2024 Lexus RX 350h Luxury 2WD Review

The Lexus RX, the pioneer of the what is now known as the SUV is into its fifth generation model since its inception in 1998. Offering the comfort of a saloon car and the versatility of a four-wheel drive, it immediately gained wide acceptance, especially in North America. For a very long time, the RX was the sales leader in the Lexus line-up, before its younger sibling the NX took over the crown.

The new RX range is the most comprehensive it has been, with six variants on offer which can be up spec’ed with two Enhancement Pack options. The familiar three-tier Lexus trim grade of Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury continue to differentiate the variants, but there’s now a fourth trim in the form of the RX 500h F Sport Performance – the range’s new top dog.

You can read about the RX 500h F Sport Performance review here, but let’s now shift the focus on the other end of the range, the base RX 350h Luxury 2WD model. Lexus expects this model to be one of the more popular ones and it’s not hard to see why.

Sharply priced at $87,500 plus on-road costs, the base RX is hardly an entry-level proposition in terms of equipment. It’s fitted with bi-LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and rear privacy glass. On the inside, the base RX even retains the upper spec models’ expansive 14-inch touchscreen display with built-in satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Lexus has not skimmed on the sound system either, with a 12-speaker Panasonic surround sound capable of playing your favourite tunes with clarity and depth.

Also matching the more expensive models is a total of five USB-C ports throughout the cabin, along with two 12V sockets and one USB-A charging port. The only feature not included in the base RX is a wireless phone charging pad which is good to have but not essential.

The interior of the new RX a pretty nice place to spend time in. Yes, you don’t get a lot of glamour in here and the cabin colour palette (at least in our test car) is quite dark, but the vibe is suitably business-like and the material quality is excellent. Upholstered in synthetic leather, the seats are sumptuously comfortable, though design wise they’re quite generic and don’t look as good as the F Sport seats. For added comfort they come with seat warmers but not ventilation.

Back passengers enjoy generous space with heaps of leg and head room. There’s a small hump in the centre of the floor but it doesn’t really impede on leg space. Rear occupants also get their own climate control.

The aforementioned centre touchscreen display runs Lexus’ latest infotainment system and is such a massive improvement over the old system. The screen serves up much higher resolution graphics and the interface is a big step up in terms of responsiveness and intuitiveness. Even the voice command feature now finally understands English and does work. The integration of physical temperature control knobs onto the touchscreen is a clever way to reduce clutter without sacrificing usability, and kudos for having a third physical knob for volume adjustment.

For the driver, the steering wheel falls nicely to hands. Because the base RX doesn’t come with a head-up display, the steering doesn’t have fancy touch-sensitive controls where selection is reflected in the HUD. Instead it uses conventional buttons which work just fine. A pair of paddle shifters are mounted behind the wheel should you wish to roll through the virtual ‘ratios’ of the continuously variable transmission (CVT). More on that later.

The boot of the RX measures 612 litres which is pretty good for a medium SUV. The rear seats can be folded to expand this space to 1678 litres. Being 40:20:40 split folding means you can carry long and lean items by dropping the middle seat while still having the two outboard seats usable.

If you don’t need the full fat RX experience which is what’s offered by the RX 500h F Sport Performance, the hybrid powertrain found in the base RX 350h is the best setup in the line-up and is more than enough for what most people need. For a non-sports family SUV that is all about luxury and comfort, the smooth, efficient and unstressed persona of the normally aspirated 2.5L petrol engine and electric motor combo is much more suited to the RX than the 2.4L turbo petrol unit powering the RX 350. The hybrid powertrain produces a combined output of 184kW and 270Nm, nothing to shout about but still pretty decent for a medium family SUV.

The latest Lexus Hybrid Drive is a result of over two decades of fine tuning. It’s one of the best, if not the best in the segment. Rolling off, electric power provides all the propulsion. As you accelerate the engine kicks in to provide more power as required. Under braking or coasting, the battery is recharged and the energy is redeployed to the electric motor the next time you accelerate.

The transition from electric to combustion power is virtually imperceptible, delivering a very EV-like driving feel. It may lack engagement but the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is such a great match for this type of hybrid system. For the most part it’s quiet, operating discretely in the background without bringing attention to itself, yet it’s suitably responsive when you put your foot down. It’s only vocal when you’re flat on the pedal.

Being front-wheel drive, the RX on test here doesn’t have an electric motor at the rear like the all-wheel drive version. It’s still swift getting off the line though, with 100km/h arriving in 8.1 seconds. Traction is no issue as well, on the tarmac at least.

For its size and near 2-tonne weight the RX can be commended for its neat and tidy composure around corners. The adequately weighted steering is precise and responsive which makes the RX very easy to manoeuvre, be it in the city or country. Tuning of the fixed dampers (non-adaptive) are well judged, with them delivering a good balance between ride and handling. The base RX has thick tyres which help iron out road imperfections better than other sportier SUVs with larger wheels and thinner rubber. It’s only on larger, edgier bumps that the RX starts to feel jittery.

Being a self-charging hybrid EV, there’s no range anxiety with the RX 350h, unlike a full EV. If you’re sensible with your right foot, it’s capable of around 1000km in range with a full tank. Against a rated average of 5.0L/100km, the RX achieved a real world tested figure of 5.3L/100km after over 1200km of driving. That’s pretty close to the official figure and remarkable for a medium SUV.

The RX 350h is covered by Lexus’ five-year/unlimited km warranty. Service interval is 15000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first. The company offers a free Lexus loan vehicle when your Lexus is being serviced or can even come to your home or workplace to pick up and then return your Lexus for servicing.


Design & Comfort


Performance & Handling






Equipment & Features




Our Score: 4.1/5

+ Plus

  • Well equipped
  • Excellent hybrid drivetrain
  • Comfortable and plush
  • Fuel-saving


  • Not that exciting to drive
  • Understated interior


The Lexus RX 350h may be the range-opening model but it doesn’t look, feel or drive like one. The equipment level is high with all the essential features included and the driving experience is one that is luxurious and poised. Just don’t expect it to be particularly exciting.

2024 Lexus RX 350h Luxury 2WD pricing and specification

Price (Excl. on-road costs):From: $87,500

As tested:


Warranty:5 years/unlimited kilometers
Warranty Customer Service:3 years roadside assist
Country of Origin:Japan
Service Intervals:12 months/15,000km
Engine:2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine, electric motor:

184kW, 270Nm

Drivetrain:Front-wheel drive
0-100km/h (seconds):Claimed: 8.1
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):Claimed: 5.0

Tested: 5.3

RON Rating:95
Body:SUV, 5 seats
  • 8 airbags
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane-Keep Assist System
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Safe Exit Assist
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Traffic Sign Recognition and Display
  • Rear view camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:4,890/1,920/1,695/2,850
Ground Clearance:189
Kerb Weight (kg):1,995
Boot Space (L):520
Towing Capacity (kg):Braked: 1,500/Unbraked: 750
  • 14-inch colour touchscreen
  • 12-speaker Panasonic audio
  • Satellite navigation
  • AM/FM/DAB+
  • Bluetooth
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • USB
  • AUX
  • iPod

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