The Lexus RX series has become the definitive example of the kind since its introduction spawned the luxury crossover market twenty years ago. Throughout that time, the RX has been seen as a benchmark for many other automakers due to its reliability, comfort, and upscale interiors. While it's not exactly the most exciting choice for a luxury crossover, it is predictable and dependable, two qualities that bring back Lexus RX buyers year after year.
What's New for 2018
The biggest change to the 2018 Lexus RX line was the inclusion of new longer "L" models to the RX 350 and RX 450h. The L models extend the length of the RX by 4.3 inches, which is enough to add a third row of seating comfortably in the back. Additionally, the Lexus RX now comes with a 10 year complimentary subscription to Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect services, which offer niceties like roadside assistance and vehicle health monitoring reports.
Choosing Your Lexus RX
Lexus offers two flavors for the RX: the conventionally powered RX 350 and the hybrid RX 450h. The RX 350 receives a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is available in both front wheel-drive or all wheel-drive for an extra $1,400. The RX 450h pairs the same 3.5-liter V6 with an electric motor, boosting the power to 308 horsepower and the fuel economy to 31 mpg city/28 mpg highway/30 mpg combined. The hybrid RX also gets a CVT transmission, and all wheel-drive comes standard.
Both the RX 350 and the RX 450h have the same three different trim packages available, including the well equipped Base trim level, the aforementioned longer L model, and the the sporty looking F-Sport. Base and L trims of both variants come similarly equipped at the basic level and have access the Premium Package and the Luxury Package, which cost $1,100 and $4,180 respectively in the base model and $810 and $5,015 in the L trim levels. The Premium Package adds the choice of several leather interior trim configurations, memory functions for the driver's seat and folding door mirrors. The Luxury Package ups the ante with 20-inch wheels, exquisite semi-aniline leather, rear-door sunshades, ambient lighting a unique wood and leather heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats. Additonally, the Base and L trims of both RX models have access to the $315 Cold Weather Package which adds wiper de-icers and a fast response heater, and the self-descriptive $2,120 Navigation Package and $3,200 Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Sound Package. If you need to tow something with your RX, be sure to equip the $210 Towing Package that adds additional engine cooling.
The F-Sport trim is a unique design package offered on both the RX 350 and RX 450h standard wheelbase models. This package is heavy on the style, and light on the actual performance upgrades; the only changes in the latter category are an active suspension and an additional Sport S+ Drive mode, while the engine remains the same, albeit with an artificial sound enhancer. Instead, your money goes into more aggressive-looking design choices inside and out, with unique interior options. The F-Sport trim gets the goodies from the Premium Package as standard, but doesn't have access to the Luxury Package. However, it does receive access to the Navigation, Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Sound, and Cold Weather packages, and all options from the base vehicle save for the panoramic moonroof.
Believe it or not, the RX 450h is the best selling hybrid that Lexus sells, and for good reason. People love crossovers, but the extra power and greatly increased fuel economy is a great selling point for a fairly minor premium. We'd forgo the F-Sport trim, as the design looks and active suspension of the F-Sport aren't enough to make it worth the premium. However, we would go with the Luxury Package as it can make the interior look very classy. Whether or not you want the longer wheelbase of the L model is an entirely personal decision, so examine your needs to figure out if that third row is worth it for you.
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