A strong road presence, unparalleled passenger comfort and a practical amount of storage space are absolute requirements for any luxury SUV maker. Environmental friendliness is often an afterthought, or at least not a priority. This isn't the case with the 2018 Lexus RX 450h, the hybrid variant of the massively successful RX 350 crossover. Not only is the 450h quicker and more efficient than its gas-only sibling, its price point is lower than it has been in years.
One of our primary complaints against the RX 450h in the past was its high price tag relative to the standard RX 350. Part of that was due to the 450h's substantial list of standard features, which was far more robust than the base 350's equipment roster. That changes for 2018; the 450h loses some luxuries in exchange for a lower base price, so it doesn't cost a fortune if you just want the hybrid powertrain. You can always put these features back in through a combination of packages and stand-alone options.
Like other Lexus vehicles, the RX 450h boasts high-quality interior appointments, a quiet ride and exceptional everyday livability. Also like other Lexus models, the mouselike controller for the infotainment interface is exceptionally difficult to use — take it for an extensive test run before you commit to buying the car. Other than that, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h is as solid as they come, and should be a top choice for luxury SUV buyers in the market for a fuel-efficient people mover.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Lexus RX 450h is a five-passenger midsize luxury SUV. Although there is officially only one base trim level, the F Sport package deserves a special mention, as it drastically changes the character of the SUV. It features different styling, an upgraded suspension and a lower ride height. Otherwise, both the regular and F Sport versions of the RX 450h come well equipped and are available with the same option packages. Just keep in mind that the availability of those options can vary based on the region of the country you live in.
Every RX 450h is all-wheel drive, powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motor-generators (one on each front wheel and one controlling the rears). The power unit's combined 308 horsepower is routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Standard equipment highlights for the base RX 450h include 18-inch wheels, LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, taillights and running lights), automatic high beams, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic braking, lane departure warning and intervention, and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside, the RX includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat (reclines, slides and folds) and a cargo cover. Tech features include the Remote Touch interface, an 8-inch color display, Safety Connect emergency communications, voice controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 12-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio and two USB ports.
The F Sport package adds sportier exterior styling, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a lower ride height, an engine noise enhancer, special gauges, heated and ventilated sport seats, a heated sport steering wheel and special interior trim.
There are a number of notable packages available for the RX 450h, whether you stick with the base model or check the box for the F Sport. These include the Cold Area (a windshield wiper de-icer, auto-leveling headlights, headlight washers and a heavy-duty heater), Premium (auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, driver-seat memory settings and leather upholstery) and Luxury (20-inch wheels, a wood-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, rear sunshades and upgraded leather upholstery) packages. A Towing package is also available, adding a heavy-duty alternator, radiator and transmission oil cooler.
There are numerous stand-alone options, some of which require adding one or a few of the aforementioned packages. Options include a color head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding and heated rear seats, a hands-free liftgate, upgraded LED headlights, a 12.3-inch central display (bundled with a navigation system) and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Lexus RX 450h F Sport (3.5L V6 hybrid | CVT automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current RX 450h has received some revisions, including new safety equipment added in 2017 and the deletion of some standard features in 2018. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's RX 450h.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.