2018 Lexus RX Hybrid Review
The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid finishes in the top third of our luxury midsize SUV rankings. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a luxury hybrid, pairing interior quality with practical efficiency.
Is the Lexus RX Hybrid a Good SUV?
Yes, the Lexus RX Hybrid is a good SUV, and it's a finalist for our Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for the Money award because of its great value and quality. Also known as the Lexus RX 450h, this hybrid gets significantly better gas mileage than nearly every gas-powered class rival. It’s not as sporty as many competitors, but the RX Hybrid has quick acceleration and decent handling. It also delivers a smooth ride.
Inside, the RX 450h features premium materials and an eye-catching design, and anyone can appreciate the spacious, comfortable seats. We also named the RX Hybrid a finalist for our Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families award because of its overall space and positive reception from automotive critics.
It’s not a total rose garden, however, as this hybrid has less cargo space than many competitors. Additionally, the lengthy standard features list is headlined by an infotainment system that frustrates many users.
Should I Buy the Lexus RX Hybrid?
"It depends" is a cop-out answer but an appropriate one for some vehicles. The RX 450h delivers on many of the traditional hybrid fronts, and it’s an excellent vehicle overall, making it a worthy option for most luxury midsize SUV buyers. On the other hand, it’s a poor choice for those who value driving enjoyment or require a large cargo hold. The best choice is to comparison shop the RX Hybrid against competitors such as the Acura MDX Hybrid and nonhybrid class rivals like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX 350, and see which one best fits your wants and needs.
We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed
We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.
The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. There haven’t been many changes in the ensuing years. As a result, this review uses applicable research and data from the 2016 through 2018 model years.
How Much Does the Lexus RX Hybrid Cost?
The Lexus RX Hybrid has a base price of $45,695. That’s in the middle of the pack for this segment, but there are class rivals that cost significantly more and significantly less. The RX Hybrid F Sport has a starting price of around $51,000, which is also a reasonable starting price for this class.
Lexus RX Hybrid Versus the Competition
- Which Is Better: Lexus RX Hybrid or Acura MDX Hybrid? The Acura MDX Hybrid has a higher starting price than the RX Hybrid, and it can seat two more people (though the Lexus will offer a long-wheelbase model later in the year that seats seven and has more cargo space than the base RX Hybrid). The Acura delivers much better performance thanks to its agile handling and energetic powertrain, but the Lexus gets better fuel economy. The RX Hybrid also has a more upscale interior and a lot of standard features. At the end of the day, the MDX doesn’t offer enough to justify its higher price tag; the RX is the best buying choice.
- Which Is Better: Lexus RX 450h or Lexus RX 350? The Lexus RX 350 is the gasoline-only version of the RX 450h, and it has a lower starting price by about $2,400. Both SUVs share the same 3.5-liter V6 engine, but the RX 450h's three electric motors increase the horsepower from the RX 350's 295 to a combined 308. Both SUVs have comfortable handling, and like the hybrid, the gas-only version comes in an RX 350 F Sport model. The RX 350 and RX 450h also come with similar standard features, though the 450h comes with more. The RX 450h's superior fuel economy (about 7-8 mpg more) and longer list of standard features are appealing as well, but it’s ultimately up to you to determine if those positives are worth the added cost.
- Which Is Better: Lexus RX 450h or BMW X5? The BMW X5 costs much more than the RX 450h, with a base price roughly $11,500 higher. Both SUVs come standard with similar features, though the X5 has a larger infotainment screen and a power liftgate, while the RX 450h comes with more smartphone integration capabilities and more advanced safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. The X5 delivers superior performance and has several available engines, with the top one producing up to 567 horsepower. It's also available as a turbodiesel and a plug-in hybrid, though both cost more than $60,000. The plug-in is the only X5 that outpaces the 450h’s fuel economy, and it has a 14-mile electric-only range, but you’ll still spend less on gas by driving the Lexus. The RX 450h is a comfortable cruiser with a soft ride that easily absorbs dips and bumps in the road. The X5 has agile handling and can take on twists and turns, but its ride can be a bit firm. The RX 450h comes with more standard features, gets better gas mileage, and is slightly more affordable. Unless you need an SUV that can carve up corners, the RX is a better value.
RX Hybrid Interior
- How Many People Does the RX Hybrid Seat? This Lexus SUV seats five people and feels spacious inside. The front seats are supportive, though rearward visibility is limited. The rear seats provide a lot of space compared to class rivals, and they have plenty of room for adult passengers. Later in the model year, Lexus is releasing a long-wheelbase version of the RX Hybrid (the RX 450hL) that seats seven.
- RX Hybrid and Car Seats; The RX Hybrid features two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The system is easy to use, and there are no issues with the tether anchors or the lower anchors.
- RX Hybrid Interior Quality; The RX Hybrid’s interior has a stylish, attractive look to it. Materials quality is excellent, and little outside noise makes its way into the cabin.
- RX Hybrid Cargo Space; With the rear seats in use, this Lexus has 18 cubic feet of space. Fold the rear seats down, and that expands to 55.9 cubic feet. Those totals trail the cargo numbers of many class rivals. Still, that’s enough room for a weekend’s worth of luggage behind the rear seats, and you can fit larger pieces of outdoor gear with the rear seats folded.
- RX Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation; The RX Hybrid comes standard with two USB ports, Siri Eyes Free, an 8-inch display, smartphone integration, satellite radio, a DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker sound system, a sunroof, and navigation.
- Available features include a 12.3-inch display, a panoramic moonroof, a 15-speaker sound system, and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 11.6-inch screens. While the infotainment system’s large screen (even in the base RX Hybrid) makes it easy to see and read, controlling the system can be frustrating because of the mouselike Remote Touch controller. Many users do not find this system intuitive.
RX Hybrid Performance
- RX Hybrid Engine: This Hybrid’s No Slowpoke; The RX Hybrid’s 308-horsepower powertrain combines a V6 engine and three electric motors. A continuously variable transmission (which acts like an automatic) comes standard. The electric motors deliver great acceleration, and the transition from electric to gasoline power is seamless.
- RX Hybrid Gas Mileage: As Expected, It’s Terrific; The RX Hybrid’s mpg ratings dwarf those of most other luxury midsize SUVs. It earns 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The nonhybrid Lexus RX – the 350 – gets 20/27 mpg city/highway, and it’ll cost you about $150 more per year in gas money than the RX Hybrid.
- RX Hybrid Ride and Handling: Prioritizing Comfort; This Lexus stands out for its standard all-wheel drive (it’s an available feature in most rivals). While this SUV is no corner carver, it is poised around turns. Instead, the RX Hybrid aims to deliver a smooth, comfortable ride – a goal it accomplishes.
RX Hybrid Reliability
- Is the Lexus RX Hybrid Reliable? The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid is part of a generation that typically earns a predicted reliability rating of at least four out of five from J.D. Power. That’s a good rating in general (three is considered average for all vehicles), and it’s a better rating than many class rivals receive.
- Lexus RX Hybrid Warranty; Lexus backs the RX 450h with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid-related components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. These are good warranty terms compared to some class rivals.
RX Hybrid Safety
- RX Hybrid Crash Test Results; The Lexus RX Hybrid received a five-out-of-five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick.
- RX Hybrid Safety Features; The RX Hybrid comes standard with driver assistance features like a rearview camera, park assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic braking. The Lexus Safety System+ is also standard, and it includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. A 360-degree camera is available.
Which Lexus RX Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?
The RX Hybrid currently gives you two options, with a third to come later in the year. The base 450h and the 450h F Sport have similar features lists, so the choice boils down to whether you feel like paying around $5,500 extra for a sportier driving experience. For most buyers, sticking with the base trim should be fine.
Later this spring, you can opt for the new RX L models, which will have a third row of seating and a maximum capacity of seven people.
- Lexus RX 450h; The RX 450h has a base price of $45,695. It comes standard with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a DVD entertainment system, an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker sound system, a sunroof, satellite radio, and navigation. The Lexus Safety System+ is also standard; it includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. Available features include a wood-trimmed and heated steering wheel, power-folding heated rear seats, a 12.3-inch display, a panoramic moonroof, a hands-free power liftgate, a 15-speaker sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a 360-degree monitor.
- Lexus RX 450h F Sport; The RX 450h F Sport has a starting price of $51,055. It has all of the base trim’s features and adds a sport-tuned and adaptive variable suspension, bolstered heated and ventilated front seats, and Lexus Enform Destinations. The same optional features available in the base trim are available for the F Sport trim.
- Lexus RX 450hL; The RX 450hL is a new trim being added to the RX Hybrid lineup, but it won’t make its debut until the spring. This model will offer seating for up to seven people and will have a features list similar to the base 450h.