While Lexus didn’t create the luxury SUV, their RX certainly led in making posh, car-based crossovers so popular; a move that so many other luxury brands have now followed. They also brought electric assistance to the segment well before anyone else. But, it has taken them until now to get fully plugged in to what a hybrid is capable of.

The Lexus RX was truly a game changer when it arrived for the 1999 model year, taking the relatively new car-based crossover concept into luxury territory, yet keeping it attainable enough for suburbanites to be able to afford it just as easily as they could park it in their garages. Now, 25 years later, and the mid-size RX continues with the same ethos, while delivering even better efficiency by adding Toyota’s Prime plug-in hybrid technology, into what remains their best-seller, creating the 2024 Lexus RX 450h+.

Being a hybrid is not new, of course. The RX was the brand’s first hybrid back in 2006. Currently, that traditional hybrid system mates front- and rear-mounted electric motors with a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated I4 with standard all-wheel drive for a combined output of 246 horsepower.

2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dead Front
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Grill
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Profile
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Wheels
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Quarter Panel & Charge Port
2024 Lexus RX450h+ 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dead Rear
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Taillights
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Badge
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dead Front2024 Lexus RX450h+ Grill2024 Lexus RX450h+ Profile2024 Lexus RX450h+ Wheels2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Quarter Panel & Charge Port2024 Lexus RX450h+ 3/4 Rear2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dead Rear2024 Lexus RX450h+ Taillights2024 Lexus RX450h+ Badge

The RX450h+ takes the next step by using the same 18.1-kWh battery pack found in Lexus’ first PHEV, the compact NX450h+ that debuted in 2022, boosting total output to 304 horsepower, with up to 37-miles of EV driving. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 83.0 for the Combined MPGe and 35.0 mpg for strictly gasoline operation. Total range tops 500 miles.

Packing extra power boosts acceleration too. At our Mason Dixon test track, the 450h+ stayed smooth and steady off the line, but there was a noticeable amount of additional electric thrust, getting us to 60 in 6.0 seconds flat, just three-tenths slower than the much more powerful 500h F Sport Performance RX hybrid we tested last year.

Same economy-minded CVT as in most Toyota hybrids, but with simulated shifts built in to at least give the feel of a traditional automatic, and even paddle shifters. Engine noise was relatively subdued throughout the 14.5-second quarter-mile which we finished at 97 mph.

The interior environment does truly live up to the high expectations that Lexus has set for themselves.

Even with the very soft ride quality leading to some noticeable body roll, the 450h+ performed very well in our handling course; quite neutral with no noticeable understeer or oversteer, while the steering itself was both quick and light. Stops felt very aggressive in our panic braking runs and averaged a good 119 feet from 60; while staying mostly isolated from all that harshness inside the cabin.

And the interior environment does truly live up to the high expectations that Lexus has set for themselves. The plug-in is available only in Luxury trim. That means a big 14-inch touchscreen display mounted high in front of the dash, panoramic glass roof, leather seating, ambient lighting, and a head-up display, are all standard. Seats are very comfortable up front, and in back too. Just two rows of seating in all RXs now, as Lexus has passed on three- row duties to the new TX.

2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dashboard
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Gauge Cluster
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Infotainment Screen
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Shifter
2024 Lexus RX450h+ EV Mode Button
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Moonroof
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Seat Detail
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Seat
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Climate
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Door Interior
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Trunk
2024 Lexus RX450h+ Dashboard2024 Lexus RX450h+ Gauge Cluster2024 Lexus RX450h+ Infotainment Screen2024 Lexus RX450h+ Shifter2024 Lexus RX450h+ EV Mode Button2024 Lexus RX450h+ Moonroof2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Seat Detail2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Seat2024 Lexus RX450h+ Rear Climate2024 Lexus RX450h+ Door Interior2024 Lexus RX450h+ Trunk

There are unique displays in the digital gauge cluster for monitoring battery level, and seeing where power is coming from based on which drive mode is enabled. Helpful, since transitions between the battery and gas engine are not easily detected.

And while it may be all luxury inside, it looks quite sporty outside, wearing the same aggressive set of sheet-metal that arrived last year with the launch of the fifth-gen RX. Lexus’ “face full of grille” is in effect and 21-inch wheels are standard. No flashy graphics or logos, just a subtle plus symbol added to the powertrain signifier on the rear hatch, and of course a charge port integrated into the passenger side rear fender covered by a traditional fuel door. The battery can be replenished as quickly as 2.5 hours with a home style, Level 2, 240-volt charger.

While we feel everything about the RX450h+ is great, base pricing has it playing a premium role in the RX fleet, starting at $70,580. That’s about $10,000 more than the smaller NX450h+. It seems odd it has taken this long to get a plug-in hybrid version of the RX, and making it such a premium choice is probably not the best strategy to get a lot of them out there. But at least now the RX faithful can finally have their favorite-ute and plug it in too. As well-documented fans of the PHEV approach, we’re fully onboard with the 2024 Lexus RX450h+’s new plug-in status. We just wish more people could enjoy the RX… luxury of it.


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter I4
  • Transmission: eCVT
  • Battery Size: 18.1-kWh
  • Horsepower: 304
  • EPA: 83 (MPGe) | 35 MPG Combined
  • EV Range: 37 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5 seconds at 97 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 119 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 31.8 MPG