2018 Lexus RX Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2018 Lexus RX Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. There is little difference in performance between this luxury midsize SUV and its gas-only version (which isn’t the case with every hybrid). It has strong acceleration and smoothly transitions from electric to gas power.

  • "With the F Sport package teamed to the hybrid platform, the RX becomes a performance SUV with exceptional handling and fuel-economy numbers of which its rivals can only dream." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "It's a hybrid that doesn't draw attention to itself, and that's a good thing. The fact that you can now enjoy the hybrid's fuel economy benefits with the F Sport's superior driving dynamics makes the 450h even more appealing." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Smooth, solid and quiet. If it isn't exactly fast, the 2016 RX is lively enough to occasionally encourage its driver to push." -- Autoweek (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Lexus RX 450h is a hybrid SUV that features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors that produce a combined 308 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (which functions like an automatic) comes standard. This SUV accelerates quickly, and it has enough power for all driving situations. The transition between electric and gasoline power is smooth.

The RX Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class.

  • "The RX 450h hybrid combines an electric motor with the V6 delivering even more horsepower and torque with superior fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The transitions among electric, gasoline and combined driving modes are as smooth and seamless as you'll find." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "The gas-electric RX 450h hybrid uses the same Atkinson-cycle V-6 and dual electric motors as before. It's a smooth setup that Toyota has perfected over the years, and fuel economy remains right around 30 mpg, which is impressive considering the hybrid model's hefty curb weight of 4,600-4,700 pounds -- about 350 pounds more than the RX 350. The hybrid's instantaneous torque makes it feel a bit quicker than the standard V-6, meaning the newly available F Sport hybrid is less of a contradiction than you might think." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

Unlike many rivals, the RX Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive. This SUV focuses on comfort, and it provides the plush ride you want from a luxury vehicle. Class rivals are more athletic, but the RX Hybrid remains composed on winding roads. You can upgrade to the F Sport trim for a sportier ride.

  • "Changes were made to the suspension and drivetrain as well, but the 2017 Lexus RX 350 remains a luxury SUV that places an emphasis on comfort and confidence over blistering performance. We're not saying the Lexus can't handle tight turns or twisting back roads, but if you're seeking razor-sharp reflexes, a step up to the F Sport trim is in order." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Its steering is nicely balanced, but it feels slow to react. In normal driving through parking lots and on interstate roads, it won't be an issue, but when trying to negotiate switchbacks or mountain twisties, it becomes more apparent." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "Saw at the wheel a few times and you can feel the extra weight want to keep going against the direction of the steering. The hybrid understeers more readily, even with AWD. If the in-dash power distribution display can be trusted, the RX 450h seems as willing to electrically power up its back wheels, but it doesn't achieve the same levels of rear torque as the RX 350." -- Autoweek (2016)

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