Toyota Highlander vs. Lexus RX

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - June 20, 2023
2023 Toyota Highlander

It’s no secret that Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division. The two automakers share platforms, tech, and powertrains, but have quite a few qualities that separate models. The most obvious difference is quality and materials.

Shoppers looking for a midsize SUV will find that Toyota sells the Highlander and Lexus has the RX. The competent Highlander comes well-equipped with features, comes with an efficient hybrid powertrain, and has a wide lineup that will appeal to a variety of shoppers.

The Lexus RX has arrived for 2023 with a full redesign. The boldly styled SUV boasts a high-end interior, modern tech features, and multiple powertrains. In this comparison, we’ll look at how the Highlander compares to the RX when it comes to pricing, size, performance fuel economy, and safety to name a winner.

Lexus RX vs. Toyota Highlander Price

2023 Lexus RX

As the mainstream option, the Highlander is far more affordable than the RX. The most affordable Toyota Highlander is the L trim which starts at $37,955 (with destination), while the most expensive Highlander is the Hybrid Platinum which costs $52,410.

The cheapest Lexus RX is the RX350 which costs $48,950 and the most expensive trim is the RX500h F Sport Performance that’s priced at $64,195. There’s a $10,995 difference between the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX.

As the more affordable model of the two, the Highlander is available with far more affordable lease deals than the RX. Financing deals for the Highlander are also better than the ones that are offered on the RX.

Lexus RX vs. Toyota Highlander Dimensions

2023 Toyota Highlander Interior

While both the Highlander and RX have the same 112.2-inch wheelbase, the SUVs differ in size. The Highlander is 194.9 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 68.1 inches tall. The RX measures 192.5 inches long, 75.6 inches wide, and 67.3 inches tall.

The Highlander’s larger size translates to more interior space. The Highlander has more front and second-row, headroom, front and second-row legroom, front and second-row shoulder room, and front and second-row hip room.

There’s a large difference when it comes to cargo capacity between the two SUVs. The RX offers up to 46.2 cubic feet of cargo space in total, while the Highlander has 84.3 cubic feet of total cargo space.

Lexus RX vs. Toyota Highlander Performance

2023 Lexus RX Engine

Both the Highlander and RX are available with multiple powertrains including electrified engines.

The Highlander starts off with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 265 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The available Highlander Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and one electric motor with FWD and two electric motors with AWD. Power is rated at up to 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque.

The base RX 350 shares the same base powertrain as the Highlander, though it makes 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The RX 350h also shares its powertrain with the Highlander, though it comes with two electric motors as standard. The RX 350h is rated at 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque and comes with AWD as standard.

Where the RX pulls away from the Highlander is with its two top-level powertrains. The RX 450h+ has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an 18.1-kWh battery pack, at least two electric motors, and AWD. Specs on the RX 450h+ have not been announced yet.

Lexus also offers the RZX 500h. This model features a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and AWD. The 500h produces 366 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Lexus RX vs. Toyota Highlander Efficiency

Unsurprisingly, as the Lexus RX and Toyota Highlander share similar powertrains, they have similar fuel economy figures. The RX 350h AWD is rated at up to 36 mpg combined, while the Highlander Hybrid can also get up to 36 mpg combined.

Lexus RX vs. Toyota Highlander Safety

2023 Toyota Highlander Safety

Both the RX and Highlander come with similar standard safety features. Both midsize SUVs come with features that include adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection as standard.

Where the SUVs differ is when it comes to available safety features. Lexus offers the RX with an available Traffic Jam Assist system that can handle most driving tasks in stop-and-go traffic. The RX can steer, brake, and accelerate on its own at low speeds. This feature is not available on the Highlander.

Which Is Better: Toyota Highlander or Lexus RX?

Choosing between the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX mainly comes down to price and the number of needed seats. For shoppers that need three rows of seating, the Highlander is the clear winner, as it can seat up to eight people, while the RX tops out at five. The Highlander is the better family vehicle as it has a roomier cabin and more cargo space, too. For families, shoppers on a budget, and drivers looking for an efficient midsize SUV, the Highlander wins.

Drivers searching for a premium SUV with an upscale cabin, more advanced available features, and more powerful engines, the RX shines as the better choice. While it costs a lot more, the RX brings much higher interior materials, a larger infotainment system, and more powerful electrified engines. Its bold design is also another standout quality.

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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