When the Lexus RX plug-in hybrid hits Australia

Lexus has confirmed it plans to offer a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of its Volkswagen Touareg-rivalling RX SUV in Australia early next year.

Having confirmed Lexus Australia expects to lift the order pause of the smaller NX 450h+ later this year, chief executive officer John Pappas told CarExpert the brand is taking a more cautious approach to introducing the RX PHEV.

“So we want to bring in an RX plug-in hybrid,” said Mr Pappas. “But what we’ve got to be careful of is what we’ve learned with NX, unless you can get real good foresight on the stock output.

“If you just turn the tap on RX plug-in [hybrid], you’re going to have the same situation going to create a lot of frustration. So we don’t want that.

“We’ve learned that with NX [450h+] because we don’t want to pause orders and have customers waiting for years on product.

“In COVID we had issues specifically around semiconductors and things, and then we’ve had this NX [450h+] problem lingering for such a long time. So we don’t want to go there again with RX [plug-in hybrid].

“We want to try and get a bit more certainty on the production outlook for RX plug-in [hybrid] before we open up and then, you know, bring that to Australia.”

The current-generation Lexus RX was first unveiled in 2022, and arrived locally in early 2023. The large five-seat SUV is currently offered locally with a range of petrol and hybrid powertrains.

A plug-in hybrid RX 450h+ is currently offered in other markets, including the USA. It’s powered a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors and an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The same powertrain features in the smaller NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid.

Total system output for the US-specification RX 450h+ is 205kW of power.

Lexus claims the US-specification RX 450h+ has an electric-only range of 59km according to EPA testing.

When the Lexus RX 450h+ goes on sale locally it will go up against the likes of the Audi Q8 60 TFSI e, BMW X5 xDrive50e, Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe, Range Rover Sport P460e, and Volkswagen Touareg R, among others.

MORE: Everything Lexus RX

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