2024 Lexus RX 450h+ PHEV

Lexus' plug-in RX is a very good luxury crossover in a vacuum, but it finds itself in a tough spot considering its rivals
Lexus' plug-in RX is a very good luxury crossover in a vacuum, but it finds itself in a tough spot considering its rivals

by Rushabh Shah and Nathan Leipsig | March 5, 2024


The Lexus RX has always been a trailblazer in the luxury crossover segment, not just for the baseline RX 350, but also with the introduction of the RX 400h back in 2005. Fast forward to today and the RX is available in four different flavours, encompassing regular gas-powered, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models. This week, we take a look at the 2024 Lexus RX 450h PHEV+ to see how the first-ever RX plug-in hybrid stacks up.

The RX 450h+ is new this year, still sporting the full redesign unveiled in 2022 for the 2023 model year. The refresh still looks up to date, and as far as the PHEV RX is concerned, there are almost no discernible differences from the stock RX aside from a charge port door on the front fender. Our tester was a fairly plain-looking Cloudburst Grey on Peppercorn spec.

The RX 450h+ strives to meet the needs of buyers who engage in a lot of city driving. It boasts 60 kilometers of full electric range, which for many buyers should be plenty, as it’s within the same ballpark as the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Lexus’ own NX 450h+ PHEVs. We struggled to see that 60 km figure, though; being that winter is in full swing and most of my driving was over the highway, it makes sense why the RX missed the mark somewhat, but it was nonetheless disconcerting to see just how quickly the all-electric range dropped. Given the conditions, the best I could do was about 40 kilometres of EV power.

When you do run out of electrons, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine pitches in. When combined with the three electric motors and their 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery, the RX 450h+ is rated at 304 horsepower. Overall power delivery is adequate, but when there is no more power left in the battery to augment the gasoline engine, the RX can feel a bit sluggish at times. The CVT fumbling the powerband doesn’t help.

It’s important to note what Lexus is doing with the RX line-up here. The base RX 350 is powered by a 2.4L turbo-four producing 275 hp. That same turbo-four also appears in the RX 500h, where it’s combined with a hybrid powertrain to produce 367 hp. The difference in fuel economy is about 1.6 L/100 km in favour of the 500, even though it’s marketed more towards the sporty end. Then there is the RX 350h, which produces 246 hp from its 2.5L normally aspirated engine, which is shared with the RX 450h+. In the RX 350h, it achieves a combined fuel economy of 6.5 L/100km. The RX 450h+ gives you a decent power bump while at the same time maintaining a similar 6.7 L/100 km combined fuel economy rating. If your brain is hurting trying to comprehend all the figures, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

It seems like there is quite a bit of overlap in the RX line-up, however it does appear as though Lexus is trying to tailor is already fantastic baseline RX 350 to suit everyone’s needs. I think this endeavour to make the RX into a bunch of different products for everyone falls short when you look at the competition. For the RX 450h+ in particular we have on test, my biggest gripe about it doesn’t have much to do with the RX itself, but more so with competitors like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE PHEVs.

Personally, I think the standard RX 350 hits an impeccable mix of value and luxurious feel, and with a base price of $63,135 including freight and PDI, the standard RX feels like a more expensive experience than it truly is. However, when you consider the base price of the RX 450h+ is an eye-watering $90,325 including freight and PDI , it feels like Lexus is stretching the RX nameplate perhaps a bit too far.

Both the BMW X5 xDrive50e and Mercedes-Benz GLE 450e feel more premium to begin with, as they’re both based off more expensive, and in a few ways, more refined base products. Both the X5 and GLE plug-in hybrids start at around the $90,000 mark, and similarly equipped as the RX 450h+, both sit around the $95,000 mark. That makes the price tag of the RX 450h+ a tough pill to swallow; yes, the RX PHEV still costs five grand less, but the X5 and GLE are $85,000 SUVs punching up to the $95,000 mark, versus the RX being a $60,000 SUV punching up to the $90,000 mark.

Bringing it back to the RX 450h+, the interior is everything that you would expect from Lexus — great materials, excellent design and flow, and a smooth comfortable ride. This suspension is very compliant even with the large wheels, and there’s adequate room for all your belongings even with the hybrid batteries. We wish Lexus would take out some of the gloss black trim along the upper reaches of the cabin, but overall build quality is very premium. Still, the X5 and GLE PHEVs feel more premium inside by virtue of them simply being more premium products to begin with.

All things considered, the 2024 Lexus RX 450h+ PHEV is an excellent vehicle in a vacuum, but with stiff competition, it would be hard for even the most loyal of Lexus followers to pick the RX 450h over its slightly pricier German rivals, let alone the NX with the same powertrain for tens of thousands of dollars less. The RX 450h+ is a very specific vehicle for a very specific market; with that being said, and with Lexus brand loyalty being what it is, they’ll still sell plenty of these to consumers looking to do more city driving with their larger Lexus crossovers.


Vehicle Specs
Plug-in hybrid luxury crossover
Engine Size
2.5L inline-four plug-in hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
304 hp
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
838/1,308 L (seats up/down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
The DoubleClutch.ca Podcast

About Rushabh Shah

Staff Writer

Rushabh is an avid car enthusiast since the day he was born. He’s an experienced detailer and largely does his own vehicle maintenance. On the side, Rushabh can often be found tinkering on his classic Porsche 911SC.

Current Toys: ’97 F355 Spider 6MT, '79 911SC Targa, ’00 M5, '13 750i Executive