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1sickreview: 2010 RX 450h FWD "One of the all time greats"

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Old 05-18-11, 08:27 PM   #1
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Post 1sickreview: 2010 RX 450h FWD "One of the all time greats"

So here I am ranting about Lexus in one thread and we get this car as a loaner and now I'm going to be raving about Lexus. We all know the story of the RXh, it was the worlds first luxury hybrid and the 450h extends that. Lexus sells a bunch of these every month, between 1400-2000 units, an amazing figure when you consider its an expensive hybrid. That is more than many luxury SUVs! This car starts around 44k and hits 60k fully loaded. This is the segment leader and pretty much in a class by itself, an unsung hero as the media won't rave about it b/c it wont slalom at 90 mph slinging your groceries and kids around. It sits 5 easily with room for cargo, gets 30 MPG with all the luxurious of a Lexus. Its a shame vehicles like this get no continued praise.

First off huge thanks to the service department headed by Joe Gaunt at Hennessy Lexus of Gwinnett. What an incredible team, friendly as good family and they get the job right the first time at very good prices. If you are interested in what I reviewed give Frank Mullin a call there and tell him Mike sent ya.

This is a starfire pearl RX 450h with around 13k on the odometer with beige interior, one of the more popular color combos. It has NAV, heated/cooled seats HIDs and I didn't see any other options. This is a FWD model.

First off I'll touch on the exterior. By now we are familiar with it and I think it looks sharp but I still do prefer the 2RX exterior. Again my favorite part is the rear, the RX has gained small shoulders for a more muscular look and the now classic Lexus tailamps strutting out the exterior curving from the side. The 3RX now has chrome window trim around the doors, something I noticed Acura now copied and put on their MDX. It gives it a classier but less sporty appearance to me. The front fender still is tough for me as the front end, the wheels don't seem centered and the front seems kind of pushed in. Its not bad but doesn't flow to my eyes from all angles. To my wife the car appears to be lower to her than the 2RX. I also like the fact they put the hybrid 3 spoke wheel on the RX 450h but it lacks chrome slants in the middle. You gain puddle lamps like the IS/GS/LS etc with the new dumbo ear sideview mirrors and LED license plate bulbs. The lower side has a nice crease with the chrome trim with blue hybrid discreetly placed. Overall its handsome and nicely understated and a great evolution of the RX.

The interior is still an amazing piece of work. My wife kept complimenting the interior and likes how it revolves around the driver and she likes the new NAV placement and remote touch. She also likes the blue trim over the odometer. I have to agree with her that it is marvelous. Its wider than the 2RX with more room. It gains nice chrome rims around some speakers and again, the SEATS are so much better than any previous RX. I still would like a seat extender for my long legs but overall, great seats. I'm still a fan of the new Lexus steering wheel with the floating center, nice touch. Remote touch is at this point VERY easy to use and feels natural. The rear seats of course recline manually as well as more fore-aft. There is a lot of room for 4 or 5 in here and the RX has a great cargo area. If the roof didn't slope to the rear for style it could be larger but it really offers A LOT of room. Back up front, it really is just one of the more fun and stylish interiors around. I find myself driving with the LED lights inside (those are new too comapred to the 2RX) to see it. The 3RX did lose cupholder lights compared to the 2RX. Overall, we both love the interior.

To both of us the difference in drive between the 2RX and 3RX is pretty startling. In my 2010 RX 350 review I noted it was better but for some reason (maybe b/c we now drive a 400h often) the 450h seems leaps and bounds better. The drive from 1RX to 2RX was starting and this continues from 2RX to 3RX. The 3RX really drives like a car now and seems quite athletic for a RX. It really feels more agile on its feet and more active compared to the 2RXh which feels heavier (though its lighter) and slower and less happy to be pushed, even moderately. I really really like the way the 450h drives! Brakes are superb and the 3RXh really handles much better in corners at low, moderate, high speeds compared to the 2RXh which feels cumbersome. The 19s soak up bumps like the 2RXh 18s, it was a great ride and not harsh over any kind of pavement I drove over. Even driving around normally, the 3RXh feels like a more expensive vehicle than it is. SMH, another loaner selling itself

In regards to the hybrid tech, the 3RX seems to sap less energy from the battery than the 2RXh and my 3GSh and on par with the HS 250h. I took it to a familiar low speed area and the car never used its battery whereas the 2RX or 3GS hybrids would. It was pretty startling to see how little this car used the gas engine when under low speeds. It also seems easier to drive under 30MPH with the battery and the gas engine cuts in less. Like every Lexus hybrid, the transition is seamless from gas to battery and vice versa.

Contrarily when pushed the RXh pulls hard with decent authority for a 4400lbs SUV. There is less torque steer from the stoplight, almost not-existent going straight. I did feel some from a start with the wheel turning. On the highway this car pulls fast and hard and mixed with its better handling and suspension is just a great freeway vehicle. A stunning jack of all trades.

The HID headlights are great at night, they swivel of course and its obvious. I do think the 2RX HIDs might have a better cutoff though.

The base stereo is fine for most I would assume but I thought it was average at best. Low bass, no crisp treble and muddy mids.

Leather felt good and the dash has the usual Lexus soft touch plastics. Some might want more wood but it was fine to me. LOL yall have me noticing the clock now and I did think "yeah that does look old school".

I noticed the 3RX feels much less able to "coast" compared to the 2RX. The 3RXh also has manual shift for the CVT which engage immediately but I didn't use it much, just not in character for this vehicle.

MPG was great, when I pushed it I was getting 26 MPG and driving around like a normal human being I got 29 MPG. Hard to believe this is a 4400lbs vehicle. The 29 MPG was easy to achieve and didn't require much hyper-miling or anything tricky.

Overall, we both like it a lot and it has a good chance to be a replacement vehicle when that time comes (not soon). We both agreed it is a nice big step above the car we are paying for. Lexus really did a great job with this vehicle. As I finish writing I can't find any real glaring fault with this vehicle. It really feels and drives like a more expensive vehicle.

Up next, another review you are dying for, a 2011 ES 350 Should be done tomorrow.

Thanks

Mike
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Old 05-18-11, 08:40 PM   #2
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Apparently the 450hs are much harder to come by as of late.

We had one as a loaner recently and I enjoyed all but two things.

1. The weight. This car has more power than the 400h that I am accustomed to, yet it is so much heavier that it doesnt feel faster, though it is in actuality.

2. The controls. The stupid i drive wannabe system. i drive is crap in itself, I don't want a damn Lexus knock off version of it. Decades were spent developing touch screens. Cells phones are primarily touch screen operated now and Lexus goes backward offering us control from a "rolling ball" type mouse. What's next? Windows 3.1 for old time memories?

It is amazing how much more the 3.5L has to offer in the RXh than the 3.3L. It is def. worth the extra money. The car itself is also more attractive. Too bad it has such minute, yet unforgetable flaws. If I were an SUV buyer, would these flaws stop me from getting one? No. The RX450h is just too good of a value.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review 1Sick! enjoyed reading it.

I probably have to disagree with you on RX being "one of the all time greatest". My family has 2010 RX350 which was built in Japan. Out of all the Lexuses (we have 2010 LS460, 2006 IS350, 2010 RX350, had LX470) it is probably the only one that disappoints. The car vibrates more than 1980 corolla at idle, seats look all worn out (got only 10k on the clock so far), the interior rattles like nuts, and many other things. It is still a beautiful car, but I tried so hard to love it but I just couldn't.

I can't wait for your ES350 review tho. I am going to die with excitements reading it.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:22 PM   #4
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It's funny you mention the front end. To me it looks odd at some angles. Almost like an overhang or overbite. I also like that the headlights have that frosted blue tint to them (tails too). I agree it is understated. I would ask for a bit more sport for future models or a sport model. the 2RX offered a limited sport model with an air suspension and trip-tronic tranny.

As interior goes, I agree it is well sculpted. I love the design as everything seems fluid and well thought out. The LED's are great! I also love the new leather and steering wheel in this RX vs the 2RX. The navigation is ok, mouse is fine but I prefer touch screen. It's not just the RX but all the Lexus line-up, the navigation needs better graphics/resolution for a car this price. One of my favorite features is the Bluetooth audio that streams my music from my iPhone to the cars speakers without any cords!! My biggest grudge with the interior (and most Lexus interiors of late) is that the materials are getting cheaper. There are so many cheap and tacky plastics. My moms 2008 RX is much better in that regard. If you still have the loaner, look below the navigation where that huge silver plate meets the black dash. The panel gaps drive me nuts. I can easily pull that silver plate up. Case in point, when you get back into your 2RX look at the same approximate location and notice that the dash and console meet seamlessly. That is what fit and finish is supposed to be. I'm very disappointed in that regard.

When it comes to the ride, I feel the new RX is more planted (has a wider track I believe) but funny I felt it less agile than the 2RX (my mom's is a 350 so I imagine the weight difference with the 400h may be the culprit there), feels more quick. I do wish that the 450h powertrain at least crested the 300hp mark.

PS I await your review on the 2011 ES 350. It's not your father's Camry
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Old 05-18-11, 10:53 PM   #5
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Good write-up. Have had many RX loaners and they have all been impressive. One had some rattles, but the others were all silent. Not bad for abused loaners.

What holds back the front styling is the lack of a substantial bumper or lower airdam. There's a huge cut-off of "nothingness" which makes the front end look unfinished or with an overbite. The RX must have one of the world's best approach angles, which makes no sense for this suburban mommymobile. If they'd just add something there, it would improve the looks 100%.
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Old 05-18-11, 11:00 PM   #6
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Quite the drama queen today aren't you Mike.

That time of the month???

The RX is a brilliant vehicle, though I can't dispute Stig's comments as we only had a 330 and not the hybrid.
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Old 05-18-11, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quite the drama queen today aren't you Mike.

That time of the month???

The RX is a brilliant vehicle, though I can't dispute Stig's comments as we only had a 330 and not the hybrid.

i too was surprised by his mood swings.
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Old 05-19-11, 12:14 AM   #8
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The RX is such a great vehicle. If people can get past the soccer mom image of the RX, it really is the perfect vehicle for the average american family. There is a reason why I have been with the model for all three generations. Sadly, with my RX450, I am only getting ~25mpg but Im sure that is because of all the hills I have to tackle. The rear of the RX is definitely the best looking but I dont mind the front, especially with the LED headlights.

If you load it up to the gills, the RX can be very luxurious. For instance, I made sure to order the luxury package in order to get the seat cushion extender for the two front seats.

random thing to add is that there are vents under the rear seats and they actually blow out cool air, so its air-conditioning is always on. lol. I have had rear passengers asking me to turn off the air because their ankles were getting cold. Too bad I couldnt.

Things I love about my RX in no particular order
1) dual pane front windows
2) tire pressure readouts
3) HUD
4) adaptive cruise control
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Old 05-19-11, 05:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLegacy99 View Post

...
2. The controls. The stupid i drive wannabe system. i drive is crap in itself, I don't want a damn Lexus knock off version of it. Decades were spent developing touch screens. Cells phones are primarily touch screen operated now and Lexus goes backward offering us control from a "rolling ball" type mouse. What's next? Windows 3.1 for old time memories?
...
Oddly enough, this was a big selling point for me. I abhor having to lean forward out of my seat to touch a screen. My arm naturally rests on the arm rest with my hand on the joy stick. If the voice command button was also located within my fingertip along with the menu and map(voice) buttons, it would be perfect.

Should Lexus update the software and graphics, yes. Change or remove the joy stick, NO.

To each his own.
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Old 05-19-11, 06:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLegacy99 View Post
...

2. The controls. The stupid i drive wannabe system. i drive is crap in itself, I don't want a damn Lexus knock off version of it. Decades were spent developing touch screens. Cells phones are primarily touch screen operated now and Lexus goes backward offering us control from a "rolling ball" type mouse. What's next? Windows 3.1 for old time memories?...
I have never been a fan of touch screens because of the fingerprints (says the guy using an iPad). I'm old fashioned and think screens are for viewing, not touching. The first time I saw the Lexus system in a HS250 I was pleased - especially with the force feedback. The funny part is that every RX or HS loaner I get with the new system has fingerprints on the screen.

The only knocks I have with the current generation RX is the bit of forward-aft pitch-pole motion when driving and the entry height is a bit too high for my wife to negotiate when transferring from a wheelchair. Otherwise, we'd have an RX2 rather than our Outback.
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Old 05-19-11, 06:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by STIG View Post
Thanks for the review 1Sick! enjoyed reading it.

I probably have to disagree with you on RX being "one of the all time greatest". My family has 2010 RX350 which was built in Japan. Out of all the Lexuses (we have 2010 LS460, 2006 IS350, 2010 RX350, had LX470) it is probably the only one that disappoints. The car vibrates more than 1980 corolla at idle, seats look all worn out (got only 10k on the clock so far), the interior rattles like nuts, and many other things. It is still a beautiful car, but I tried so hard to love it but I just couldn't.

I can't wait for your ES350 review tho. I am going to die with excitements reading it.
Our RX had one rattle, which was a crappy garage door opener. Go figure. But another benefit of the hybrid is that it shuts off at idle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DunWkg View Post
Oddly enough, this was a big selling point for me. I abhor having to lean forward out of my seat to touch a screen. My arm naturally rests on the arm rest with my hand on the joy stick. If the voice command button was also located within my fingertip along with the menu and map(voice) buttons, it would be perfect.

Should Lexus update the software and graphics, yes. Change or remove the joy stick, NO.

To each his own.
I guess I never thought of it that way...You're right. To each is own. Being in the field of psychology, I read quite a bit about devices being developed to use one's mind to control an apparatus. Perhaps that is next for Lexus.
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Old 05-19-11, 06:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SLegacy99 View Post
Apparently the 450hs are much harder to come by as of late.

We had one as a loaner recently and I enjoyed all but two things.

1. The weight. This car has more power than the 400h that I am accustomed to, yet it is so much heavier that it doesnt feel faster, though it is in actuality.

2. The controls. The stupid i drive wannabe system. i drive is crap in itself, I don't want a damn Lexus knock off version of it. Decades were spent developing touch screens. Cells phones are primarily touch screen operated now and Lexus goes backward offering us control from a "rolling ball" type mouse. What's next? Windows 3.1 for old time memories?

It is amazing how much more the 3.5L has to offer in the RXh than the 3.3L. It is def. worth the extra money. The car itself is also more attractive. Too bad it has such minute, yet unforgetable flaws. If I were an SUV buyer, would these flaws stop me from getting one? No. The RX450h is just too good of a value.
welcome to new world where lexus interiors were boring before without complicated controls.
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Old 05-19-11, 07:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by STIG View Post
Thanks for the review 1Sick! enjoyed reading it.

I probably have to disagree with you on RX being "one of the all time greatest". My family has 2010 RX350 which was built in Japan. Out of all the Lexuses (we have 2010 LS460, 2006 IS350, 2010 RX350, had LX470) it is probably the only one that disappoints. The car vibrates more than 1980 corolla at idle, seats look all worn out (got only 10k on the clock so far), the interior rattles like nuts, and many other things. It is still a beautiful car, but I tried so hard to love it but I just couldn't.

I can't wait for your ES350 review tho. I am going to die with excitements reading it.

Great review. Very thorough and passionate. That being said the RX is my least favorite Lexus product. I know it has been an unqualified success and that people buy them in droves but the car just doesn't appeal to me. So "All time great"? Not for me.
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Old 05-19-11, 09:24 AM   #14
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lol, Save the drama for your mama.

Having driven the new RX350, I can appreciate the differences of the h per review, thanks.
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Old 05-19-11, 08:20 PM   #15
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i definitely love driving both my 450h! with regards to the mouse controller in the RX, it's a matter of getting used to it (it is very intuitive to use).

must also agree with RXSF on his comments. i would also add the lexus RSES is also great.
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Old 05-19-11, 08:20 PM
 
 
 
 
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