efficient and less polluting than a modern diesel engine. Lexus RX hybrid was first launched on the North American market in 2005 and from the beginning it could boast that emits only 195 grams of CO2/km. Today we face the third generation of Lexus RX and the  second generation of the hybrid propulsion system of the V6 petrol engine completed by the electric motor. It’s actually the only engine version that Lexus offers for some of the European markets.

2013 Lexus RX450h 3.5 F Sport E-CVT Full Review

2013 Lexus RX450h Engine / Transmission 3.5/5

Even its sign says 450h, the heart of this premium SUV is a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine that develops 250 hp. From here, things get complicated. The engine is assisted by an electric motor of 165 hp and both of them are sending power to the front axle wheels. To make from Lexus RX a 4×4, Lexus is using a second electric motor of 65 hp, which spins the rear wheels  of the car. Both motors are powered by a battery pack. The combined power of the two systems is 300 horsepower, according to Lexus. It’s not enough to just make a sum of the three powers, the calculation is more complicated than that.

Like any hybrid car, 2013 Lexus RX450h uses the electric motor to run at low speed or for parking maneuvers and the heat engine occurs when higher speeds are needed. The petrol engine is also responsible for charging the batteries when their level decreases. With this intelligent hybrid system, the new Lexus RX450h has CO2 emissions of just 145 g CO2/km.

Compared to the previous generation of Lexus RX, the  hybrid system used was refined. The petrol engine is more unctuous than ever, and occurs very subtle when needed. The power is transmitted to all four wheels through a CVT automatic transmission.

There are some problems, however: the transmission is effective at urban speeds, but when a little more power is needed it  behaves strangely, somehow canceling the real power of the hybrid system. Lexus and Toyota still rely on this type of transmission and, although efficient for models like Prius, for an SUV with the size seems a bit captive in the past.

2013 Lexus RX 450h MPG

2013 Lexus RX450h Fuel efficiency 4.5/5

Besides the fact that a hybrid system is efficient and provides lower CO2 emissions, the fuel consumption consistently decreases. Lexus says that the official urban consumption is 6.5 l/100 km (36 MPG US / 43.5 MPG Imp.) and the mixed fuel efficiency is 6.3 l/100 km (37.3 MPG US / 44.8 MPG Imp.). A rather optimistic figure, which is almost impossible to achieve in real life. In three days of the 2013 Lexus RX450h urban use, we managed to achieve a fuel efficiency of 8.2 liters/100 km (28.6 MPG US / 34.5  MPG Imp.). Even so, the numbers are impressive for a full-size SUV that weighs nearly 2.5 tons (5500 lbs).

Making a comparison with the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid rival, you can notice that the German is registering a mixed fuel efficiency of 8.2 liters/100 km (28.6 MPG US / 34.5 MPG Imp.). But there is a small (or big) difference between the two models: Porsche uses a hybrid system that develops 380 hp.

2013 Lexus RX450h Performance 3.5/5

The 300 hp combined by the two power sources of the Lexus hybrid system is enough to propel the SUV to a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) is done in 7.8 seconds. Modest performances compared to the image that Lexus wants to display. Especially for the 2013 Lexus RX 450h F Sport model, we wished that Lexus would upgrade the performances.

2013 Lexus RX450h Interior 4.5/5

The model we tested came equipped in the F-Sport version (2013 Lexus RX 450h 3.5 F Sport E-CVT), one that highlights this model. RX is offered in four equipping versions called Business, Executive, F-Sport and President. In addition to the F-Sport, the three other versions are not standing out at all. The F-Sport offers a different radiator grille in mesh style with chrome accents on the sides. The side and rear windows are tinted and the interior is upholstered in quality black leather and aluminum inserts. The steering wheel and the shift lever are leather-bounded, perforated and signed with the F-Sport logo.

2013 Lexus RX 450h Price

The interior is spacious, as you’d expect of an SUV of this size. The futuristic dashboard is lit in blue and the driver also receives the information from a Head Up Display that projects a digital speedometer directly on the windshield. The rev counter is replaced by a load indicator or efficient driving. The interior designers thought excellent the interior storage spaces, because the RX has sufficient storage areas to put a mobile phone or a bottle of water. The trunk can be accessed through an electric tailgate and the luggage space has a volume of 446 liters (15.7 Cubic Feet).

2013 Lexus RX450h Price 4/5

The less pleasant part linked with Lexus RX450h is the purchase price. As a premium SUV powered by a next-generation hybrid system, the Japanese model is not going to be cheap. The prices start at 63,900 Euros (VAT included) for the Business version and reach 77,800 Euros (VAT included) for the RX450h F-Sport model that we’ve tested. The only model that can be compared with, Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is priced at 90,877 Euros (VAT included). The price difference is justified by the different power of the two hybrid SUVs.

2013 Lexus RX450h Safety 5/5

Lexus RX hasn’t been tested by EuroNCAP, but because other models of the premium brand from Japan have achieved five stars and the parent company Toyota has always invested in the safety of the passengers, we expect that 2013 Lexus RX450h won’t have problems in this chapter. To support this point, Lexus RX Hybrid equipped F-Sport has no less than 10 airbags, all offered as standard. In addition, Lexus offers Bi-LED headlights of high-performance for the car use at night, a factor that contributes to the safety of those on board.

2013 Lexus RX 450h Specs

2013 Lexus RX450h Roadholding 4/5

Being a large SUV, Lexus RX also has an inertia to match. The battery contributes to the weight of over 2.2 tons of the car and even if the  technology has advanced with great strides, the system is still heavy. Although it has a sporty look in the F-Sport equipment and even a different suspension from the standard one, 2013 Lexus RX450h feels heavy when we request a sportier driving style. But it is perfect for the urban use or for a relaxed driving style. The bright side is the absolute comfort provided by the suspension of the RX450h model. And another point: the electrically operated brakes need adjustment time. The brake pedal dosage is different from the one of a normal car because the car recovers braking energy to charge the batteries.

2013 Lexus RX450h Visibility 4/5

Due to the high driving position specific for an SUV body type, the perspective on traffic is wide and you can see exactly what your traffic partners are about to do. The side mirrors have a perfect size and the driver is also assisted by a complete sensors system for parking maneuvers. And in addition, a video camera for a rearview.

2013 Lexus RX450h Technology 4.5/5

The hybrid models are the most technologically advanced cars that can be purchased. Besides the hybrid propulsion system with two power sources, Lexus has equipped the SUV with the latest and the best technologies. We have a central display with excellent resolution and cool graphics with all kind of necessary information for the driver. You can monitor the hybrid system, or see a graph with the evolution of the fuel efficiency. Everything is controlled via a “mouse” located on the center console next to the gear box lever.

The dashboard is quite minimalist, therefore easy and intuitive to use. The Mark Levinson audio system is one of the reference facilities of this model.The sound played on the 7.1 system with 15 speakers is great and the central display can even play DVDs. Any device with Bluetooth technology can be connected without any problem at the car system. Anyway, Lexus has some work to do in the active safety area, the RX not being available an automatic car stop system in case of imminent crash.

2013 Lexus RX450h Design

2013 Lexus RX450h Design 3.5/5

Lexus RX was never a car with a fabulous design. But it has an unmistakable silhouette that’s making it recognizable. The design line was kept between the second and the third generation, but the model was highlighted by a few aesthetic changes after receiving a facelift a year ago. The F-Sport version is the one that stands out the most, because of its black mesh grille with aluminum inserts, and the LED lighting. In addition, 19-inch wheels designed for F-Sport completes the look of this premium SUV.

2013 Lexus RX450h Test Drive

What we liked:

  • Efficient hybrid system
  • Quality of the manufacture
  • The interior

What we didn’t liked:

  • The CVT
  • The total Weight
  • Poor performance raported to the competition

2013 Lexus RX450h Specs

2013 Lexus RX 450h 3.5 F Sport E-CVT
Petrol + Electric
No. doors
Engine type/cylinder
3.5-liter / V6 + 2 electric motors
Displacement cc
Length mm / in
4770 / 187.8
Maximum power HP (rpm)
299 (n/a)
Width mm / in
1885 / 74.2
Torque Nm / lb-ft (rpm)
Height mm / in
1685 / 66.3
Top speed km/h / mph
200 / 124
Weight kg / lbs
2205 / 4861.2
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h / 62 mph
7.8 seconds
Wheelbase mm / in
2740 / 107.8
4×4 AWD
Fuel tank – liters / gallons
65 / 17.2 US / 14.3 Imperial
Automatic CVT
Cargo – liters / cubic feet
496 / 17.5
2013 Lexus RX450h – 3.5 F Sport E-CVT receives in our Review an Overall note of 4.1 out of 5.

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