After a significant updating a couple of years ago and the addition of some newly standard safety features for 2021, the Lexus RX 450h of 2022 freshens its paint palette with three new selections, and makes fog lights a standalone option rather than confining them within an option package as previously.
The new paint colors are Cloudburst Gray (in the Pacific Northwest we could call it Camouflage) and silvery Iridium for all models, plus Grecian Water (a striking blue) for F Sport models.
Exterior styling of the RX 450h premium mid-size SUV has evolved from its boxy origins to the sculpted but sleek design it now enjoys. The car’s trademark comfortable ride, first-rate build quality, and hybrid powertrain fuel-efficiency have been carried over continuously.
For its hybrid power system, the RX 450h uses the same V6 engine as the non-hybrid RX versions, but recruits two electric motors for assistance in producing 308 horsepower and a fuel economy rating of 30 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. Premium fuel is recommended.
A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive are standard.
The RX 450h has roomy seating for five. A passenger in the middle seat of the second row gets shortchanged laterally, but that’s the typical situation in mid-size SUVs if not every car ever built.
The cargo area can accommodate up to 16 cubic feet of stuff if the second-row seats are in upright position, and 32.6 cubic feet when those seats are folded.
My test car included the F Sport appearance package designed to give the RX 450h a more dynamic look, including sportier seats, steering wheel, pedals and exterior trim. “F Sport” badging is used liberally inside and out.
A perfectly good multimedia system is standard on the RX 450h: 8-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM, nine-speaker Lexus audio, and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. It was upstaged on my tester by the optional Navigation multimedia package with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, DVD and CD player, voice command, and the Lexus Enform app suite. It’s a grand package grandly priced at $3,365.
The multimedia system’s primary controller is a touchpad in the center console. It looks good, lending the console a modern and uncluttered appearance. But it doesn’t understand the meaning and importance of user-friendliness, especially while driving. The touchscreen and physical controls took all the attention away from that touchpad during my week with the RX 450h.
Safety features are plentiful on the RX 450h as standard equipment. Just a sampling would include pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
2022 LEXUS RX 450h F SPORT
Base price, including destination charge: $54,895
Price as driven: $62,450
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.