Lexus RX450h F Sport 2012 Review

Lexus RX450h F Sport 2012 Review

If there are any vehicles that are poised to reap the best market acceptance from hybrid technology, it should be SUVs. People like SUVs because of their practicality, but they don’t like stupendous fuel bills and that’s one of the reasons why sales of traditional SUVs have struggled recently and will continue to do so as the price of fuel increases.

If you are considering a Lexus LX450h, though, you’re probably unconcerned at the extra one or two thousand dollars a year in fuel bills you’ll save over purchasing a non-hybrid SUV. Chances are your other car is a Euro model with a large engine and the Lexus SUV will be for more practical duties like going snowboarding (it has a snow mode) or taking the kids to school. Therefore the hybrid badge on a Lexus SUV is because

you want to say you’re driving a hybrid.

There is no compromise in driving this hybrid, though. This RX450h is one of the smoothest, most comfortable SUVs you can ride in. Its 3.5-litre V6 produces 183kW, and there’s a 37kW electric motor to boost it, so it’s not sluggish. It’s also not noisy. Acceleration is accompanied by a muted V6 note and a seamless CVT gearbox. There are gear shift paddles on the steering wheel if you want to take more control.

You observe the gaining of momentum from a seat that is monumentally comfortable. Our tested model was the F Sport and my expectation before driving it was that it the ride would be firm – it does, after all, have F Sport suspension, shock absorbers, springs and front and rear performance dampers. This did not seem to be the case. The RX450h seems to soak up the bumps well without much compromise in the corners.

There’s some lean into the bends but nothing like, for example, the Toyota Land Cruiser we tested immediately prior. The speed-sensitive steering was nicely weighted – not too light at low speeds and well balanced at higher speeds.

Braking performance was strong, but you are aware you’re driving a heavy vehicle (the kerb weight is around 2200kg). Large front and rear disc brakes are combined with ASB, electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist. As with almost all hybrids the pedal feel will take a little acclimatization, but was more tactile and sensitive than other cars I’ve driven with regenerative braking.

Sensible driving on the combined cycle (open road and around town) will return 6.4l/100km according to Lexus. That is impressive for a mid-sized car, let alone an SUV that feels like it is hewn from granite and lined with goose down. Realistically you should expect fuel economy in the high 7l/100km range.

The RX450h doesn’t feel large. Reversing and general manoeuvring is made much easier with a reversing camera with guidance lines and four parking assistance sensors in the front and rear bumpers.

There are only three things that concern me with the RX450h. The first is the low towing capacity. If you want to tow a boat, check it doesn’t exceed the 1500kg braked trailer limit.

The second is the joystick-type control used for the audio/navigation/phone interface that’s shown on the 8-inch in-dash screen. This would be much better as a touch screen, but that would require redesigning the dashboard because the screen is too far away.

The third is that for $126,900 I would have expected a little more fruit on the interior. There’s no disputing this is a hugely comfortable luxury SUV but surely all the money has not gone into the seats and suspension. I would have expected one or two of the following: front camera, side camera, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, seat fans or chilled storage box. These are the kinds of features that are beginning to filter down to vehicles in the sub-$70,000 range such as the Ford Mondeo Titanium, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota Prius.

However, they don’t carry the Lexus badge and brand image and their doors don’t close with the kind of thunk that sounds like Beelzebub’s bass drum. The RX450h F Sport is a luxury ride with quality workmanship and excellent fuel economy. There are some nice touches – the powered tailgate, for example – but also some features I think should have been included. As an urban SUV the hybrid will make sense for many people. CVT gearboxes, too, are more beneficial at lower speeds than highway speeds. It’s a luxury car that not only looks like you’re doing your part to reduce fuel consumption, but it is a genuine practical and economical drive.

Price: $126,900


  • Smooth power delivery
  • Excellent seats
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Looks sharp


  • Lacks some expected specification against similarly priced vehicles due to the hybrid technology
  • Towing capacity is only 1500kg.


Code 2GR-FXE
Brief Description Atkinson Cycle 3.5 Litre V6 Petrol Engine
Aspiration Normal
Location Front, Transverse
Capacity / Size 3456 cc / 3.5L
Number of Cylinders 6
Cylinder Bore 94.0 mm
Cylinder Stroke 83.0 mm
Compression Ratio 12.5 : 1
Valve Mechanism DOHC per bank with Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) for Intake Camshaft
Number of Valves 24
Max. Power / rpm 183 kW @ 6000 rpm
Max. Torque / rpm 317 Nm @ 4800 rpm


Fuel Consumption – ECE101/00 – Combined (L/100km) 6.4
CO2 Emissions – ADR 81/02 – Combined (g/km) 150
Exhaust Emission Standard Euro 5
Induction Type Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Tank Capacity (L) 65
Fuel Type Petrol
Octane Rating 95 or Higher

* Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle condition and options/accessories fitted.

Hybrid System
Lexus Hybrid Drive (LHD)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Mode
Drive Modes Eco / Normal / Sport
Total System Output – petrol engine + electric motor 220 kW
Hybrid Battery
Description Nickel Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH)
Nominal Voltage 288 V
Number of Cells 240
Battery Capacity – 3HR 6.5
Location Under Rear Seat
Motor Generator 1 (MG1)
Type Permanent Magnet Motor
Function Generator, Engine Starter
Maximum System Voltage DC 650 V
Cooling System Oil Cooled
Motor Generator 2 (MG2)
Type Permanent Magnet Motor
Function Generator, Drives Front Wheels
Maximum System Voltage DC 650 V
Maximum Power 123 kW
Maximum Torque 335 Nm
Cooling System Oil Cooled
Motor Generator R (MGR)
Type Permanent Magnet Motor
Function Generator, Drives Rear Wheels
Maximum System Voltage DC 650 V
Maximum Power 50 kW
Maximum Torque (Nm) 139 Nm
Cooling System Air Cooled
Electrical (Non-Hybrid)
Auxiliary Battery 12 V
Ignition Type Electronic Direct Ignition System (DIS)
Throttle Type Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent (ETCS-i)
 Code P313
Transmission Type Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
Gear Change Location Gear Lever and Steering Wheel Paddles
Shift Lock System
Gear Ratios
Final Drive Ratio (Front / Rear) 3.137
Differential Gear Ratio – Rear n/a
Drive Type Electronic All Wheel Drive
Front MacPherson strut independent suspension with L-shaped lower arm and stabiliser bar
Rear Trailing arm type, double wishbone independent suspension and stabiliser bar
F Sport Suspension
F Sport Shock Absorbers
F Sport Shock Absorber Springs
F Sport Front and Rear Performance Damper


Description Vehicle speed sensitive, Electronic Power assisted rack and pinion Steering (EPS)
Ratio Max. 14.8
Min. Turning Circle (Tyre) 11.4 m
Turns Lock to Lock 2.79
Front Power-assisted ventilated disc
Front Brake Size 17″
Rear Power-assisted solid disc
Rear Brake Size 16″
Park Brake Mechanical Pedal Type
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
Brake Assist (BA)
Electronically Controlled Brake-Regeneration (ECB-R)


Wheel Material Alloy
Wheel D x W 19″ x 7.5″
Wheel Finish Paint
Wheel Colour Graphite
Wheel Centre Ornament Chrome on Graphite
Spare Wheel Material Steel
Spare Wheel D x W 18″ x 4″
Spare Wheel Finish Paint
Spare Wheel Colour Black
Spare Wheel Type Temporary
Tyre Front 235/55R19
Tyre Rear 235/55R19
Tyre Spare T165/90D18


Overall Length 4770 mm
Overall Width 1885 mm
Overall Height 1725 mm
Wheelbase 2740 mm
Track – Front 1630 mm
Track – Rear 1620 mm
Overhang – Front 1000 mm
Overhang – Rear 1030 mm
Min. Ground Clearance 175 mm
Approach Angle 16.7°
Departure Angle 24.8°
Drag Coefficient 0.32 Cd
Seating Capacity 5
Interior Length 2200 mm
Interior Width 1560 mm
Interior Height 1220 mm
Effective Headroom – Front 950 mm
Effective Headroom – Rear 937 mm
Effective Legroom – Front 1096 mm
Effective Legroom – Rear 942 mm
Shoulder Room – Front 1472 mm
Shoulder Room – Rear 1462 mm
Luggage Capacity – Rear Seat Up, Top of Seat Back 446 L
Luggage Capacity – Rear Seat Down, Top of Seat Back 825 L
Luggage Compartment Length 995 mm
Luggage Compartment Width 1430 mm
Luggage Compartment Height 750 mm
Luggage Compartment – Height From Ground 785 mm
Note: Kerb, tare and payload weights are nominal and will vary depending on options.
Gross Vehicle Weight 2700 kg
Kerb Weight – Min. 2110 kg
Kerb Weight – Max. 2205 kg
Payload 495 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Braked 1500 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Unbraked 750 kg
Front Design
Body Coloured Premium Front Bumper with Integrated Upper and Lower Radiator Grilles
Chrome Lexus Three-dimensional Spindle Design Detail
Black F Sport Mesh Upper Radiator Grille
Black F Sport Mesh Lower Radiator Grille
Rear Design
Body Coloured Rear Bumper
Single Exhaust
Back Door Spoiler with Body Coloured top and Black lower sections
Roof Rails finished in Silver paint with 75kg maximum load capacity
Doors and Exterior Mirrors
Front Body Coloured Door Handles with Smart Key Sensors
Rear Body Coloured Door Handles with out Smart Key Sensors
Front Door Chrome Side Body Moulding
Rear Door Chrome Side Body Moulding with Chrome on Blue ‘HYBRID’ logo
Back Door Chrome Handel Garnish
Outside Electric Rear View Mirrors
Body Coloured
LED  Side Indicator Lights
Conventional Bulb Puddle Lights
Automatic Anti Glare
Manual and Auto Retract Function
Auto Tilt in Reverse
Memory Function
UV Cut (100%) Green Tinted Acoustic Windscreen Glass
UV Cut (91%) Green Tinted Front Quarter Glass
UV Cut (100%) Green Tinted Front Door Glass
UV Cut (100%) Privacy Rear Door Glass
UV Cut (94.1%) Privacy Rear Quarter Glass
UV Cut (94.1% )Privacy Back Door Glass
Front Lighting
HID Low Beam with AFS
Conventional Halogen Bulb High Beam
LED Daytime Running Lights / Clearance Lights
Conventional Bulb Front Indicator Lights
Pop-Up Headlight Cleaners
Automatic Self-Levelling
Exterior Rear View Mirror mounted LED Side Indicator Lights
Front Bumper Mounted Conventional Halogen Bulb Front Fog Lights with Chrome Surrounds
Rear Lighting
Conventional Bulb Rear Tail Lights
LED Stop Lights
Conventional Bulb Rear Indicator Lights
Conventional Bulb Reverse Lights
Back Door Spoiler mounted LED High Stop Light
Back Door  mounted LED Number Plate Lights
Rear Bumper Mounted Conventional Bulb Rear Fog Lights
Exterior Badging
Chrome on Black ‘L’ Radiator Grille Badge with Blue Hybrid Detail
Chrome on Black ‘L’ Back Door Badge with Blue Hybrid Detail
Chrome ‘LEXUS’ Back Door Badge
Chrome ‘RX450h’ Back Door Badge with Blue Hybrid Detail
Titanium Look and White ‘F SPORT’ badges on Front Fenders
Air Spats
Front Air Spats
Rear Air Spats
Aero Stabilizing Fins
Rear Combination Lights
Door Trim
Synthetic Leather
Painted window switch panel
Chrome Plated Inside Door Handles
Door Courtesy Lights
Front Door Telescopic Side Pockets with Bottle Holder
Rear Door Side Pockets with Bottle Holder
Driver Seat
Leather Seat Material with Perforated Leather centre sections
8-way power adjustable
Slide Position
Seatback Angle
Vertical Height
Cushion (front angle)
Seat Memory System (3 memory settings)
Power Adjustable Lumbar Support
Active Headrest with vertical manual adjustment
Seatback Pocket
Passenger Seat
Leather Seat Material with Perforated Leather centre sections
8-way power adjustable
Slide Position
Seatback Angle
Vertical Height
Cushion (front angle)
Power Adjustable Lumbar Support
Active Headrest with vertical manual adjustment
Seatback Pocket
Rear Seat (2nd row)
Leather Seat Material with Perforated Leather outer seat centre sections
60/40  Split (60% RHS / 40% LHS)
Manual adjustment
Slide Position
Seatback Recline Angle
3 Headrests with vertical manual adjustment
Remote Folding Function with release levers in luggage compartment
Boot Access through folded Centre Seat
Centre Armrest
Storage  Lid
Synthetic Leather
Cup Holders
Cup Holder Lid
Interior Black Finish
Instrument Panel
Textured Soft / Hard Urethane Finish
Painted Trim above Glove Box
Driver Cup Holder
Combination Meter
Speedometer (240 km/h)
Hybrid Power Meter (CHARGE, ECO, POWER)
Water Temperature Meter
Fuel Tank Level Meter
Digital Trip Meter (ODO, TRIP A, TRIP B)
2″ Multi Information Display (MID)
Screen OFF
Outside Temp C°
Hybrid Energy Monitor
Current Fuel Consumption
Average Fuel Consumption After Refuelling
Average Fuel Consumption
Average Vehicle Speed
Cruising Range
Park System
Sport Mode
Hybrid Snow
ECO Lamp
Sports Lamp
Closing All Windows Advice
Shift Position Indicator
Head Up Display
With Speed, Gear Range and Audio displays
On/OFF Switch
Digital on Air Conditioning Panel
Satellite Navigation Connected Adjustment
Steering Wheel
3 Spoke
Leather with Perforated F Sport Leather
Lexus Logo
F Sport Logo
Steering Wheel Controls
Voice Recognition
Power Adjustable Tilt & Telescopic Steering Column with Memory
Gear Lever
Perforated F Sport Leather with Chrome Centre
Centre Console
Cup Holders with removable divider
Cup Holder Lid
Storage Box
Removable Storage Box Shelf
Removable / Swing False Floor and Door
Storage Box Lid
Sliding with 95° Opening Angle
Pencil Holder
Synthetic Leather
Scuff Plates
Stainless Steel on Black Plastic, with Black on Silver ‘LEXUS’ logo
Rear Door Scuff Plates
Stainless Steel on Black Plastic, without logo
Back Door Scuff Plates
Black Plastic, without Logo
Stainless Steel on Black Plastic, without logo
Carpet Floor with driver and passenger Stage 3 floor mat retention clips
Front and Rear Floor Mats with ‘LEXUS’ logo
Sports Aluminium Type with Rubber Anti-Slip Dots with Foot Rest
AM/FM Radio
Radio Data Service (RDS-TMC)
Single Disc Player
CD-DA / CD-DA Text / CD-R/ CD-RW / CD MP3 / CD WMA
DVD Playback
Handsfree Telephone Capability
Phone Book Access Capability
Audio Streaming Capability (A2DP)
USB Port in centre console storage box
iPod Control via USB
iPod Album Cover Art Display
Audio Input Jack (3.5mm) in Centre Console Storage Box
Voice Recognition
Audio Amplifier
Back Door Spoiler Integrated Radio Antenna
Audio Speakers:
   12 x Speakers (Pioneer)
   1x Centre – Instrument Panel Top Centre
   2x Tweeters – Top section of Front Door Trim
   2x Mid Range – Top section of Front Door Trim
   2x Woofer – Lower section of Front Door Trim
   2x Tweeters – Top section of Rear Door Trim
   2x Full Range – Lower section of Rear Door Trim
   1x Sub Woofer – Left Hand Luggage Compartment Trim
Display / Satellite Navigation:
8″ EMV Display Screen
Satellite Navigation
Air Conditioning
Energy Monitor
Fuel Consumption
Lexus Remote Touch with Push-in Type Switch
Satellite Navigation System
Air Conditioning
Dual Zone Climate Control
Auto Outside / Recirculated Air Mode
Clean Air Filter
Instrument Panel Fixed Air Outlets
Adjustable Instrument Panel Front Air Outlets
Front Footwell Fixed Air Outlets
Adjustable Centre Console Storage Box Rear Air Outlets
Rear Footwell Fixed Air Outlets
Cruise Control
Interior Illumination / Lighting / Control
Smart Key connected Illuminated Walk-up, Entry and Exit System
Puddle Lights on Exterior Mirrors
Front and Rear Room Lights (intensite increases with open door)
Driver and Passenger Front Footwell Lights
LED Daytime Running Lights / Clearance Lights
Tail Lights
Combination Meter Driving Mode Ambient Illumination
 Blue for ECO/Normal Driving Modes
 Red for SPORT Driving Modes
White Combination Meter and Instrument Panel Illumination
Illumination Control
Combination Meter
Combination Meter Ambient Illumination
Instrument Panel Controls
Centre Console Controls
Door Switch Illumination
Overhead Console Illumination
Front and Rear Room Lights
LED Front and Rear Right and Left Personal Lights
Front and Rear Door Courtesy Lights
Driver and Passenger Front Footwell Lights
Door Switch Illumination
LED Glove Box Illumination
Two Luggage Area Lights
Back Door Light
LED Overhead Console Illumination
LED Centre Console Storage Box Illumination
Vanity Lights
Lockable Glove Box
Front and rear Door Pockets
Coin Pocket with lining
Left and right rear coat hooks
Cup Holders (2 x Front, 2 x Rear)
Seat Back Pockets (Driver and Front Passenger)
Luggage Area
4x Luggage Area Hooks
Luggage Area Under Floor Storage Compartment
Small Box
Removabel Telescopic Tonneau Cover
Easy Entry and Exit System connected to Driver Seat and Steering Column
Door Ajar Warning Light and Display
Key Rmeinder Buzzer and Display
Customer Customizible Vehicle Features
Power Back Door
Instrument Panel OPEN / CLOSE Switch
Back Door OPEN / CLOSE Switch
Smart Key OPEN / CLOSE Switch
Anti-Jam Safety Function on Right and Left Sides
Power Windows
All Doors One-Touch Auto Up/Down
Door Switch Illumination
Anti-Jam Safety Function
Assist Grips (Retractable, 2 x Front, 2 x Rear)
Rear View Mirror
Automatic Anti-Glare Function
Sun Visors
Vanity Lights
Card Holders
Accessory 12V Power Outlets
1x Centre Console Storage Box
1x Under Tray
1x Luggage Compartment Left Panel
Light Control System
Auto ON and OFF
Key OFF Headlights OFF
Rear Window Defroster with Timer
Rain-Sensing Automatic Windscreen Wipers
Fuel Filling
Electronic Fuel Filler Door Release
Fuel Tank Cap with Theeter and Cap Holder on Filler Door
Owners Manuals
Owners Manual (Part Number OM48C08E)
Satelite Navigation Manual (Part Number OM48C31E)
Quick Quide Manual (Part Number OM48C43E)
Owners Manual  Wallet
Tool Kit
First Aid Kit
Valet Kit
Anti-Slip Luggage Mat
Active Safety Systems
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) l
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) l
Traction Control (TRC) l
VSC / TRC On/Off Switch l
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), brake pedal operated l
Front Seat Belt l
Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) l
Pre-Tensioners (PT) l
Force Limiters (FL) l
Tension Reducer (TR) l
Front Seat Belt Anchors Manual Height Adjustment l
Outer Rear Seat Belt l
3-Point l
Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) l
Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) l
Pre-Tensioners (PT) l
Force Limiters (FL) l
Centre Rear Seat Belt l
3-Point l
Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) l
Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) l
Seat Belt Warning for driver and passenger Front Seat light and Buzzer l
Child Safety
Child Seat Fixing Points l
 2 x ISOFIX l
3 x Tether Anchor l
Child Proof Locks on Rear Door l
Airbags l
Drivers Steering Wheel l
Drivers Knee l
Passengers Instrument Panel l
Passengers Knee l
Front Seat Side l
Rear Outer Seat Side l
Front and Rear Curtain Shield l
Monitors and Park-Assist System
Reversing Camera and Monitor l
Guidance Lines l
Display in 8″ EMV Display Screen l
Four Parking Assist-Sensors in front and rear bumper l
Alarm System with Intrusion Sensor in Overhead Console l
Engine Immobiliser l
Security Light on Instrument Panel l
Wireless  Central Door Locking Remote l
Lock, Unlock, Power Back Door and Panic Buttons l
Remote with Chrome ‘L’ logo and Blue Hybrid Detail l
Double Lock System l
Speed Sensing Auto Lock Functions l
Smart Key System l
Drivers Door l
Passenger Door l
Back Door l
Power Push Button (Blue) l
2x Master and 1x Card Style Keys l

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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