The 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance has a two-motor hybrid system with AWD. (Lexus)

The 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance has a two-motor hybrid system with AWD. (Lexus)

Luxury and sport nearly equal in new 2023 Lexus RX 500h SUV

A favorite among Lexus lovers, the premium midsize RX has been reinvented without losing itself.

The RX premium midsize SUV, the most-often selected model among Lexus buyers, is redesigned through and through for 2023. Exterior and interior styling changes inject new life into the RX’s looks. New powertrains increase performance and fuel efficiency, while a new platform sharpens the ride and handling. Safety and driving assistance systems are expanded, and the new Lexus Interface multimedia system replaces the previous trackpad-based remote touch setup.

The new RX 500h F Sport Performance model is equipped with a new Lexus all-wheel-drive hybrid system whose front unit has a 271-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An eAxle rear unit includes another electric motor. In tandem, the units produce a total of 366 horsepower and an estimated 406 pound-feet of torque.

Pricing for the 2023 Lexus RX starts at $48,550 (including a $1,115 destination charge) for the RX 350 with front-wheel drive. It inches its way up from there through six other RX 350 trim levels (including two hybrids) until it reaches the RX 500h F Sport Performance model at $62,750.

Fuel economy ratings for the RX 500h are 27 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. For comparison: The 246-horsepower RX 350h hybrid model with AWD is rated 37/34/36 mpg. Premium fuel is recommended for both models.

An optional Lexus Interface multimedia system with 14-inch touchscreen dominates the RX 500h interior. (Lexus)

An optional Lexus Interface multimedia system with 14-inch touchscreen dominates the RX 500h interior. (Lexus)

The Lexus hallmarks of sophistication and superior build quality are carried over in full for 2023. Though the 500h F Sport Performance variant can be viewed as the RX performance model (hello, it’s right there in the name), the interior’s elegant atmosphere nearly upstages the horsepower. The driver’s bolstered bucket seat was so comfortable throughout my test week, including after a full day of driving, I wanted to bring it into the house when I got home.

Clear displays with straightforward and actually helpful graphics place the RX 500h panoramic view monitor among the best. Seems like those qualities should be a given with every view monitoring system, but they aren’t. Some monitors seem to hinder more than help.

The new Lexus Interface multimedia system is a beacon of joy inside the RX 500h. It has a 14-inch touchscreen, Mark Levinson 21-speaker audio system and, as expected, a host of connectivity features. Finally gone is the demonic trackpad-based remote touch control system. Operation is now achieved via the touchscreen, steering wheel control buttons or voice commands. Not only does that reduce frustration to an acceptable minimum, but it also frees up room for more stowage spaces within the center console.

There’s a price to be paid for all this greatness: $800 for the panoramic view monitor, and $2,265 for the 14-inch multimedia system. Worth every penny.

Twenty-one inch wheels are a standard feature of the 2023 Lexus RX 500h. (Lexus)

Twenty-one inch wheels are a standard feature of the 2023 Lexus RX 500h. (Lexus)


Base price, including destination charge: $62,750

Price as driven: $70,620

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.

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