2018 Lexus RX Hybrid Review

RX Hybrid

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2018 Lexus RX Hybrid Overview

Since its release in the late 1990s, the Lexus RX has become a common sight in affluent American suburbs. The fourth-generation version came out in 2016 and showcased a bold design for the midsize luxury crossover market. It has a sloping roofline, prominent grille, and sharp headlights. Most buyers opt for the standard RX 350 model, but the hybrid RX 450h is a popular upgrade. The Lexus RX sees few changes for 2018.

The RX 450h has a detuned version of the 3.5-liter 6-cylinder found in much of the Lexus lineup. In the 450h, it makes 307 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, with power going to the front wheels. The gasoline engine works in conjunction with batteries and electric motors that drive the rear wheels. A CVT transmission replaces the conventional 8-speed automatic found in the RX 350. Drivers can select between Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes; RX models fitted with the F Sport package get Customized, Sport S, and Sport+ modes as well.

While it is a hybrid, the RX 450h is still a hefty machine with a relatively large conventional gasoline engine. The 2018 model is rated at 31 mpg city, 28 highway, and 30 combined. With a strut front suspension system and double wishbones in the rear, the RX handles more like a car than expected. Opting for an F Sport version adds adaptive dampers and heavier steering.

Inside, the RX 450h features comfortable, roomy seats. The Luxury package adds extendable thigh cushions and heated and cooled front seats. F Sport models have more heavily bolstered seats and feature red leather trim on the door panels and seats. Other available options include panoramic roof, heated and ventilated seats, blind-spot monitors, navigation, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson stereo. The standard infotainment system centers on an 8.0-inch screen in the dash, but a 12.3-inch screen is available.

The family-oriented RX is still on top of its game when it comes to safety, thanks to standard features like a reversing camera, pre-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. Surround-view cameras and blind-spot monitors are also available. In federal crash tests, all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions of the RX have received five stars overall.


Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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