Lexus RX (2019-2022)

Models Covered:

SUV – 3.5 petrol/electric Hybrid


The improved post-2019-era version of this fourth generation Lexus RX got smarter, cleverer and slightly sharper to drive. It’s the large luxury SUV that pioneered full-Hybrid power and in this form, the RX continued to use that technology in its most affordable ‘self-charging’ form as part of a supremely relaxed ownership experience. For target buyers, there’s nothing quite like it.

The History

If ever a category of car cried out for a more efficient means of forward motion, it’s the large luxury SUV. In recent times, premium brands in this segment have been falling over themselves to introduce electrified options to meet this need – but Lexus has been doing so with this RX since 2005. Here, we’re going to look at the much improved version of the fourth generation design, an update that the brand introduced at the end of 2019.

In this form, the RX remained a so-called ‘self-charging’ full-Hybrid – still the only one in the class; in other words, unlike some rival PHEV and full-Electric models in this segment from this era, you can’t plug it in and get any kind of significant electric-only driving range. Back in 2019, the self-charging solution certainly made this model easily the most affordable electrified option in its segment.

Which was a key reason why the RX was – and still is - so significant to Lexus, back in 2019 making up a fifth of the brand’s global sales, with over three million RX models by then sold to date. The first generation ‘XU10’-series model was one of the first premium-badged luxury SUVs in the segment, launched in 1998, and Hybrid power came to the RX with its successor, the MK2 ‘XU30’-series design, introduced in 2003 and updated with a third generation ‘AL 10’-series model in 2008. This fourth generation ‘AL 20’-series version was first launched in 2015 and its range expanded with a 7-seat RX L variant in 2018. This MK4 model update and the industry’s stampede towards electrification, Lexus thought at the time of this facelift that this model’s moment on our continent might have come.

Hence the wide ranging package of updates for this improved MK4 RX, the model we’re going to look at here from a used car perspective. Suspension and steering updates claimed to have improved the handling. There was a clever new BladeScan Adaptive High-Beam headlight system. Plus some extra camera safety kit, important interior infotainment updates and a mild styling refresh. This car sold until the all-new MK5 RX was launched in mid-2022.

What You Get

The changes made to this fourth generation ‘AL 20’-series RX were subtle but really quite effective, intended to add elegance without diminishing this design’s powerful SUV image. The most notable change made to this updated post-2019-era model was the way that the appearance of the front ‘spindle’ grille was brought into line with the more recent UX crossover and LC sports car models. There were subtle changes at the rear too – most obviously the re-styled combination tail lamps.

Behind the wheel, the distinctively styled interior delivers a driver-centric feel that’s refreshingly different from the expensively-crafted SUV simplicity served up by rival German brands. The cabin’s exquisitely-trimmed too, but somehow in a more characterful way, with a lovely central analogue clock and leather that’s hand-stitched on each RX by a team of 17 ‘Lexus Takumi’ craftspeople to achieve its flawless finish. The ‘Remote Touch’ trackpad serves the central 12.3-inch ‘Lexus Premium Navigation’ multimedia screen that in this form, all RX models got, a display that included ‘Apple CarPlay’/’Android Auto’ smartphone-mirroring.

And the rear seat? Well you might be quite surprised just how much headroom there is, given that the bench sits directly on top of the three battery packs that power the Hybrid drive system. Out back, there’s a 453-litre boot.

What To Look For

Lexus has an unparalleled track record for reliability, and the RX generates a particularly low percentage of warranty claims. We struggled to find any buyers who had a bad word to say about it in our ownership survey. Still, it's worth doing a very thorough check and getting any faulty electrical items fixed under warranty. It's highly unlikely that there will be any (just as well as some of the systems are incredibly complex) but check sunroof and window motors and make sure the leather and paint is in tip top shape. The hybrid drive system is incredibly tough and we've never heard of a failure. The wheels can be prone to kerbing, so factor in any refurb costs if they've been dented or scuffed. Insist on a full service history.

On The Road

We were promised a slightly more engaging driving experience from the revised version of this fourth generation RX thanks to a stiffer body, suspension changes and sophisticated active stabiliser technology. Under the bonnet of this self-charging petrol hybrid model, a 3.5-litre petrol V6 is assisted by two electric motors, one on each axle, the rear one creating 4WD traction when necessary but otherwise acting as a generator to charge the battery when the car is in regenerative brake mode. Drive is through a belt-driven CVT auto gearbox and total system output is rated at 308bhp. For this revised MK4 model, Lexus added quite a bit of extra technology – like clever new ‘BladeScan’ Adaptive High-beam ‘headlamps and ‘Active Cornering Assist’ torque vectoring for greater traction through the turns.

There were quite a few suspension changes too – principally revised shock absorbers and the more sophisticated Adaptive Variable Suspension system from the LC sports car. Plus, on the ‘F Sport’ variant, there was anti-roll stabilisation technology in the form of what Lexus calls ‘Roll Skyhook Control’. None of these enhancements though, were sufficient to make the drive feel really dynamic.


Buyers in search of a large luxury SUV typically prioritise luxury, style and tax-friendly efficiency above almost everything else, these elements being things that this Lexus nails very effectively. According to the brand, it’s all about ‘sharpened sophistication’ and ‘seductive strength’; we’d prefer simply to call this a more sensible way to own what remains a very indulgent kind of car.