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William Kinton
Automotive Editor - May 30, 2018

2018 Lexus RX OVERVIEW

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.

Lexus RX

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.

RX 350

Starting at $44,265 (including a $995 destination fee), the base RX 350 comes pretty well equipped. Even the most basic models include grey or black 10-way adjustable leatherette seats, dual-zone climate control, an eight inch infotainment screen, a nine-speaker audio system, and a variety of standard driver assistance features like lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and automatic high beams. As previously mentioned, the base RX 350 has access to the Premium and Luxury Packages, as well as upgrades for the Navigation and Sound system. Options available for the base trim include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring, parking assistance, and advanced headlights.

If you'd like to add a third row to your RX 350, the L trim costs an extra $4,400, bringing the price up to $48,665. As mentioned earlier, the L receives access to the same option packages as the base RX 350, but the prices are slightly different for the Premium and Luxury packages.

RX 350 F-Sport

The F-Sport trim starts at $49,915 for the RX 350 but you're required to pay for the $1,350 moonroof, so in reality you'll be out the door at $51,265. All of the features from the Premium Package are included with the F-Sport, and you can get almost every standalone option that you can get in the Base trim.

RX 450h

If you're looking for a more efficient engine, the RX 450h has you covered, starting at $46,690. The electric motor adds efficiency and power, making it a compelling choice for many buyers. The RX 450h comes with standard all-wheel drive, and chooses a CVT over a more standard automatic like in the RX 350. Standard features reflect those of the base RX 350, and the access to options and packages remain the same.

The upgrade to the L trim of the hybrid is slightly more expensive than the RX 350 at $4,925, bringing the price up to $51,615. Like the RX 350, the Premium and Luxury Packages differ slightly in price, but all of the options and packages remain the same.

The aggressive F-Sport trim has a price tag of $52,050, and the features, options and packages mirror the ones found in the RX 350. In some ways, the aggressive trimmings of the F-Sport seem to work better for the RX 450h due to the additional power you get from the hybrid engine, but it still doesn't make the crossover into a sports car though, and your money can probably be spent in better places.

CarsDirect Tip

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.

Get your price on a Lexus RX »

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