The 2021 Lexus RX starts at $56,150 in Canada and $45,070 in the US
Comfort, available hybrid engine, build quality, and unwavering reliability are among its best qualities
Infotainment touchpad, uninspiring handling and performance, and limited interior space in the three-row RX L are among its shortcomings
The 2021 Lexus RX sticks to a proven recipe of success and continues to offer what most buyers want.
Who would have thought the Lexus RX would be the genesis of a fundamental shift in the automotive industry when it launched 23 years ago?
Today, SUVs are in and cars are on the way out. Especially in the luxury world. People want to drive high off the ground, need space, and generally like the confidence that comes with an SUV. If the Lexus RX was at the heart of this trend, it’s precisely because of the confidence it inspires.
There’s nothing sporty about the Lexus RX, but the comfort, solidity, quality and silence that surrounds driver and passenger is among the best in the segment. And when it comes down to it, that’s really what matters.
The 2021 Lexus RX comes in a couple of versions with the base model getting a 3.5-litre V6 that delivers 295 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The Lexus RX L gets the same engine, but with slightly less power (290 hp/263 pound-feet of torque).
The Lexus RX 450h offers a hybrid powertrain that pairs a 3.5-litre V6 with an electric motor for a total output of 308 horsepower and an average fuel economy rating of around 8.0 litres per 100 km, or 29 mph. For a luxury SUV, that’s impressive.
What the 2021 Lexus RX Does Well
- We’ve already eluded to the comfort and it really is the main quality offered in the Lexus RX. It’s quiet, stable, and smooth in every situation and on every road. Even if you take the F-Sport package, you still get one of the most refined SUVs in its class.
- Reliability has to be mentioned, especially given that the Lexus RX is one of the few models in its class with a stellar reliability rating. Lexus routinely tops the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, and the RX will never let you down.
- The Lexus RX 450h continues to offer impressive efficiency combined with better accelerations and overall performance compared to the RX 350. And you can’t beat its fuel economy in this segment.
- The Lexus RX’ resale value is strong, making it a good investment in a segment where depreciation can be eye-opening in some models.
- The craftsmanship inside is remarkable. Every trim or material is high-quality and the fit and finish is nearly perfect.
- In terms of value, the Lexus RX is quite a bit more affordable than many of its rivals, especially anything from Germany. You’ll get more for less.
What the 2021 Lexus RX Doesn’t Do So Well
- It’s a little bland on the road. Many won’t notice or care, but some who want to enjoy the drive and want a sportier luxury SUV with sharp handling will be left wanting.
- The 2021 Lexus RX-L has the same problem it has had since it launched. There may be three rows on paper, but that third row is basically useless and has a huge impact on cargo space.
- The Lexus RX is considered a mid-size luxury SUV, but it’s more of a compact in many regards, including interior space. It’s among the least versatile in the segment, but again it’s also more accessible.
- The Lexus RX 450h has great resale value, but it’s also expensive and more importantly, it’s hard to find in dealerships in many areas.
- The touchpad. Automakers are all about touchpads, but some do it better than others. Lexus isn’t one of them. Finding what you need or playing around with the multimedia system is a chore.
What We Tell Our Friends About the 2021 Lexus RX
Buy it for its comfort, reliability, and if you want efficiency paired with luxury; its 450h version. You also get more for less with the 2021 Lexus RX. Don’t buy it if you need a usable third row, interior space is a major concern, and/or you want a sporty and dynamic luxury SUV.