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The 2023 Lexus RX is the first model year of the nameplate’s fifth generation. It’s also the first not to offer a V6 variant. Instead, the base RX 350 has a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. And the RX Hybrid packs a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and a 1.6-kWh battery. The 2023 RX scored an exceptional 9.4/10 overall score from Motor1. However, the hybrid powertrain didn’t impress in one area. 

The 2023 Lexus RX Hybrid is ‘borderline slow’​​

2023 Lexus RX Hybrid, 2023 RX Hybrid
2023 Lexus RX Hybrid | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The only area where the 2023 RX Hybrid fell short was performance. Its powertrain produces 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque. That’s relatively weak, and the buzzy four-cylinder detracts from the high-end feel of this midsize luxury SUV

Compared with competitors’ power output, the RX Hybrid earns a low performance score of 4/10 from Motor1. That said, its massive efficiency advantage over rivals should excuse the lack of grunt for most buyers. 

Thankfully, the base RX 350 packs a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, putting it within reach of most competitors’ base engines. And if you want more power, the RX 500h F Sport Performance combines an 18.1-kWh battery and the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine for a much more impressive 367 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. 

The 2023 Lexus RX Hybrid might not be a one-car solution for the average automotive enthusiast, but it’s better all around than it was a year ago.

The 2023 RX Hybrid is incredibly comfortable

Despite the low performance score, the 2023 RX Hybrid earned a high overall score of 9.4/10. So in what categories did it excel? Regarding comfort and design, the RX Hybrid earned a 7/10 in both categories. Design is subjective, but Motor1 notes this crossover is “epically smooth on the highway.” 

Comfortable heated and ventilated seats, plush leather, and excellent lumbar support bolster the soft suspension. Given Lexus’ reputation, you’d expect a quiet interior and relaxing ride. However, Motor1 cites the transition from EV to gas power as the main reason for the slightly lower score. The shift is reportedly quite harsh and lacks the subtlety of some competitors. 

The other surprise is the lack of a massage function, a feature whose absence is especially noticeable in higher, more luxurious trims. 

The RX Hybrid is more fuel-efficient than the competition

When Lexus burst onto the scene in 1990 with the LS 400, it outclassed rivals in almost every category. The 2023 RX Hybrid isn’t quite as high-achieving, but it’s the only pure hybrid in its segment. As a result, it blows away the competition in fuel economy, Motor1 reports. 

The RX Hybrid achieves an estimated 37 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The next most efficient in the class, the BMW X5 xDrive40i, gets only 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway. But the Bimmer boasts a 335-hp B58 inline-6 — high performance comes at a cost. 

The 2023 model’s tech is a huge improvement over the previous year

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Toyota and its luxury brand, Lexus, are known for outstanding reliability, but cutting-edge tech hasn’t been a hallmark. However, the 2023 RX Hybrid earned an 8/10 in technology and connectivity. 

Gone is the much-maligned touchpad, replaced with a much more traditional and user-friendly touchscreen. The base screen is 9.8 inches, while the Luxury trim gets a 14-inch behemoth. 

The most exciting features are the steering wheel buttons, Motor1 says. When you place your finger on a button, the head-up display shows your finger’s location. So while companies like Volvo have buttonless infotainment screens that are difficult to use while driving, Toyota doesn’t even require you to look away when using the steering wheel controls. 

It’s also worth noting the RX Hybrid upholds the model’s reputation for safety. Motor1 gave it a 9/10 due to its status as an IIHS Top Safety Pick.