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Thursday, October 5, 2023

2023 Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency Examined: Speedy, Not Sporty

For practically 1 / 4 century, the Lexus RX has loved enviable success prioritizing passenger consolation over behind-the-wheel engagement. Lexus, although, desires to broaden the fifth-generation mannequin’s talent set in a dynamic course with the 2023 RX500h F Sport Efficiency.

The RX is the second automobile within the model’s lineup to bear this just lately launched sub-F moniker, the primary of which was the IS500 F Sport Efficiency. Like that sedan, the RX500h distinguishes itself from its lesser kin with a powertrain particular to the F Sport Efficiency.

The RX500h Accelerates Forward

Whereas the rear-wheel-drive IS500 includes a burly 472-hp 5.0-liter V-8, the all-wheel-drive RX500h employs a hybrid powertrain that mixes a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electrical motors to provide 366 horsepower—91 greater than the RX350 will get from this identical engine appearing alone. A nickel-metal-hydride battery pack lives underneath the rear seat and sends electrical energy to the 2 motors, one among which Lexus sandwiches between the RX500h’s engine and six-speed computerized transmission whereas the opposite immediately powers the rear axle.

The electrical drive motors’ immediate thrust masks any lag from the turbocharger, whereas the fuel engine’s plentiful low-end torque, all of which is out there from 2000 rpm, means the powertrain by no means feels overburdened pushing this 4793-pound SUV about. At its peak, the gas-electric powertrain produces a complete of 406 pound-feet of torque, sufficient grunt to speed up the RX500h to 30 mph in 2.0 seconds and on to the mile-a-minute mark in 5.5 seconds, figures that just about precisely match these of the 355-hp Acura MDX Sort S.

Highs: Snug experience, quiet cabin, torque-rich powertrain.

The Lexus is not any much less keen on the transfer, motoring from 30 to 50 mph in 2.7 seconds and from 50 to 70 mph in 3.7 seconds, its prescient gearbox seemingly hardwired to the accelerator pedal’s place. To place this in perspective, the Lexus SUV’s instances are practically an identical to these of a 1328-pound lighter, 315-hp Volkswagen Golf R with a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission.

Higher but, the RX500h maintains the miserliness anticipated of a hybrid. The gas-electric Lexus matched its 28-mpg EPA freeway estimate on our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy check. That is 5 mpg higher than the aforementioned MDX Sort S. The RX500h additionally has an EPA metropolis estimate of 27 mpg, which is 5 mpg higher than the nonhybrid RX350.

Cannot Cease the RX500h

Lay off the fitting pedal, although, and the RX500h’s driving dynamics appear much less spectacular. Even with its new GA-Ok underpinnings—which it shares with the likes of the Toyota Camry and Highlander and Lexus NX, amongst others—the RX500h is neither significantly succesful nor thrilling in any efficiency setting that doesn’t contain booting the accelerator on a straight piece of tarmac.

Goad the RX500h too laborious by twisting turns, and the SUV’s heft overwhelms its out there 21-inch Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S rubber. As its 0.80-g skidpad run displays, the RX500h merely lacks the grip essential to play the a part of a efficiency SUV. Issue within the RX500h’s muted steering suggestions, and it is simple to unwittingly push this Lexus previous its slender limits.

We propose sticking with the usual Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV summer season tires, because the stickier compound must noticeably enhance the RX500h’s middling lateral grip and braking efficiency. As is, the RX500h’s 195-foot cease from 70 mph—three ft longer than our 6072-pound long-term Toyota Tundra—borders on unacceptable.

RX for Consolation

Against this, the RX500h hits its stride in on a regular basis driving. Hold its adaptive dampers of their Regular setting, and the RX500h gives a cosseting experience that is nonetheless agency sufficient to maintain extreme physique movement at bay. Switching to the dampers’ Sport mode does little greater than butcher the experience high quality.

The low-effort however direct rack-and-pinion setup contains an RX500h-exclusive four-wheel-steering system that may flip the rear wheels as much as 4 levels, trimming 1.7 ft from the turning radius. Consequently, this 192.5-inch Lexus has a turning radius higher than the two-foot-shorter Fiat 500X.

Lows: Boring dealing with, subpar stopping efficiency, uncomfortable entrance seats for the wider-waisted.

The newest RX gives loads of stretch-out area for 2 passengers in its soft 40/20/40-split rear bench. There’s sufficient shoulder room for 3 passengers to take a seat in affordable consolation on brief jaunts too. Lexus makes the area much more welcoming with out there heated and ventilated outboard rear seats, optionally available energy reclining rear seatbacks, and an out there panoramic moonroof. The RX500h is not any Rolls-Royce Cullinan or Mercedes-Maybach GLS-class, however like these ultra-luxury machines, its rear seating space is a minimum of as interesting as the motive force’s and entrance passenger’s area.

That is definitely true for these with wider waistlines, given the entrance seats’ confining bolsters. The slender and closely bolstered entrance buckets appear to belong in a automobile with a lot larger sporting intent. Nonetheless, these with thin-enough waists will discover the entrance seats present nice long-haul consolation and assist.

The RX inside is properly completed, however we weren’t enamored of the multimode steering-wheel buttons or the infotainment system’s quirks. The latter embrace the dearth of a correct house display screen and a menu construction that makes sometimes easy duties (comparable to switching between the drive modes) needlessly sophisticated.

Surprisingly, Lexus matches its flagship RX trim with the mannequin’s smaller 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Nabbing the bigger 14.0-inch show, which is included on the cheaper, sub-$60,000 RX350 and RX350h Premium+ and Luxurious trims, provides a minimum of $1105 to the RX500h’s $64,145 beginning worth.

By appending the F Sport Efficiency designation to the RX500h, Lexus appears to be attempting to persuade customers that this variant of its bestselling mid-size SUV gives one thing totally different from the sleepy driving dynamics which have lengthy characterised the RX. Actually although, the RX500h continues within the custom of its forebears with its comfy experience, quiet cabin, and spacious lodging whereas including an additional dose of horsepower.

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2023 Lexus RX500h F Sport Efficiency

Car Sort: front-engine, front- and rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base/As Examined: $64,145/$75,065

Choices: Mark Levinson stereo, $2265; premium triple-beam LED headlights, $1565; 360-degree digicam system, $800; working boards, $725; heated and ventilated outboard rear seats, $680; cargo tray, mudguard, and door edge protecting movie, $640; Site visitors Jam Help, $620; Copper Crest paint, $595; 120-volt inverter, $550; energy rear seats, $550; panoramic moonroof, $500; illuminated cargo sills, $300; digital key, $275; Superior Park; $250; digital rearview mirror, $200; puddle lamps, $175; energy liftgate with kick sensor, $150; Chilly Space bundle, $100; rear bumper applique, $90; 21-inch wheel credit score, -$110


turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.4-liter inline-4, 271 hp, 339 lb-ft + 2 AC motors, (mixed output: 366 hp, 406 lb-ft; nickel-metal hydride battery pack)

Transmissions, F/R: 6-speed computerized/direct-drive


Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 15.7-in vented disc/13.4-in vented disc

Tires: Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S

235/50R-21 101V M+S


Wheelbase: 112.2 in

Size: 192.5 in

Width: 75.6 in

Peak: 67.3 in

Passenger Quantity, F/R: 52/45 ft3

Cargo Quantity, Behind F/R: 46/30 ft3

Curb Weight: 4793 lb


60 mph: 5.5 sec

1/4-Mile: 14.2 sec @ 97 mph

100 mph: 15.0 sec

120 mph: 23.8 sec

Outcomes above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.

Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec

Prime Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec

Prime Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.7 sec

Prime Pace (mfr’s declare): 130 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 195 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.80 g


Noticed: 23 mpg

75-mph Freeway Driving: 28 mpg

75-mph Freeway Vary: 480 mi


Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 27/27/28 mpg


Headshot of Greg S. Fink

Senior Editor

Regardless of their shared final identify, Greg Fink isn’t associated to Ed “Huge Daddy” Roth’s notorious Rat Fink. Each Finks, nonetheless, are recognized for his or her love of vehicles, automotive tradition, and—unusually—monogrammed one-piece bathing fits. Greg’s profession within the media business goes again greater than a decade. His earlier expertise contains stints as an editor at publications comparable to U.S. Information & World Report, The Huffington Put up, Motor1.com, and MotorTrend.

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