IIHS Top Pick: 2021 Lexus RX

The 2021 Lexus RX is a midsize luxury SUV with a 3.5-liter V6 engine. There’s a hybrid option and some pretty great safety features. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Lexus RX a Top Safety Pick Award, so on top of everything else, the 2021 Lexus RX is safe. Let’s look at what makes this a great SUV. 

A 2021 Lexus RX against a white background.
2021 Lexus RX | Lexus

What is an IIHS Top Safety Pick award?

To be awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must score a good rating in all of the IIHS crashworthy ratings. These include the driver-side small overlap front, the passenger-side small overlap front, and the moderate overlap front. In addition to these front crash tests, the vehicle must get a good score in the side crash tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. 

Additionally, the vehicle must have an advanced or superior in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Headlights, often overlooked by car shoppers, must have a good or acceptable rating available. Oftentimes one trim level has good headlight ratings while another trim level does not, so it’s important to check the test results of the trim level you’re considering purchasing. 

There is also a Top Safety Pick+ award, which is given when a vehicle aces all of the tests. Although the Lexus RX didn’t get that, a Top Safety Pick award is still pretty great. 

How crashworthy is the 2021 Lexus RX?

One of the things that makes the 2021 Lexus RX safe is its crash test ratings. The 2021 RX got a good score for small overlap front: driver-side. Within this category are subcategories, including structure and safety cage, driver injury measures, and driver restraints and dummy kinematics. The Lexus RX got a good score in each of these categories. 

Similarly, the small overlap front: passenger-side category and subcategories were all good. So were the moderate overlap front subcategory results. 

Side crash test ratings were also all good. These subcategories contain similar elements to the front crash tests: overall, structure and safety cage, driver injury measures. There’s also driver head protection and rear passenger injury measures, as well as rear passenger head protection. 

How is the roof strength, head restraints and seats?

A Lexus RX is crash tested.
Lexus RX is crash-tested | Lexus

The roof strength in the 2021 Lexus RX got a good score. It has a curb weight of 4,410 pounds, a peak force of 21,136 pounds, and a strength-to-weight ratio of 4.79. The IIHS finds the strength-to-weight ratio by crushing the vehicle by five inches. The amount of force it takes to do that is the resulting score. You want a good score in the event of a rollover; the roof shouldn’t give in easily. 

Head restraints and seats in the 2021 Lexus RX all got good scores including overall, dynamic rating and seat/head restraint geometry. 

How is the crash prevention?

The IIHS tested the standard Lexus Safety System + 2.0 Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and gave it a superior rating. Not only did it meet the requirements for forward collision warning, but it also avoided a collision in the IIHS 12 mph and 25 mph tests. 

The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection got an advanced rating. In the 12 mph  crossing child test it avoided a collision, and in the 25 mph test, it reduced speed by 20 mph. In the 12 mph crossing adult test, it avoided a collision, and in the 25 mph test, it reduced speed by 22 mph. In the 25 mph parallel adult test, the Lexus RX avoided a collision, and in the 37 mph test, it reduced speed by 25 mph and a warning was issued 1.8 seconds before impact. 

The headlights ratings weren’t as good as the rest of the 2021 Lexus RX. Trim level headlight ratings range from poor to acceptable. You’ll definitely want to check out which headlights your Lexus RX is coming with.

Overall, the 2021 Lexus RX is a pretty safe car. As long as you pay attention to the headlights you’re getting, you should have a safe vehicle. Of course, careful driving is the best way to avoid an accident. 

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