2018 Lexus RX Hybrid

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MSRP: $45,895 - 54,555

2018 Lexus RX Hybrid Review

The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid boasts strong fuel efficiency and an attractive interior, which helps it earn a top-third spot in our luxury midsize SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Roomy, comfortable seats
  • Frustrating infotainment system
  • Subpar cargo capacity

Is the Lexus RX Hybrid a Good SUV?

Yes – the Lexus RX Hybrid is a good choice among luxury midsize SUVs. In fact, its high quality and value made it a finalist for our Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for the Money award. The  Lexus RX 450h bests every class rival when it comes to gas mileage. Though some competitors are sportier, the RX Hybrid has decent handling, quick acceleration, and a smooth ride.

Step inside, and you'll notice a striking design, premium materials, and comfortable seats. The RX Hybrid was also a finalist for our Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families award because of its long list of safety features as well as positive reviews from the automotive press.

That said, there are a few downsides to this Lexus. First off, it has below-average cargo space, and its infotainment system is frustrating to operate.

Should I Buy the Lexus RX Hybrid?

Shoppers seeking a luxurious SUV with great fuel efficiency will find a lot to like with the RX Hybrid. However, if you’re seeking a large cargo bay and driving enjoyment, the RX Hybrid is a poor choice. Your best bet is to comparison shop the RX Hybrid against nonhybrid class rivals, such as the BMW X5 and Lexus RX 350, and hybrid class rivals like the Acura MDX Hybrid.

Compare the RX Hybrid, MDX Hybrid, and RX 350 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus RX Hybrid?

The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year, and there have been a few changes to the standard features list over the years. For example, the 2016 model had standard leather upholstery as well as heated and ventilated front seats. These became optional for the 2017 model. All-wheel drive became standard for 2017, but it was optional in previous models.

The 2018 model’s starting price is roughly $7,000 lower than the average price of the 2017 model and only a couple thousand dollars more than the 2016 model. However, it doesn’t come with as many standard features as those models. A long-wheelbase 450L trim is also available for the 2018 RX 450h. If you're looking for a newer model and would rather add on features you really desire, go for the 2018 model. However, you can still likely get a used RX with a long list of features for less money.

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 RX Hybrid and 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid. To learn about used car incentives, check out our Used Car Deals page.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid »
We Did the Research for You: 30 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. This 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid review uses applicable research and data from the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

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.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus RX Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lexus RX Hybrid or Acura MDX Hybrid?

The Acura MDX Hybrid has much better performance than the RX Hybrid, thanks to its energetic powertrain and lithe handling. The Acura MDX Hybrid seats two additional passengers over the standard-wheelbase RX Hybrid (seven versus the Lexus' five). However, the new long-wheelbase RX Hybrid model matches the Acura’s seating capacity. The Lexus has a good amount of standard features, a higher-quality interior, better fuel economy, an above-average predicted reliability rating (the MDX’s is below average), and a lower price – even with the long-wheelbase version. Go with the RX Hybrid for a more luxurious and fuel-efficient SUV at a better price.

Which Is Better: Lexus RX 450h or Lexus RX 350?

The non-hybrid version of the RX 450h – the Lexus RX 350 – starts roughly $2,400 lower than the RX 450h. Both models have comfortable handling and an available F Sport trim. Like the RX 450h, the RX 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine, but the hybrid's three electric motors give it more horsepower (308 in the hybrid versus the nonhybrid's 295). The RX 450h has superior fuel economy (31/28 mpg versus 20/27 mpg), equating to a fuel savings of about $150 per year. If you're willing to pay extra for these extras, go with the RX 450h. Otherwise, the RX 350 is a good alternative.

Which Is Better: Lexus RX 450h or BMW X5?

The BMW X5 has a much higher starting price than the RX 450h (by roughly $11,500). However, the X5 has more standard features, including a panoramic moonroof and a power liftgate. Its standard infotainment system is also larger and easier to use than the RX 450h's. Yet, where the X5 really shines is performance. Its ride is a little on the firm side, but this luxury midsize SUV can tackle twist and turns with ease. The X5 also has several engine options that are stronger than the RX 450h. Moreover, plug-in hybrid and turbodiesel variants are available, but they'll cost you over $60,000. Also, in order to outpace the 450h's fuel economy, you'll have to opt for the plug-in hybrid.

The Lexus' standard setup gets you better gas mileage, a comfortable ride, and additional advanced safety features, including forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. If you're looking for an SUV that carves corners, go with the X5. If not, go with the more affordable RX 450h.

Compare the RX Hybrid, MDX Hybrid, and RX 350 »

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, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker sound system, and a navigation system.

Available features include a 12.3-inch display, a panoramic moonroof, and a 15-speaker sound system.

The standard infotainment system’s large screen is easy to see. However, the mouselike Remote Touch controller makes the system frustrating to use.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

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.

Read more about performance »

RX Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus RX Hybrid Reliable?

The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid earns an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

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.

Read more about reliability »

RX Hybrid Safety

RX Hybrid Crash Test Results

The Lexus RX Hybrid was not independently crash tested. The non-hybrid version 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 and park assist. 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, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic braking are available.

Read more about safety »

Which Lexus RX Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The RX Hybrid currently gives you three options. 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. Lexus now offers a new RX L model, which has a third-row 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 leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker sound system, 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, heated and ventilated front seats, power-folding heated rear seats, a 12.3-inch display, a panoramic moonroof, a hands-free power liftgate, a 15-speaker sound 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, adaptive variable suspension, bolstered heated, ventilated front seats. The same optional features available in the base trim are available for the F Sport trim.

Lexus RX 450hL

The RX 450hL ($50,620) is a new-for-2018 trim in the RX Hybrid lineup. This model offers seating for up to seven people, and it has a similar features list to the base 450h.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Lexus RX Hybrid is a good SUV that delivers terrific efficiency and a posh cabin that you’ll love to spend time in. The luxury midsize SUV segment is highly competitive, however, and there are rivals that deliver in areas where this Lexus doesn’t. But overall, the RX Hybrid deserves its ranking in the top third of the class, and there are many reasons for buyers to consider it.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you're seeking a 5-passenger luxury SUV that delivers a smooth ride, comfortable cockpit and loads of luxury and safety features, then the 2017 … RX 450h hit[s] the mark. Money savvy consumers will appreciate the RX's excellent resale values and low maintenance costs." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The fourth-generation Lexus RX has a bit more room, a bit more power, a bit better mileage and bit more dynamism, without straying far from the formula that made its predecessors great. We'd call the … RX 450h a smashing success." -- Autoweek (2016)
  • "With its additional luxury equipment, more deluxe cabin, continued plush ride, and creamy powertrain, the fourth-generation RX builds on its existing strengths more than it establishes new ones. Not to dissuade all those restless models, actors, directors -- and carmakers -- out there, but the lesson seems to be: Don't be too eager to ditch what you're really good at. Excelling at something different is harder than it looks." -- Car and Driver (2016)
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