I regularly see first-gen Lexus RX’s on the road, a testament to their build quality. The 2021 Lexus RX 350 and 450h model line are part of the fourth generation of this luxury SUV standard-bearer and the tradition of quality continues. The most noteworthy aspect for the 2021 RX is the first-ever Black Line Special Edition available on F Sport models. There are also a handful of new styling, tech and safety features we’ll look at but as we’re 5 years into this platform, expect Lexus to limit major changes until the next generation debuts around 2023.

If you look through the evolution in exterior design of the RX starting back in 1998, you can see Lexus pushing the envelope into ever more aggressive styling. I happen to like the signature “spindle grille” that graces the latest RX and most other Lexus models. Here, it combines with the “floating roofline”, available triple beam LED headlights and sharply creased body panels to give the RX real presence. Lexus does a fine job of elevating it from staid luxury to baller luxury, especially on that new Black Line edition.

A true limited edition, the Black Line Special Edition RX will consist of only 1,000 vehicles split between the gas powered RX350 and hybrid 450h. Buyers have the option of Ultra White or the eye-popping Grecian Water paint, which contrasts nicely with the black grille surround, 20” wheels and rocker panel graphics. Inside, the dark trim continues with touches of white accents and blue stitching on the seats. To add further exclusivity, the Black Line comes with a 2-piece set of Zero Halliburton Edge Lightweight luggage, badged with the Lexus logo.The Black Line edition is part of a broad spectrum of RX offerings. The two powertrain options are a 3.5L V6 in the RX350 models or a hybridized version of this motor in the RX450h vehicles. All wheel drive is available across the board as is the L designation, which adds a 3rd row to the RX. In this lengthened version, you’ll find dedicated climate control and power fold for the third row as well as optional captain’s chairs in the second row. You can also spec the F Sport trim on all the various RX models.

For the 2021 Lexus RX, F Sport comes in two flavors: Base and Handling Package. In Base trim, the F Sport piles on the visual cues with special badges all over the interior and exterior. It also comes with an LFA inspired digital instrument panel, beefed up sport seats plus performance tuned shocks and dampers. Adding the Handling Package brings Adaptive Variable Suspension from the performance minded Lexus LC that allows the driver to customize settings for their preferred ride. Gone are the days of the “Sport” package consisting of a couple fender badges.

While the Black Line and F Sport trims really punch up the excitement and sportiness of the RX, Lexus is arguably most well known for their luxurious interiors. Let’s start with the available Yamaha Gray Sapele wood trim that comes from the same company known for fine musical instruments. There is soft touch plastic throughout, semi-aniline perforated leather surfaces and textured metallic trim. Heated and ventilated front seats with heated outboard rear seats can be had as well as a color heads up display and panoramic moonroof.

For the techies out there, the 2021 RX comes standard with an 8” infotainment screen or a landscape oriented 12.3” touchscreen on higher trim levels. Falling under the Lexus Enform multimedia umbrella, the 12.3” option comes with Android and Apple integration, Amazon Alexa functionality, a host of popular apps and a Wi-Fi hotspot. A wireless phone charger is available as is a 15 speaker Mark Levinson stereo system and rear seat entertainment package with dual monitors and wireless headphones. Less tech-y but helpful and relevant is the dedicated smartphone storage space.

The Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 comes standard on all 2021 RX’s and includes a host of advanced features. Newly included here is blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. The pre-collision system can now identify bicyclists along with pedestrians and vehicles. Automated emergency braking can step in when that pre-collision system activates while road sign assist, lane tracing and adaptive cruise control make long-haul runs easier. This is part of the reason the new RX earns Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2021 Lexus RX is an excellent all-around SUV with an aggressive design and modern, ergonomically friendly interior. The Black Line takes this up a notch with its special blue paint and black accents. You’ll also find a comfortable ride, outstanding fuel economy and plenty of tech. However, the F Sport seats can bite into your thighs and cargo room is diminished due to the low-cut roofline. Please check out the video above for more of George’s thoughts on the new RX. Drivers Only scores the 2021 Lexus RX 450h Black Line 100, please click here to find out how it ranks against the competition: Best Midsize Luxury SUVs for 2020 & 2021.

Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive, 6- or 7-passenger SUV


24-valve DOHC 3.5-liter, V-6: 290-295 hp, 268 lb-ft
24-valve DOHC 3.5-liter, V-6 + 2 electric motors: 308 combined hp

8-speed automatic
Electronic continuously variable automatic

Wheelbase: 109.8 in
L/W/H: 192.5-196.9/74.6/67.7 in
Curb Weight: 4222-4905 lb

0-60 mph: 7.7-8.1 sec
¼ mile: 15.5 sec
Top Speed: 131 mph

City/Highway/Combined: 18-31/25-28/21-30