The powerful engine, top-class passenger comfort and generous practical storage space is an absolute requirement for luxury SUVs. Friendliness is often an afterthought, or not a priority. But not for the 2018 Lexus RX 450h, a hybrid variant of the successful in the market the RX 350. Not only 450h is faster and more efficient than its brother, the price is now lower than the previous year.
One of the main complaints for the previous RX 450h is its price higher than the RX 350. That’s because the RX 450h list of standard features is much more than the standard 350 equipment. Change for 2018, the RX 450h lost some luxury in return for a lower base price, so it does not cost much if you want a hybrid vehicle. But you can always adds luxury features through a combination of packages and stand-alone options.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Lexus RX 450h is a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV available in two versions: base and F Sport. The conventionally powered 2018 RX 350 is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment for the base RX 450h include keyless ignition and entry, 18-inch wheels, automatic high beams, foglights, LED headlights, LED taillights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning and automatic braking.
Inside you’ll get dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, a 40/20/40-split reclining and slides rear seat, a cargo cover, Safety Connect emergency communications, an 8-inch color display, Remote Touch interface, Bluetooth connectivity, voice controls, and a 12-speaker sound system with two USB ports, HD and satellite radio.
The 2018 Lexus RX 450h F Sport adds sporty exterior styling, a lower ride height, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, an engine noise enhancer, a heated sport steering wheel, heated and ventilated sport seats, special gauges and special interior trim.
Whether you pick the base or the F Sport model, there are a number of notable packages available for the 2018 Lexus RX 450h. The Cold Area packages add a heavy-duty heater, headlight washers, auto-leveling headlights and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Premium package adds power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery and driver-seat memory settings. The Luxury package adds 20-inch wheels, ambient lighting, a wood-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery and rear sunshades. The Towing package adding a heavy-duty alternator, radiator and transmission oil cooler.
Other options include upgraded LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free liftgate, a color head-up display, power-folding and heated rear seats, a 12.3-inch central display with a navigation system and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Every 2018 Lexus RX 450h is all-wheel drive and powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with three electric motor-generators, one on each front wheel and one controlling the rears. (Note that there is no mechanical connection between front and rear wheels). Total system output is 308 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque and routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
In performance testing, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is a bit slow for the segment. EPA estimated fuel economy rating at 30 mpg combined (31 city/28 highway.
With a driver-focused dashboard design and a lower seating position, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h is more carlike than before. Even so, you still get a high view around which makes crossover so popular. The interior design is also visually appealing especially with the available two-color scheme, while the construction and quality of materials are the same as those found in class leaders.
Although the more radical roofline is raked in, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h still offers plenty of headroom. The front seats are very supportive, although larger drivers may find seats in the F Sport model too restrictive. At the rear, the sliding and reclining backrest is comfortable and wide, with plenty of leg room even for tall passengers, while the optional power adjustment further adds more comfort.
Unfortunately cargo capacity is falling. With a sloping roofline and battery pack installed beneath the cargo compartment, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h does not have much cargo space, which means large items tend not to fit. Furthermore, the 40/20/40-split backrest is not flat enough. The cargo capacity is only 18 cubic feet behind the second row and 55.9 cubic feet with the back seat folded.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Lexus RX 450h is on sale and arriving now at dealers. Official pricing will start at $45,695 for base model and $51,055 F Sport models. Key competitors include the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE-Class.