• 2017 Lexus RX 450h F Sport: Steadfast Hybrid SUV Gets Sporty Treatment [Review]


     

    2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport front 3/4 view
    [Photo: Arv Voss]
    The first Lexus RX model appeared in 1998, revolutionizing the luxury SUV segment. The company revolutionized it again with the first RX hybrid model in 2004. The standard 2017 Lexus 450h represents the latest example of Lexus’ efforts to revolutionize luxury SUVs and continue the legacy as a car that smoothly marries gas and electric propulsion.

    Lexus introduced the fourth-generation RX 350 and RX 450h Hybrid models for the 2016 model year. The RX’s second generation kicked off with several worthwhile advancements, including those that make up the Lexus Safety System+. Now standard equipment, the safety suite includes a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. In addition, Lexus also made Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection and automatic braking standard for 2017 RX 450h along with adding Scout GPS Link to the Display Audio in the RX 350 and RX 450h models.

    WHAT’S NEW

    Lexus continues expanding its F Sport lineup with the addition of the RX 350 F Sport front-wheel drive for 2017. The all-wheel drive RX 350 F Sport carries over, as does the RX 450 models. Now, all RX models, including the RX 450h Hybrid, are available with the F Sport handling and design package.

    Exterior features for model year 2017 include 20-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels, 235/55R20 tires, blue highlights added to front and rear “L” logo; front fog lamps integrated into bumper. A “HYBRID” badge is incorporated on side molding of rear doors; LED brake lights and LED daytime running lights; rear privacy glass; side mirrors with integrated LED turn signal lamps (three times flash feature adopted, can be turned off); standard integrated rear spoiler that hides wiper mechanism; and water-repellant front door glass.

    Body structure and paint features include: acoustic glass windshield to reduce noise; anti-chipping paint applied to rocker panels and wheel housing arch sections; 9 exterior colors; high level rust protection with zinc-plated steel on hood, doors and front fenders; a rigid body with monocoque construction; improved reduction of noise, vibration and harshness levels; a rear bumper protector; soft chip primer applied to hood for improved anti-chipping; added sound insulation placed in door panels, instrument panel and floor mats; and UV-reducing glass used for all windows.

    2017 Lexus RX 450h F Sport interior
    [Photo: Arv Voss]

    COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

    Convenience features include: auto on/off headlamps; foldable heated outside mirrors; a power rear hatch; a rear intermittent wiper; SmartAccess key system; and variable intermittent windshield wipers and more.

    The latest in available advanced safety systems abound in the 2017 Lexus RX 450h featuring a full suite of safety and security systems such as: an optional Pre-Collision System, Adaptive front lighting system and Intuitive Park Assist, Active headrests and more.

    Exterior styling displays the Lexus brand’s L-finesse design language displays a long, sloping hood, sharply angled windshield leading to a gracefully curved roofline that drops off slanted to the rear and a bold, pronounced shoulder that runs from headlamp to tail lamp. There is also an inset rocker character cove and accented wheel well arches. All these styling elements blend to serve up an athletic stance exhibiting smooth lines in a simple but elegant form. Moving to the inside, premium polished wood trim accents appear on the steering wheel, center console and all four doors in variety of wood examples.

    My test 2017 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport 5-Door SUV came with a base price of $56,495 and an exterior finished in Atomic Silver metallic, complemented by a Black leather interior with contrasting White stitching and nickel-tined trim accents. The final sticker came to $61,604 after adding the Panoramic View Monitor, Triple-beam LED headlamps, 12.3” Navigation System and Mark Levinson 15 speaker Premium Audio Package, Cargo Net and Carpeted Cargo Mat, Courtesy Delivery Sticker and Delivery, processing and handling fee. The standard equipment and feature inventory is both impressive and lengthy– too long to list here.

    2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport engine
    [Photo: Arv Voss]

    PERFORMANCE

    Lexus’ Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the power of the 3.5-liter V6 engine with a front-mounted 123-kW electric motor generator. Both motors working together churn out 308 horsepower through a planetary-type CVT unit. The all-wheel drive model another dedicated 50-kW electric motor powering the rear wheels. That motor combined with the front units and V6 engine yields even quicker performance.

    The Lexus RX 450h driver may choose from four selectable driving modes, including EV, which allows the vehicle to operate on electric-only power at lower speeds under certain conditions. A Normal mode provides an ideal blend of performance and efficiency for everyday driving, and Eco mode focuses on fuel economy. The Sport mode, which was added in the 2013 redesign, provides increased powertrain responsiveness for a more pleasing driving experience.

    The Lexus RX 450h features MacPherson strut suspension with coil springs up front and a Double wishbone type with coil springs in the rear. The Lexus RX 450h rolls on Michelin Premiere LTX P235/55 VR19 102V tires mounted on 5-“stylized W”-spoke, Graphite metallic painted alloy wheels.

    The 2017 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport is definitely an impressive luxury SUV with hybrid technology added as a major plus. The fuel economy, with its full hybrid status is EPA rated at 31-mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway.

    Acceleration is instantaneous and the damping should prove pleasing to both the performance oriented driver, and the driver seeking a more luxurious ride. The ECVT transmission is seamless when set in the normal mode, and exceptionally smooth in its pseudo-manual mode.

    TFLCAR’S TAKE

    It will undoubtedly take an extended familiarization period to master all that the Lexus RX 450h SUV has to offer in terms of its technology. Not everything is completely intuitive and will require some time to master.

    All Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000 basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months with unlimited miles. Hybrid related components including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter receive coverage for eight years/100,000 miles. Coverage is also in place for the powertrain, restraint system and for corrosion protection.

    In the final analysis, the RX 450h F-Sport is one mighty fine SUV and the F-Sport version is even finer and more sporty.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Lexus RX 450h F Sport AWD

    Base MSRP: $56,495
    Price as Tested: $61,604
    Engine:  3,5-liter DOHC V6 w/ VVT-i and Lexus Hybrid Drive (dual front electric motors)
    Electric Motor Power: Dual front permanent magnet, water-cooled; max voltage 650V; 165 hp output; regenerative braking
    AWD: Rear permanent magnet generator w/ regenerative braking
    Battery Pack: Sealed Nickel Hydride (Ni-MH) w/ 240 cells; nominal voltage 288V
    Horsepower: 308 hp @ 6,000 RPM (Combined gas & electric)
    Torque: 247 lbs.-ft. @ 4,800 RPM (Combined gas & electric)
    0-60 Acceleration: 7.8 seconds
    Top Speed: 112 mph (limited)
    Transmission: Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
    Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs
    Rear: Double wishbone w/ coil springs
    Brakes: Electronically-controlled four-wheel discs w/ ABS, EBFD, BA and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System
    Tires: Michelin Premier LTX P235/55 R20 102V
    Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons
    Fuel economy (EPA): 31 City/28 Highway MPG
    Drag Coefficient: 0.34

    Dimensions:

    Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
    Length:  192.5 inches
    Width: 74.6 inches
    Height:  67.7 inches (without roof rack)
    Turning Circle: 38.0 feet
    Curb Weight: 4,740 pounds

    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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