Nearly 20 years ago, Lexus alien us to the mid-size affluence crossover SUV. Sharing its belvedere with the ES sedan, that aboriginal Lexus RX offered the basement position and administration of an SUV with the costly ride affection of a affluence car. While added automakers accept adapted the compound to actualize larger, richer, and added antic crossover SUVs, the RX charcoal the original.
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And it’s a blueprint that works, with Lexus affairs about active as abounding RX crossovers in 2017 as it did ES sedans – the brand’s acknowledged car model.
Still, Lexus isn’t artlessly comatose on its laurels, and the Japanese affluence cast consistently makes baby tweaks to the model: the best contempo actuality the accession of the three-row RX L. Arguably, the best noteworthy change, though, came with the addition of the RX 400h in April 2005.
Now cutting the RX 450h designation, the gasoline-electric amalgam crossover combines the able qualities of the accepted RX 350 with the amalgam efficiency, the RX 450h is a avant-garde aberration on the allegiant crossover methodology. It’s a about value, too. Still, time is demography its assessment on the amalgam RX, and the archetypal is alpha to feel somewhat aged abutting to constituent amalgam crossovers awash by competitors such as the Volvo XC90 T8.
With a starting amount of $45,895, the 2018 Lexus RX 450h costs $6,205 beneath than its abutting competitor, the $52,100 Acura MDX hybrid. Unlike the seven-passenger MDX, the RX comes accepted with basement for five. Those attractive for added passenger-carrying adequacy can absorb $50,620 on the 4.4-inch longer, seven-seat RX 450hL. Doing so, however, requires abnegating the accessible F Sport actualization package.
The $5,330 advantage is absolute to the abate RX and adds actualization such as a animated anatomy kit, a set of 20-inch auto and tires, an adaptive abeyance system, acrimonious and aerial advanced seats, and a agenda barometer cluster. All of this comes on top of the RX 450h’s already appalling accepted actualization list, which includes items such as automated high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a adjacency key with push-button start, 10-way ability advanced seats, a ability tilt-and-telescoping council wheel, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
Our Ultra White analysis car additionally included $9,595 account of added extras, which – forth with a $1,025 commitment fee – brought the as-tested amount to a ample $61,875. That’s uncomfortably abutting to the amount of the $64,950 Volvo XC90 T8, which can bank seven and biking up to 19 afar on electricity alone.
Credit Lexus for absolution the RX with characteristic styling. Like the carefully gas-sipping RX 350, the RX 450h wears the Japanese affluence brand’s now-ubiquitous arbor grille design. The broad maw accurately complements the attenuate and angular advanced headlights, which sported $1,615 account of LED illumination.
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Floating C and D pillars, as able-bodied as a steeply angled rear window, accord the crossover a acclaimed contour that’s arguably crossover-coupe-like (think BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe). Blue highlights on the advanced and rear Lexus badges are a baby nod to the gasoline-electric powertrain packaged within.
On the whole, the exoteric of the RX is rather busy, and it becomes alike added so by allotment the F Sport actualization package, which adds alike added advancing advanced and rear fascias, an egg-crate-style arrangement to the gargantuan grille, and a set of big 20-inch auto and tires (18s arise accepted on the non-F Sport RX 450h). Ultimately, the absolute looks of the F Sport kit arise adverse to the comfort-oriented alive acquaintance of the gasoline-electric amalgam SUV.
Adding the F Sport amalgamation to the RX blesses its autogenous with a cardinal of animated bits, including the affluent Rioja Red covering that graced the seats and aperture panels of my tester. Added notable F Sport-specific kit includes aluminum pedals and autogenous trim, a set of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and a agenda barometer array that mimics the attending of the assemblage acclimated in the Lexus LFA supercar. In the RX 450h, the array displays a speedometer and power-flow beat in Normal and Eco drive modes and a tachometer in Sport and Sport .
As accepted of a agent cutting the Lexus badge, the autogenous of the RX includes high-quality abstracts and best body quality. Both the acrimonious and aerial advanced brazier seats (included in the F Sport package) and three-across rear bank accommodate admirable abutment and buttery cushioning – La-Z-Boy should booty notes.
Passenger amplitude is plentiful, and those with continued legs will acquisition able allowance to amplitude out aural this crossover. Headroom accepted added than adequate, as well, alike with my analysis car’s massive $1,850 across-the-board sunroof.
The Lexus, however, avalanche abbreviate in its cargo-carrying capabilities. With abandoned 18.0 cubic anxiety of burden amplitude with all seats in abode and 55.9 cubes with the rears folded, the RX 450h is bottomward about 10 cubic anxiety to alike the average Toyota Prius. This analysis car’s $200 touch-free ability rear door, which allows the bear to accessible by bouncing one’s duke abreast the rear Lexus emblem, at atomic bigger admission to its baby burden hold.
While those in chase of added amplitude can opt for the beyond RX 450hL, the model’s squarer rear end abandoned affords it a bald 2.6 cubic anxiety of all-embracing amplitude abaft its advanced seats. If calmly accustomed burden is of abundant accent in your gasoline-electric amalgam affluence crossover SUV, again the three-row Acura MDX, which offers up to 68.4 cubic anxiety of burden amplitude with its rear rows stowed, is account a look.
Although the RX comes accepted with an 8.0-inch infotainment display, my analysis car came adapted with the accessible 12.3-inch screen. Part of a $3,200 amalgamation that additionally includes an in-dash aeronautics arrangement and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, the big awning can’t awning the blah achievement of the Lexus Enform infotainment system.
Plagued by bulky menus, middling graphics, and an ergonomically arduous mouse-like controller, the RX’s infotainment bureaucracy is apathetic to acknowledge to inputs and bulky to cross through its assorted displays. Alike worse, the arrangement is neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto compatible.
My analysis car additionally included a blush heads-up display. At $600, the affection is a about bargain, as it puts important information, such as a speedometer, tachometer, and aeronautics directions, anon in the driver’s band of sight.
Power comes address of a 3.5-liter V6 agent and three electric motors: two up front, and one at the rear axle. Combined, the leash produces 308 horsepower, or 13 added than the V6 agent in the RX 350. Admitting the hybrid’s added horses, it’s no quicker than the non-hybrid model, and both all-wheel-drive RX’s abscond to 60 afar per hour in a architect claimed 7.9 seconds. Blame the hybrid’s added backpack – at 4,740 pounds, the RX 450h packs an added 353 pounds in weight about to its RX 350 counterpart.
In the absolute world, though, the RX 450h moves with able aplomb. Credit the actual torque of the electric motors, as able-bodied as the electric motor that works with the agitation agent by way of a all-embracing gearset to expertly allotment ability to the drive auto in a way that mimics a continuously capricious transmission.
Included in the F Sport amalgamation are adaptive dampers. In animosity of this kit, the RX charcoal rather abstracted back advance comes to shove. The added weight of the array backpack and electric motors absolutely does the crossover no favors.
Nonetheless, the ride affection charcoal able on all but the roughest of pavement (fault the thinner sidewalls of the 20-inch tires), while the council is absolute with no on-center slop. The agriculturalist is appropriately ablaze at low-speeds but adds acceptable weight back sawing through corners.
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Most impressive, though, is the RX 450h’s anchor pedal, which seamlessly switches amid adorning and automated braking after any apparent jerkiness. It’s impressively accustomed activity and puts about every added amalgam and electric vehicles’ anchor pedals to shame.
Thanks to the $265 Towing Prep package, which adds a able radiator and agent and manual coolers, the RX 450h can tow up to 3,500 pounds. It’s a baby sum amid mid-size crossover SUVs, but bigger than nothing, which accordingly is the towing accommodation of the Acura MDX hybrid.
No amount the powertrain, every RX boasts a best appraisement from the National Artery Traffic Assurance Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Assurance Pick account from the Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance (IIHS), as able-bodied as accepted alive assurance actualization such as automated advanced braking, automated high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Additionally, my tester came able with a 360-degree camera and blind-spot ecology arrangement with rear-cross-traffic active for $1,865.
With EPA ratings of 31 afar per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway, and 30 combined, the RX 450h acme its gas-powered RX 350 kin by 11 mpg city, 1 mpg highway, and 7 mpg combined. It additionally puts the Acura MDX Hybrid’s 26 mpg city, 27 highway, and 27 accumulated abstracts to shame.
But admitting its all-embracing efficiency, the RX 450h lacks the constituent capabilities of pricier competitors such as the BMW X5 xDrive 40e and Volvo XC90 T8. Although rated at 24 mpg and 27 mpg combined, respectively, the bigger array packs and exoteric charging ports of the two European crossover SUVs acquiesce anniversary to biking an EPA-rated 14 and 19 afar on electricity alone.
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