Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

If you're looking for a seven-seat premium-badged SUV with a full or plug-in hybrid engine, you currently have two options: the Lexus RX L and the Volvo XC90 Recharge (all other hybrid luxury SUVs lose their third row). However, choosing between the two is not a simple affair.

You see, on paper the RX L is significantly cheaper than the XC90 Recharge. However, while the XC90 is a plug-in hybrid that can travel on pure electric power for an extended range, the RX L is a pure hybrid with a very limited all-electric mode.

The RX L does win points back for being very well equipped. All models come with big 20in alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and start, three-zone climate control and all the infotainment, visibility and interior goodies we’ve already mentioned.

We’d recommend opting for at least the Premium Pack so you get real leather seats that are heated and ventilated up front, a heated steering wheel and a gesture-controlled tailgate for when your hands are full. You might want to consider the Tech and Safety Pack (it's only available alongside the Premium Pack) and a sunroof. Takumi models get every box ticked but are expensive.

The standard Lexus RX topped the luxury SUV category in the What Car? Reliability Survey, and Lexus itself finished in first place out of 31 manufacturers. Safety standards are high, too. Lexus’s Safety System+ is fitted as standard, bringing automatic emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and automatic headlight high beam.

If you add the Tech and Safety Pack to the entry-level RX L, you’ll get blind-spot monitoring plus a rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking. With all those safety aids, it's perhaps no surprise that Euro NCAP awarded the regular RX a five-star rating. If safety is a key consideration, the Volvo XC90 is much better at protecting occupants from injury in the event of a crash, though.

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Lexus RX L 2021 interior infotainment


The Lexus RX L is comfortable, well equipped and offers the option of seven seats. Problem is, the same can be said about a good number of rivals. It’s biggest drawback is that despite several updates and refreshes it’s hard to hide RX L’s age. With its non plug-in hybrid engine, it just feels a tad behind the times.

  • Good build quality
  • Impressive reliability
  • Well equipped
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Engine coarse when revved