TodayApril 15, 2022

2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV

2020 Lexus RX – Luxury Crossover  New Car test drive, pricing, specs

The sweetest ride I’ve had in quite some time caught me by surprise. When I think of all the cars I will buy none of them are SUVs. All my friends have SUVs, but I enjoy a sedan. But, boy, did I love this SUV.

The Lexus spindle grille was handsome, paired with the Nori Green Pearl exterior car color. The grille can be polarizing to some, but on this vehicle, it has found its home.

Lexus spindle grille was handsome, paired with the Nori Green Pearl
Lexus spindle grille was handsome, paired with the Nori Green Pearl

Car companies still boast about the 0-60 (8.1 seconds), but the sweet spot for me is how the vehicle pulls up the hill going 35mpg. The D4-S fuel injection 3.5-liter V6 engine purred up the hill in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs two high-torque electric drive motor-generators with the hybrid engine for a total of 308 horsepower. The maximum towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds. Not enough to tow a horse trailer with a horse in it, but plenty of spunk to haul winter accessories up to Northstar to go skiing with the family.

Toyota has been at the forefront of hybrid technology for years and has successfully implemented it in a midsize SUV. Even after going up and down the hills where gold was found in California, sweeping around the corners, and parking with ease in the Costco parking lot, I got over 29 mpg. Fuel economy is important as the hybrids of old get the best mileage in town. This SUV can pick up the kids, head to the highway, and still get 29 miles per gallon.

A little more luxury

There are a few things in life that I treasure more than an engine that can keep me out of danger; one of them is heated seats, the other is a heated steering wheel. These are optional items, but so worth the extra money. It was thirty degrees and snowing when I called the valet and asked for my car. Not only was the car warm and free of snow, but the driver’s seat and steering wheel heat were on and toasty. Extra tip for that guy!

A little more safety

After more than 15 years of coercion and lawsuits by, all vehicles produced after 2018 are required to have rear backup cameras. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, an average of 226 individuals are killed and over 12,000 injured in backover crashes. I know I have narrowly escaped a backup collision or two, and I have this group to thank for it. The RX SUV was optioned up with the rear cross-traffic alert and sensors that beep.

The beeping is the key to safety. Think of your seatbelt. Would you always buckle your seatbelt as soon as you get in the car if there was not an incessant noise? The beeping, when there is something behind me, reminds me to look again.

Another safety feature that is worth the extra money to me is blind-spot monitoring. I know this RX SUV is supposed to have blind-spot monitoring, I can see it on my invoice. I could see the little car symbol on the outside mirrors, but no matter how close I got to a car, the little car didn’t turn orange, indicating that there was a real car in my blind spot. I have gotten so used to the blind-spot warning that it is a safety feature I have to have. I almost got into two collisions before I finally figured out that someone had turned off the blind spot warning.

2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV
2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV


Available driver-assist technology includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights.

The Lexus RX 450hL is comparable width to the Lexus RX 450h. The hL is slightly longer than the RX 450h, but the RX 450h has a tad more front head and legroom than the Lexus RX 450hL. It fit my 6’4″ husband nicely, and the ride from the passenger seat was smooth.

The Competitors include the Acura MDX, Audi Q5, Lincoln Nautilus, Jaguar F-Pace, and BMW X5. The 2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV is a formidable competitor to all luxury SUVs.


2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ Six-passenger midsize AWD SUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $50,460 (as tested: $63,645)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ V-6
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 3.5-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____308 Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric motors
259 hp @ 6,000 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)______247 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
TRANSMISSION_________________ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 196.9 in. (5,000 mm
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 4,905lb (2,225kg)
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 17.2 gal. (65.0 L)
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 29 mpg city, 28 mpg highway 29 combined

2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV
2020 Lexus RX450hL AWD SUV
Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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