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2018 Lexus RX 450hL review

Hybrid Lexus performance meets a longer wheelbase for more space in 2018

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For 2018, Lexus introduced a new, longer RX into its lineup, expanding the offerings of its most popular SUV to include a new seven-seat configuration. This type of two-row vs. occasional use three-row division in the midsize SUV segment is gaining popularity. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Volkswagen Tiguan also offer these setup options.

The 2018 Lexus RX L comes in two variants, the 2018 Lexus RX 350L and the 2018 Lexus RX450hL. Both utilize many of the same components as their regular length variants. I recently had the opportunity to drive the RX 450hL around the Arizona desert.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL exterior

The 2018 Lexus RX 450hL looks nearly identical to the RX 450h, except that it’s longer and its back window has a slightly different angle to allow for additional headroom. At the front is the polarizing large grille the new RX design has become known for. It sharp angular features help it fall into line with the rest of the Lexus family of vehicles.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL powertrain

­­­­The RX-L has slightly less horsepower and torque than the traditional RX models, but you’ll likely not notice any difference, especially in the RX 450hL.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL interior

The 2018 Lexus RX L builds off the already successful Lexus RX and expands its seating capacity to up to seven (six if you opt for captain’s chairs in the second row). There’s room for back seat passengers thanks to a body that has been extended 4.3 inches. Seven-seater RX Ls come with a 40/20/40 split second row bench seat. Tri-zone climate control, a power-folding third-row seat, and a power tailgate come standard.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL cargo

The overall cargo capacity of the RX L is slightly less than the RX, which is to be expected with the addition of an extra row of seating. What works in its favor are flat folding third row seats that are controlled by a set of buttons just inside the tailgate on the side of the rear cargo area (a standard feature). With the third-row seats folded flat, the cargo space of the RX L is large and will easily fit enough luggage to keep your family in a fresh set of clothes each day during a two week road trip.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL safety

The RX L comes equipped with the same safety equipment offerings as the RX. Lexus Safety System+ comes standard and includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Panoramic View Monitor and Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are available.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL pricing

The RX 450hL I drove for this review starts at $50,620. That’s $4,925 more than the base model RX 450h. To the base model, the vehicle came equipped with the Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package ($3,200) which includes a 15-speaker premium sound system, navigation, Enform infotainment system apps, Remote Touch, and a climate control smog sensor. It also came equipped with the Premium Package ($810) which includes wood and leather interior trim, a rear armrest storage compartment, power folding outside mirrors, and a memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and outside mirror. That comes to a grand total of $55,625 with the $995 deal processing, destination, and handling fee added in.

The Lexus RX 450hL is most comparable to the Acura MDX, equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 engine with a three-motor hybrid system, which is called the MDX Sport Hybrid. The MDX comes with a standard occasional use third row of seating and if you want less seating you’ll have to downsize to the Acura RDX. The MDX Sport Hybrid comes has a $52,100 base price and with the added Advance Package to add in numerous features the RX 450hL comes with, the price goes over $58,000.

For 2018, Lexus introduced a new, longer RX into its lineup, expanding the offerings of its most popular SUV to include a new seven-seat configuration. This type of two-row vs. occasional use three-row division in the midsize SUV segment is gaining popularity. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Volkswagen Tiguan also offer these setup options. The 2018 Lexus RX L comes in two variants, the 2018 Lexus RX 350L and the 2018 Lexus RX450hL. Both utilize many of the same components as their regular length variants. I recently had the opportunity to drive the RX 450hL around the Arizona desert. 2018…
If you’re looking for an occasional use three-row SUV, the RX 450hL is worth a test drive.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL

Exterior
Interior
Infotainment
Performance
Fuel Economy
Safety

$55,625

If you’re looking for an occasional use three-row SUV, the RX 450hL is worth a test drive.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL final thoughts

The 2018 Lexus RX 450hL is a formidable option for three-row SUV buyers. The SUV gives buyers the extra seating they want coupled with above average fuel economy without sacrificing too much cargo space. If you’re looking for an occasional use three-row SUV, the RX 450hL is worth a test drive.

2018 Lexus RX 450hL gallery

Vehicle provided by manufacturer for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are our own. Read our disclosure policy for more information.

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Written by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.

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