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2018 Lexus RC Review

The 2018 Lexus RC ranks in the bottom half of the luxury small car class. It has a lot of standard features, a comfortable ride, and a quality interior, but its frustrating infotainment system and lukewarm driving dynamics hold it back.

Pros & Cons

  • Premium, well-built interior
  • Numerous standard tech and safety features
  • Pleasant ride and handling
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Cumbersome infotainment controls

New for 2018

  • Standard Wi-Fi hot spot and Lexus Safety System+
  • V6 engines got small power boost
  • RC 300 replaced RC 200t as base model




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.3
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Lexus RC Overview

Is the 2018 Lexus RC a Good Used Car?

The Lexus RC is a fine option if you’re shopping for a used luxury small car, especially if you want an upscale two-door coupe.

The 2018 RC has several strengths:

  • Lavish interior with four seats
  • Lots of standard safety and convenience features
  • Plush ride quality
  • Composed handling
  • Brawny V8 engine option

But it disappoints in a few ways:

  • Complicated infotainment system controller
  • Cramped rear seats, even for kids
  • Small cargo capacity
  • Not as quick or thrilling to drive as other sport coupes

Before you buy, consider rivals like the 2018 BMW 4 Series and 2018 Audi A5. Both offer sportier handling and easier-to-use infotainment systems.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Lexus RC review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 31 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Lexus RC?

Based on listings for the 2018 Lexus RC on our site, the average price is $44,000. Prices range from $34,900 to $49,800 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Lexus RC Cost to Own?

The 2018 RC’s projected five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are not available at the time of writing.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New RC?

The starting price for a 2019 Lexus RC is $41,145. For the 2019 model year, Lexus retuned the RC’s suspension, refreshed its styling, and added Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa to the standard features list. Because of these added amenities and upgrades, we recommend springing for the newer model over the 2018 RC.

Read about the new Lexus RC »

The 2018 RC is part of a generation that launched for the 2015 model year. For 2018, Lexus added several impressive upgrades to the coupe. For example, advanced safety features including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking were made standard, and the available V6 engines got a boost in power. If it’s in your budget, we recommend sticking with a 2018 or newer model.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 RC »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Lexus RC?

The 2018 Lexus RC has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about RC reliability »

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Lexus RC:

  • fuel pump may crack and leak in some RC F models

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Lexus RC safety recalls »

Which Used Lexus RC Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Lexus RC is available in three trims: RC 300, RC 350, and RC F. There are no differences in features among the RC's three trims. Instead, the available engines separate them. Even though the standard four-cylinder engine has decent power, most drivers should opt for the RC 300 AWD or RC 350 to get one of the stronger V6s.

All trims come standard with synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and alloy wheels. The RC also comes with a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 7-inch display, a Wi-Fi hot spot, the Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0, Bluetooth, Lexus Enform Service Connect, Scout GPS Link navigation, and a rearview camera. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

If you want to boost the RC’s performance but don’t quite need the RC F’s outrageous power, find an RC 300 or RC 350 with the F Sport package. It adds an adaptive suspension, larger brakes, front sport seats, genuine leather upholstery, a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, and unique styling elements.

  • Lexus RC 300: The base RC 300 has a 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Upgrading to the RC 300 AWD swaps in a 260-horsepower V6, a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive.
  • Lexus RC 350: The RC 350 comes with a 311-horsepower V6 engine. Rear-wheel-drive models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models have a six-speed automatic.
  • Lexus RC F: The high-performance RC F has a 467-horsepower V8 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. This trim is available with a Performance package that adds a torque-vectoring differential, a carbon fiber spoiler, and a carbon fiber roof.

See 2018 Lexus RC trims and specs »

What Does Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Lexus offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 70,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Lexus extends its original new-car warranty to six years or unlimited mileage. From the day you purchase or lease your Lexus CPO vehicle, you receive complimentary maintenance covering the next four factory-recommended services for two years or 20,000 miles. Every CPO Lexus must pass a 161-point inspection. Additional benefits like loaner cars, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Lexus warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Lexus has the best CPO program in the industry.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the RC?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2018 RC a Top Safety Pick+ and gave it the top rating of Good in all six crash worthiness tests. It also earned a Superior rating for front crash prevention. Models equipped with the standard LED headlights received a Good rating for their ability to illuminate the road ahead, while the optional Premium Triple Beam LED headlamps earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not test the 2018 RC.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera 
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • pedestrian detection
  • adaptive cruise control
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • lane keep assist
  • lane departure warning

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert

See RC safety scores »

2018 Lexus RC Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Lexus RC or 2018 Infiniti Q60?

The 2018 Infiniti Q60 coupe isn't a great pick in the luxury small car class. While it has a nice interior and comfy seats, the Q60 just isn’t as energetic or fun to drive as the RC, and its available engines can’t match the performance offered by the Lexus. The RC also boasts far more standard safety features and – despite its issues – a more modern infotainment system. Stick with the RC.

Which Is Better: 2018 Lexus RC or 2018 Lexus IS?

Lexus fans with a tighter budget should consider the 2018 Lexus IS. This four-door sedan often demands lower asking prices than its two-door coupe sibling. The IS also has a roomier back seat. Aside from the RC F's exclusive V8 engine, both models offer the same engine and transmission options, similar gas mileage, and comparable tech and safety features.

Compare the RC, Q60, and IS »

2018 RC Performance

How Does the 2018 Lexus RC Drive?

The RC coupe is among the sharpest-handling models in Lexus' lineup. Its steering is responsive, and the RC remains stable around tight turns. The RC rides quite comfortably as well, nicely soaking up rough pavement. That said, the RC can't match the agility of many of its lighter European rivals. The high-performance RC F will get you closest. It adds an adaptive suspension and upgraded brakes.

The turbocharged four-cylinder in the base model RC 300 supplies enough power for everyday driving, but we suspect most drivers will be more satisfied by the extra punch of the available V6 engines. For a truly racy experience, opt for the RC F and its big V8 engine. The RC F can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and blitz to a top speed of 170 mph.

  • Base engine: 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (RC 300)
  • Available engines:
    • 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 (RC 300 AWD)
    • 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 (RC 350)
    • 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 (RC F)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic (RWD models); six-speed automatic (AWD models)
Does the 2018 Lexus RC Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 Lexus RC gets below-average fuel economy estimates for the class.

  • RC 300, RWD: 22/32 mpg city/highway
  • RC 300, AWD: 18/24 mpg
  • RC 350, RWD: 20/28 mpg
  • RC 350 AWD: 18/24 mpg
  • RC F: 16/25 mpg

Read more about RC performance »

2018 RC Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 RC Seat?

The Lexus RC is a two-door coupe with four seats. The front seats are generally comfortable, but they could use extra padding for better support on longer trips. The optional sport seats add side bolstering that improves comfort and helps keep you secure around corners. The back seats are roomy enough for only small children, which is typical for a sports coupe. The RC's long doors can make it difficult to enter and exit the car in tight spaces.

Few cabins can match the RC’s opulence. Most interior surfaces are covered in first-rate materials, and the overall styling is crisp and elegant.

Standard seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • front sport seats with added support
  • power-adjustable and heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Lexus RC?

The 2018 RC has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the highest rating of Good for its ease of use.

2018 Lexus RC Features

The RC is available with two different infotainment systems. The standard system includes a 7-inch screen that's controlled by a knob on the center console. It’s not the most intuitive setup out there, but it’s user-friendly once you get used to it. The same can't be said of the available Remote Touch. The larger screen (10.3-inches) adds a navigation system, and it’s controlled using a joystick. This controller is very sensitive and can be distracting to use while driving. Consider sticking with the smaller 7-inch display for its simpler layout.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 7-inch display, the Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, Lexus Enform Service Connect, and Scout GPS Link navigation
  • Available infotainment features: 10.3-inch display, navigation, the Remote Touch controller, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system
  • Other standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and push-button start
  • Other available features: a panoramic moonroof

See 2018 Lexus RC specs »

Read more about RC interior »

2018 Lexus RC Dimensions

Lexus RC Cargo Space

The RC’s trunk measures just 10.1 cubic feet. Most luxury small cars have more. The rear seats in all but RC F models split and fold to accommodate longer items. The cabin doesn't have many cubbies or pockets to tuck away smaller items.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Lexus RC Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 4 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,737 to 3,891 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,820 to 4,949 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Lexus RC Built?

Lexus built the 2018 RC in Japan.


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