Lexus RX 450h Interior = Design Harmony?

Lexus RX450h Interior

Last month, when the new Lexus RX 450h was given Ward’s Auto Design Harmony award for its asymmetric interior, it wasn’t too clear what “Design Harmony” actually meant—luckily, Ward’s has come through with some clarification:

Contributing to the serenity are enough artistic flourishes to warrant a special exhibit at the Guggenheim.
Take the dramatic swoops and bulges that make up the instrument panel. The lack of symmetry and the absence of a conventionally arrayed center stack make for a visually arresting experience that simultaneously soothes and engages.

It’s more than the instrument panel that impresses. Throughout, the vehicle demonstrates a new aesthetic that relies not on straight lines intersecting at right angles but on unconventional shapes that serve as strong design cues.

A shining example is the door panel. In the new RX, the upper part of the 2-tone panel is trimmed to resemble the wing of a bird in flight.

The door panel in question, though not 2-tone:

Lexus RX450h Door Panel

A curious award, it’s as though Ward’s went out of their way to give the new RX interior some recognition. It will be interesting to see if this off-kilter design philosophy makes its way into the other models, especially as Lexus starts integrating the Remote Touch controller.

[Source: Ward’s] (Thanks Joaquin!)



  1. The new RX’s interior is another one of Lexus’ attempts to have some show but in a weird conservative manner, which, interestingly, has some of Lexus’ “detail behind every detail.”
    e.g., the extra curves on the dashboard and the doors that can easily go unnoticed.

    I like it, actually. As a matter of fact, I love it very much.

  2. if theres anythng worth praising about the new RX its the interior i really do think its amazing

  3. I have a gut feeling that the Lexus HS’ interior will be the subject of some sort of award or recognition from Ward’s at next year’s Interior awards.

  4. I was thinking that myself, with most interiors nowadays exhibiting quality materials and intelligent layouts, Lexus is trying to differentiate themselves.

  5. Maybe the Too Many Buttons on the Steering Wheel award:

    Lexus HS250h Steering Wheel


  6. Are the judges at Ward’s blind ?!! Looks like they directly quoted some Lexus promotional material. How much bribe did they take?(free RX to all judges?) Mabye there is a lack of ‘harmony’ between their retinas & visual centers… For me this is the most offensive Lexus design(ext & int) in history. If Lexus does this to the next gen LS or GS, I may consider switching loyalties to a certain 3-pointed star… Now I know how BMW fans felt about Chris Bangle & i-drive…Where are those talented designers who did the LS, GS & IS? Arguably amongst the best designed cars to ever come out of Japan. None of the later Lexus models have the sheer good looks of those three. Anyone else with me here?
    PS: Apologies to RX fans.

  7. guess you just don’t really have taste…you should see it in person much more appealing

  8. Actually I did sit in the RX last week. Though the material quality & seat comfort is better than the previous gen, I still find the design intolerable. The asymmetry of the dash & center console plus the door panels are not suited to Lexus interiors which have traditionally been about neatness & subtle elegance. eg: compare those hideous A/C controls in the RX to any Lexus including HS. This looks like something the Koreans or Chinese would do, desperate for attention.

    Lexus absolutely doesn’t need to deviate from the design path forged by the ‘dynamic duo’ - LS & GS. On the flip side,I do like the new steering design with its toggle switch & the new design switch panel in door armrest. Plus kit wise its fully loaded,even has Bi-xenon lights. The LX570 doesn’t even have low-beam xenons!I was waiting to get a new RX for the missus, but now I’ve decided to wait for the next GX.

  9. @LEXUS BOY: Somehow, I didn’t think you were going to be impressed with this award. wink Do you think the GX interior is going to be different?

  10. Haha—just realized the RX and HS steering wheels are exactly the same, minus the wood.

  11. Well, when the pictures were leaked, I was just afraid that the dash might be a little too bulging and top heavy like the Acuras (esp. the MDX), but after seeing the real pictures and the vehicle in person, the interior is pretty amazing.

    Additionally, the high contrast of the two tone interior prevents a worn-out look.

    Finally, I like what Lexus did to the door handles - the way it doesn’t have a weird plastic frame around it. In the new RX, the door handles have a much cleaner surrounding, and in future, higher level models, Lexus can use wood grain instead.

  12. I hope so, krew. I really have my eye set on a Lexus SUV. I think if the next GX interior layout can be done similar to the HS, whose Remote Touch,gear selector & switch gear layout is aesthetic & uncluttered. Its a very typical Lexus interior design, don’t you think? I’m looking forward to test driving the HS…

  13. More wood trim would surely have helped this interior,mainly the dash.

  14. Yes, its a good design & also nice to grip. But have you noticed that in the HS steering, the switches are mounted flush with the surface while in the RX they are raised from the surface. The production HS though may use the same steering from RX & this could just be unique to the show car.

  15. I’m surprised that you don’t like the RX interior but do like the HS—which has no wood at all. Is it just that you liked the previous RX interior more?

    Also, I’m curious to see if the GX goes more towards the RX or LX interior…

  16. Basically its the symmetry of the HS center console & its control layout that I like. The module next to the steering incoporating the gear selector, park button, hybrid mode switches & starter button is a new layout which looks ergonomic & neat. There’s actually a slab of wood(genuine?) b/w the front seats. Yes, I really liked the interior design of the previous RX & I think that design was imitated by a few other cars. Now the LX interior is simply classic Lexus, just beautiful. The handbrake is its only flaw.
    PS: Krew have you read CAR & DRIVER’s drive report of the LX570? (If not go to, click ‘reviews by make’ & select ‘Lexus’)They called it the ‘most desirable SUV on the planet’, WOW!

  17. I remember reading the C&D review—in fact, I thought I had posted about it, but can’t find it on the site.

  18. I just found an older and slightly longer version of the Ward’s article by Christie Schweinsberg:

  19. Thanks Joaquín!