Lexus RX L review

Category: Luxury SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:hybrid
Available colours:
Lexus RX L 2021 rear right static
Add to shortlist
  • Lexus RX L 2021 front right tracking
  • Lexus RX L 2021 rear right static
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior dashboard
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior rear seats
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior infotainment
  • Lexus RX L 2021 right tracking
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior driving mode control
  • Lexus RX L 2021 boot open
  • Lexus RX L 2021 front right tracking
  • Lexus RX L 2021 rear right static
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior dashboard
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior rear seats
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior infotainment
  • Lexus RX L 2021 right tracking
  • Lexus RX L 2021 interior driving mode control
  • Lexus RX L 2021 boot open
RRP £52,515What Car? Target Price from£48,447
Share review

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Lexus RX L is a conventional self-charging hybrid, rather than a plug-in hybrid like the BMW X5 45e and Volvo XC90 Recharge, or a mild hybrid like the Audi Q7.

That means it gets a small battery that can support electric-only running in small bursts when manoeuvring in a car park, queuing in stop-start traffic, or when you come off the accelerator pedal while on the move. In other words, while the RX L will run purely on electricity unlike mild hybrids, it won’t do it for mile after mile like a plug-in.

The petrol side of things is covered by a non-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6. Unfortunately, while the 308bhp total power output from the engine and electric motors combined seems healthy on paper, a 0-62mph time of 8.0sec is significantly slower than the rivals we’ve mentioned.

The RX L is near silent in electric mode and quiet at a constant cruise, but its CVT gearbox contributes to a fair bit of noise when, for example, you’re joining a motorway. Unlike a conventional ’box, it makes the engine maintain high revs as you accelerate up to speed. The accompanying drone is hardly unbearable, but it makes the RX L a lot less refined than other luxury SUVs with smoother engines and conventional gearboxes, including the X5. 

Those engine issues are a shame, because otherwise the RX L is a really relaxing car to drive long distances. Road and wind noise are fairly well contained, and its suspension is very much geared towards comfort.

The Takumi trim amps up this cushyness with adaptive suspension as standard, and when it's set to Comfort mode it seems to glide over big bumps. Expansion joints and small road imperfections are also rounded off nicely, making it a fine long-distance cruiser. It certainly beats the firmer X5 and fidgety XC90 for comfort, although the Q7, with its standard air suspension, is better still.

When it comes to handling, the RX L feels very similar to the standard Lexus RX. That is to say, it’s not much fun. In range-topping Takumi trim (the only version we’ve tested so far), the car feels reasonably composed and stable through corners, but there's quite a bit of body lean when you press on, and not a whole lot of grip. The steering doesn’t offer much of a connection to the road, so if you’re looking for a luxury SUV that’s quick and agile, there are better options, such as the X5.

Lexus RX L 2021 rear right static

Also consider

Volkswagen Touareg

2018 - present

The VW Touareg has loads of space but is limited to five...

Lexus RX

2019 - present

The Lexus RX is well-equipped and relatively frugal, but is ot...

Land Rover Discovery

2020 - present

Hugely capable and very desirable, and equally at home both on...

Toyota Highlander

2021 - present

Large and well-equipped for the money, but rivals feel posher...