The 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance is a hybrid and is also the fastest and most powerful RX ever. It’s a good blend of luxury and performance, gets decent fuel economy, and has striking looks with its huge grill.
Base Price: $61,600
As Tested: $70,620
Mileage: 27 mpg city/28 mpg highway/27 mpg combined
The RX is the best-selling model for Lexus and one of the most popular luxury SUVs in the U.S. It was a trend setter when it was first introduced back in 1998 as it was one of the first of its kind.
The Lexus RX gets completely redesigned for 2023 and is now in its fifth generation. There are four models, three of which are hybrids: the RX350h, the RX450h+ which is a plug-in hybrid, and the RX500h F Sport Performance. Starting prices for the hybrid models range from $50,150 to $62,750, including delivery charge. These prices are less than many rivals.
The only non-hybrid in the mix is the RX 350 which starts at $48,500, including delivery charge.
There’s room for five passengers in two rows of seating.
The 500h is powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor on the rear axle, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Total output is 366 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard on the RX 500h.
Performance is sporty for a Lexus, and the 500h is fun to drive. It’s quick off the line—Lexus says it can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds—and also eager to go at higher speeds when merging and passing on the freeway. The F-Sport suspension means you can zip around corners. The ride is also smooth and comfortable, as you’d expect in a Lexus. The six-speed shifts smoothly and quickly but eight-speed transmissions are much more common these days. You can use paddle shifters on the steering wheel to shift to your liking.
EPA ratings for my tester are 27 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with a combined rating of 27. I got 27 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is much improved over the outgoing model. The cabin looks modern and clean and is loaded with tech. Materials are nicer; most are soft-touch. Fit and finish are excellent with every stitch in place. Controls and information are geared to the driver, giving a cockpit feel. Front seats are comfortable and supportive with numerous adjustments. Both rows have decent leg- and headroom and two adults will be comfortable in the back seat even on long trips. The rear seats recline so passengers can stretch out.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, multi-zone climate control with interior air filter, eight-way power adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, seven-inch multi-informational display, infotainment system with 9.8-inch touchscreen, Lexus 12-speaker premium audio system, navigation (with subscription), satellite radio, Bluetooth, voice command, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, USB ports, Wi-Fi hotspot, and automatic high beams.
Available features include a digital key, surround view camera system, head-up display, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats with 4-way power lumbar adjustment, semi-aniline leather seating, NuLuxe synthetic leather seating, ventilated front seats, heated and ventilated rear seats, wood trim, Infotainment system with 14-inch touchscreen, 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and panoramic moonroof.
Standard driver assistance technologies include all-speed adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, lane tracing assist, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and road sign recognition.
Available driver assistance technologies include Traffic Jam Assist (which is basically adaptive cruise and lane control for stop and go traffic), and Advanced Park system (which controls the RX as it maneuvers in and out of parking spots).
Thank goodness Lexus has done away with the clunky Remote Touch controller and instead there are touchscreens, either the standard 9.8-inch touchscreen or optional 14-inch touchscreen. It still takes some time to get used to this system, but it’s far better than the outgoing one. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in every RX. Physical knobs make it easy to adjust volume and climate.
Cargo space is about average for a midsize luxury crossover. There are 29.6 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 46.2 cubes with the rear seats folded.
Decent fuel efficiency
Upscale, modern cabin
Excellent fit and finish
Loaded with tech and safety features
New infotainment system much better than outgoing system
Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Lower price than many rivals
Infotainment system still not as user-friendly as rivals’
My tester starts at $61,600. The 120V AC Inverter is $550. Cold Area Package is $100. Traffic Jam Assist is $620. Digital Key is $275. Digital Rearview Mirror is $200. Premium Triple-Beam LED Headlamps are $1,565. Lexus Interface infotainment system with 14-inch touchscreen and Mark Levinson 21-speaker premium surround sound audio system are $2,265. Panorama Moonroof is $500. Power rear door with kick sensor is $150. Advanced Park system is $250. Panoramic view monitor is $800. Premium paint is $595. Handling fee is $1,150 bringing the grand total to $70,260.
The Lexus RX was already one of the most popular crossovers and the redesign makes it even more compelling. Lexus basically took a good thing and made it better. Plus it’s actually sporty which you don’t really expect in a Lexus, and the price is competitive for the segment. The 2023 RX is sure worth a look if you’re shopping for a midsize luxury crossover, especially if you want a hybrid or plug-in hybrid.