Lexus RX450h Version L

Lexus RX450h Review: “Pointing out its level of quietness and riding feel, but it became better” by Naoki Aoyama

This review is about the Lexus RX premium crossover. I test drove its new model, the RX450h Version L, and the first thing that made me impressed about it was that it has a high quality interior as Lexus’s high class car, and it also had high ride quality and a high level of quietness more than anything else.

The size of its tires is 235/55R20. Even so, it has effective spring vibration control that was brought about by its driving motor, so its starting and stopping was flat. It also has flexible performance on unstable and drooping roads.

Its level of quietness, which Lexus takes pride in, has remarkably become even better than the previous-generation model. It thoroughly rectifies the air that flows from its body surface and lower parts, and it is full of sound absorbers and soundproofing materials. And as for its materials, its panel vibration control became better as it was changed to urethane, from felt materials that were used in the previous-generation model. Aside from that, it also had many improvements such as having its hood end elevated so that the wind will not directly hit the wipers, and steady blocking of drainage holes from the floor, below the door, and below the back doors (even so, water still come out from those parts).

Therefore, when driving in town areas, including in highways, regardless of whether the engine has started or not, its cabin is filled with quietness which made me feel as if I was isolated from the outside world. For example, it is more quiet than the Audi Q5 and the BMW X5, which have the same class with the Lexus RX450h.

Specifically, its level of quietness dropped down about three to four decibels than the previous-generation model when driving at high speed.

It has a 3.5L V6 engine and its two-motor system power outputs 313ps. Somehow, it had a smooth and torque-filled acceleration as I started its engine. It maintained great stability when I was cornering, and its comfortable and solid footwork was really suitable for a premium crossover.

Out of the Normal, Eco, Customized, and Sport driving modes, when I selected the Sport mode, (it also has a separate EV mode), its HV system changed from meter to tachometer, and it turned red. It has diverse management; particularly, it has conspicuously high power response, so its power performance in normal mode, which doesn’t make you feel its weight, becomes more active and intense.

However, excluding the comfortability of the engine, it created a shocking, audacious low sound when the engine rotated at medium and high levels, and I could hear it inside the car. As expected, it is easy to feel its difference between driving by motor in terms of quietness.

Regarding that matter, I asked the developing group if should it be more silent when they focused on improving the level of its quietness and they said, “As for the Americans, even though they are sensitive when it comes to high frequency bandwidth and high frequency sound (mainly wind noise), they do not mind much about low frequency sounds.”

Now I know, about 70% of the Lexus RX’s that were produced (as of the data given about the previous generation models) were designed for North America. Yes, the main language of the RX is English.

Further, it still has vibration occurrence when steering, which was also in the previous-generation model. If you choose the Version L, this part is a bit regrettable because it’s a premium crossover and a premium SUV that costs more than 7 million yen. The developing group said, “This is one of the things we are going to consider from now.” I want the machining center to do something about this. This is because drivers always take a hold of this part.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★

Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/ Dog Life Journalist
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer specializing on automotive magazines, and then of general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication related to pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is a Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee member.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)