Lexus NX vs. Lexus RX: Comparing Lexus SUVs

2025 lexus nx 350h vs 2024 lexus rx 450h
Lexus NX vs. Lexus RX: Comparing Lexus SUVsJoe Lorio - Car and Driver

The RX was the original Lexus SUV and dates all the way back to the 1990s. As the years went on, Lexus expanded its SUV lineup, and of the multiple SUVs the brand currently offers, the model that sits closest to the RX is the NX. Buyers shopping mid-size luxury SUVs might wonder: What's the difference between these two siblings?

The major differentiators are size and price, as the RX sits one rung up the ladder from the NX. Below them, there's the subcompact UX, which serves as the entry model for the brand. Above them, there's the three-row TX, the off-road-focused GX, and the full-size LX. The battery-electric RZ, meanwhile, sits on its own branch of the family tree.

The current-generation RX was redesigned with the 2023 model, while the NX was redone for the 2022 model year. For 2024, the RX added a plug-in-hybrid variant, the RX450h+. The 2025-model NX is already out, and it sees additional standard equipment, including parking assist, rain-sensing wipers, and a power liftgate.

To help further draw the distinction between these two related models, we catalog their similarities and differences in terms of size, price, equipment, and more.

2025 lexus nx 350h vs 2024 lexus rx 450h
Joe Lorio - Car and Driver

Passenger and Cargo Space

The RX is bigger than the NX is all major dimensions. Its wheelbase is 6.3 inches greater, it's nine inches longer overall, and it's 2.2 inches wider. Naturally, then, the RX has a roomier interior, even though both SUVs are strictly five-seaters. (The previously available RX L, which wedged in a cramped third row, has been dropped.) The RX cabin has more elbow room up front, whereas the NX feels more tightly drawn. In the back seat, the RX's flat floor and ample width makes it tenable for three and spacious for two. The NX is adequate for two six-footers and three in a pinch. Both models' cabins have a mix of physical controls and screen-based interactions; they're also well finished and boast nicely padded surfaces.

Behind the rear seats, the RX has 30 cubic feet of cargo space to the NX's 23 cubic feet. Fold the rear seatbacks down, and you're looking at 47 cubic feet of space in the NX and 46 in the RX.

2025 lexus nx 350h
Lexus NX 35ohJoe Lorio - Car and Driver

Engines, Transmissions, and Towing

The NX and the RX both have multiple powertrain choices including standard gas-powered engines, gas-electric hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. Many of those powertrain offerings are shared between both models.

The NX starts off with a 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, paired with either front- or all-wheel drive. The RX skips this underpowered engine, and NX buyers should too, unless they're looking for the least expensive mid-size entry to the Lexus brand. Instead, we prefer the turbocharged 2.4-liter four in the NX350 and RX350; it's good for a much more robust 275 horsepower, along with 317 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, it comes standard with all-wheel drive in the NX350, whereas RX350 buyers can get front- or all-wheel drive.

Both the NX and RX offer multiple hybrid powertrains. Think of them as economy hybrids (NX350h and RX350h) and plug-in hybrids (NX450h+ and RX450h+), with the RX additionally offering a higher-performance hybrid variant, the RX500h.

2024 lexus rx 450h
Lexus RX 450h Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

The NX350h/RX350h hybrids combine the 2.5-liter four with electric motors and swap in a continuously variable transmission in place of the eight-speed automatic. In both hybrids, all-wheel drive is standard.

The plug-in-hybrid NX450h+ and RX450h+ are also all-wheel drive. The RX500h is a standard hybrid, not a plug-in, and is all-wheel drive too.

Despite the powertrain overlap between the two Lexus SUVs, there's a substantial difference when it comes to towing. The NX—regardless of powertrain—is rated to tow 2000 pounds. The RX—all variants—can tow up to 3494 pounds.

2025 lexus nx 350h
Lexus NX 350hLexus

Performance and Fuel Economy

With its 203 horses, the base NX250's acceleration is nothing to write home about, and fuel economy isn't great either, with an EPA combined estimate of 28 mpg with front- or all-wheel drive.

In the NX350 and the all-wheel-drive RX, the 275-hp 2.4-liter turbo four returns 24 mpg, while it manages 25 mpg in the front-wheel-drive RX.

The NX350h and RX350h hybrids get considerably better fuel economy than the NX350/RX350 variants or even the NX250. EPA combined estimates are 39 mpg for the NX350h and 36 mpg for the larger RX350h. The hybrids, though, are less powerful—the NX350h makes 240 horsepower and the RX350h 246—so they're about a second slower accelerating from zero to 60 mph.

With 304 horsepower, the plug-in-hybrid NX450h+ and RX450h+ are quicker than the regular hybrids. Fuel economy is 36 mpg in the NX version and 35 mpg in the bigger RX. Both the NX and RX use an 18.1-kWh battery, substantial enough for 37 miles of engine-off driving in each.

2025 lexus nx 350h

Finally, the RX500h has 366 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. In our testing, it got to 60 mph in a brisk 5.5 seconds and is EPA rated at 27 mpg.

Off-Road Capabilities

Neither the NX nor the RX is particularly suited to off-road driving more rigorous than dirt two-tracks. Surprisingly, Lexus has not hopped on the bandwagon with a rugged-looking off-road trim level. Lexus shoppers looking for a mid-size SUV with substantial off-pavement capability should instead check out the body-on-frame GX.

Pricing and Trim Levels

Between their various powertrain choices and multiple trim levels, the NX and the RX both offer 11 model variants. Pricing for the NX runs from $41,765 to $63,380. With the RX, the span is $49,950 to $70,580.

The NX kicks off with the NX250, and there's no equivalent RX model. Looking at the NX350 ($45,525) versus the RX350 ($49,950), the price difference at first appears to be $4425, but the NX350 includes all-wheel drive, which is a $1600 option on the RX350. The NX350 comes in standard, Premium, F Sport, and Luxury trim levels, with the RX350 additionally offering a Premium Plus model.

2025 lexus nx 350h vs 2024 lexus rx 450h
Joe Lorio - Car and Driver

Looking at the NX350h and RX350h, the NX hybrid starts at $46,075 versus $52,100 for the RX, a $6025 delta. The NX350h is offered in base, Premium, and Luxury trims; again, the RX also has a Premium Plus model. There's no F Sport with this hybrid.

The plug-in-hybrid NX450h+ is offered in Luxury ($62,290) and F Sport ($63,380) variants. The RX450h+ is Luxury only ($70,580). On the sportier side, the RX offers the RX500h F Sport Performance at $64,100.

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