Comparison: Lexus RX Hybrid vs. Lexus NX Hybrid

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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At Lexus, luxury and efficiency go hand-in-hand. The company sells two of the most popular luxury hybrid SUVs, the 2020 Lexus NX Hybrid (NX 300h) and the 2020 Lexus RX Hybrid (RX 450h). Both are comfortable for five people, and both get about 30 mpg in combined driving. The RX Hybrid, however, is thousands of dollars more expensive.

Naturally, the question you might be asking yourself is whether the larger and pricier RX Hybrid is worth the premium over the smaller and more affordable NX Hybrid. And that’s what this Lexus NX Hybrid vs. Lexus RX Hybrid comparison aims to determine.
Lexus NX Hybrid vs Lexus RX Hybrid Front Quarter ViewsEach of these hybrid SUVs features current Lexus styling themes. But only the RX Hybrid (bottom) makes a satisfying amount of power. (Photo: Lexus)

The best things about the Lexus NX Hybrid

You can buy a Lexus NX 300h for just over $40,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change for a crossover that’s based on the previous-generation Toyota RAV4. However, the Lexus NX represents a big step up from its mainstream cousin in terms of expressive styling, quality materials, and upscale cabin design.

The Lexus NX Hybrid is also rated to get 31 mpg in combined driving, just beating the RX Hybrid in terms of fuel economy. It does, however, have a smaller gas tank, so you’ll be stopping at the gas station more often.

With the NX Hybrid, you get free Wi-Fi Connect service for the first year of ownership and up to 4GB of data usage. Buy the RX Hybrid, and the free trial period is limited to three months.

And that, quite literally, sums up the areas in which the NX Hybrid is better than the RX Hybrid.
Lexus NX Hybrid vs Lexus RX Hybrid DashboardsBaked into the extra cost, the RX Hybrid’s interior (bottom) is made of higher quality materials and includes a more sophisticated infotainment system. (Photo: Lexus)

The best things about the Lexus RX Hybrid

In terms of the base price, you’ll spend between $4,390 and $7,680 more for the RX Hybrid. Dress both of these SUVs up with extras, and the maximum price differential amounts to about $11,000.

The Lexus RX Hybrid costs more because it offers more. Its hybrid powertrain uses a V6 engine instead of a 4-cylinder, so the RX 450h makes 308 horsepower compared to 194 hp in the NX 300h.

That translates faster acceleration. Lexus claims the RX Hybrid gets to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds while the NX 300h requires 9.1 seconds. The RX Hybrid can also tow 3,500 pounds, a ton more than the NX Hybrid.

A bigger gas tank gives the RX Hybrid driving range of 498 miles to 516 miles, depending on whether you choose 5-passenger or 7-passenger seating. Fuel economy measures 30 mpg for the 5-passenger version, and 29 mpg for the 7-passenger version.

Because it’s larger inside, the RX Hybrid has more cargo space. In 5-passenger configuration, it’s not a significant improvement, amounting to no more than 2.2 extra cubic feet. Get the longer 7-passenger RX 450hL model, and space almost doubles behind the second-row seats and improves total capacity by 17 cu.-ft.

Snowstorms are easier to navigate in the RX Hybrid. Ground clearance measures up to 8.2 inches, while the NX Hybrid supplies just 6.7 inches of clearance. Both SUVs include standard all-wheel drive.

Both also include the company’s latest driving assistance and collision avoidance systems, but the RX Hybrid gets a more sophisticated infotainment system.
Rear Quarter View Lexus NX Hybrid vs Lexus RX HybridStick with the standard RX 450h, and it provides little in the way of extra cargo space. The RX 450hL (bottom) is significantly roomier for cargo. (Photo: Lexus)

Lexus NX Hybrid vs. Lexus RX Hybrid. Which is better?

In this contest, the Lexus RX Hybrid is the better SUV. But that might not mean it’s better for you.

As long as you don’t care about going fast, towing anything, pairing your device through Android Auto, or accessing some of the premium features that are exclusive to the RX Hybrid, the NX Hybrid saves you thousands of dollars. There is real value to be had with the NX.

Our recommendation, though, is the RX. As long as the refreshed 2020 version receives improved crash-test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and as long as you’ve got the extra cash to spend, the RX is likely to deliver greater long-term ownership satisfaction.


About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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