What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Lexus RX? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Lexus RX is a luxury mid-size crossover SUV that was refreshed for 2020 for sportier handling. Despite edgy styling, it doesn’t stray too far from being the comfy, quiet cruiser that has defined it for more than 20 years. It can be had in sporty F Sport trim or can seat up to seven passengers in RXL form, but it’s best as a five-seater with a hybrid powertrain that gets 30 mph combined.

Is the 2021 Lexus RX a good SUV?

We think so, as do the many customers who have made it the bestselling Lexus model. The hybrid option with standard all-wheel drive makes a lot of sense, and improved interior controls address some long-standing gripes. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10.

What’s new for the 2021 Lexus RX?

New features are minimal following last year’s refresh. Power-folding side mirrors come standard, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts come with the already impressive suite of standard safety features.

Like the cats in Spinal Tap, the Lexus RX has adapted with the times, emerging from its egg-shaped past into an edgier present. This one goes to 11. Narrow headlights cinch the spindle grille, and side air intakes and sharp creases cut a shape. Inside it’s more sedate and reserved, unless you go garish with the F Sport.

Despite the makeover, the RX puts comfort ahead of speed with two V-6 options, including a hybrid model with standard all-wheel drive that can get 30 mpg combined. The ride remains composed even with larger wheels and the F Sport’s Sport mode.

Two body sizes give consumers more choice, but the five seater is best. The L model crams in a third row in its additional 4.4 inches of length. It can work for short trips for the shortest people on occasion.

With the third row down, or in the base five-seat model, comfy seats for all but the rear center position provide plenty of leg, head, and cargo room. The cabin is well appointed in both body styles.

Every RX comes with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors that help it avoid collisions. Official crash testing returned mixed results, with the NHTSA giving it only four stars overall but the IIHS awarding it a Top Safety Pick.

How much does the 2021 Lexus RX cost?

The price swing from the base RX 350 model to the top RX 450hL is not that vast. It starts at $46,095 and comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, six USB ports,  power-adjustable synthetic leather seats, keyless start, and 18-inch alloy wheels. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 across the lineup.

The third row in 350L versions costs $2,830 more, raising the price to $48,925.

For sportier handling and an edgier look inside and out, the RX 350 F Sport costs $49,575 and has more firmly bolstered seats with better comfort, 20-inch alloy wheels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, adaptive dampers, and cosmetic upgrades inside and out.

The 2021 RX 450h hybrid model with standard all-wheel drive starts at $48,745, which makes it just $1,250 more expensive than the 350 AWD. That’s where we’d put our money. The L version with second-row captain’s chairs is $52,135, but the F Sport treatment on the hybrid tops the RX chart at $52,225. Then there are all the packages and options, ranging from a 12.3-inch touchscreen to semi-aniline leather and wireless charging.

Where is the 2021 Lexus RX made?

The RX is made in Ontario, Canada, with parts supplied from Japan.