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2018 Lexus RX

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Top Expert-Rated 2018 Luxury Vehicles
2018 Lexus RX Expert Review

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 9.2

Comfortable and luxurious, the 2018 Lexus RX continues to dominate the midsize-luxury-SUV segment. Two models are available, the V6-powered RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid, which is a fuel-economy class leader. Lexus also offers the desirable RX F Sport for those who want a sportier driving experience and a more aggressive appearance. F Sport models get a sport-tuned suspension, larger wheels and tires, an in-your-face mesh grille, sport seats and an electronic gauge cluster with additional instrumentation. The new Lexus RX seats five comfortably and delivers a smooth ride, quiet interior and legendary Lexus reliability. It also leads the class with traditionally high resale value. Its long list of competitors includes the Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Audi Q5 and Cadillac XT5.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Lexus RX is smooth, quiet and comfortable with a luxurious interior and a long list of safety features. If fuel economy is a high priority, the RX 450h hybrid is a class leader, and the sporty F Sport models handle well and are fun to drive. All RXs enjoy excellent resale values.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If understated style is more your taste, the RX’s aggressive look and massive grille might not be for you. If you plan to leave the paved road in search of adventure, other SUVs like the Land Rover Discovery and Jeep Grand Cherokee are much better equipped for such rugged terrain.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.2
  • 8.6
  • 9.2
  • 7.8
  • 9.3
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#9

out of 25

Fuel Economy

#9

out of 25

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Lexus RX Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

For 2018 a blind-spot monitor and sunroof are available on the RX 350 base model and the RX 450h hybrid. Navigation and rear cross-traffic alert are also now available on the hybrid along with a new Premium Package. Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect system is now complimentary for 10 years.

Driving the RX
2018 Lexus RX Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The 2018 Lexus RX 350 remains a luxury SUV that places an emphasis on comfort and confidence over blistering performance. The ride is smooth and the interior is...

... quiet, isolating you from the harsh world outside its leather-lined interior. This is an SUV you can drive for hours with little fatigue. 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. Equipped with Lexus’ selectable drive-mode system, the F Sport adds a Sport S+ setting that increases steering feedback and quickens throttle response. The RX’s V6 is both powerful and impressively smooth, matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission that should be the standard by which all automatics are judged. The RX 450h hybrid combines an electric motor with the V6 delivering even more horsepower and torque with superior fuel economy.

LEXUS SAFETY SYSTEM+
The Lexus Safety System+ is standard on all 2018 Lexus RX models. The state-of-the-art system includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam Headlamps (IHB) and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

PANORAMIC VIEW MONITOR
This clever safety system takes the rearview camera to the extreme. It uses four cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the Lexus RX to create a bird’s-eye 360-degree view of the SUV on its large 12-inch monitor. It makes parking and backing safer and stress-free.

2018 Lexus RX Details
2018 Lexus RX Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

We expect a lot from a Lexus interior, and the 2018 RX delivers with upscale materials, exacting fit and finish and attractive modern design. The analog clock is an elegant touch. All models offer a large multimedia screen which is operated by a console-mounted mouse-like controller some may find frustrating to use. The seats are plush, and there is plenty of head- and legroom in back. Beware of rear blind spots from the narrow roof design. Cargo space is impressive, with over 18 cubic feet behind the rear seats and over 56 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Exterior
2018 Lexus RX photo

Lexus doesn’t do boring anymore. The brand has moved away from its attractive but stoic styling and now creates some of the most daring and dynamic shapes on the road. With its gaping “spindle” grille, high beltline and futuristic hard edges, the 2018 Lexus RX isn’t classically beautiful, but you’re not going to lose it in the Target parking lot. More important, no one is going to confuse it for a minivan. The F Sport’s larger 20-inch wheels give the RX an aggressive stance, and the SUV’s blacked-out C-pillar behind its rear windows gives its roof a unique floating appearance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Lexus RX has always been well-equipped, and the latest model is no different. Even a base RX comes with a power tailgate, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a faux-leather interior, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, a HomeLink garage-door opener, 18-inch wheels, and the Lexus Safety System+ with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams and lane-departure alert. The standard infotainment system includes an 8-inch command screen, 9-speaker audio with USB, Bluetooth, Micro SD card slot and auxiliary input, and Siri Eyes Free for Apple iPhones.

Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional on the new RX 350 and standard on the RX 450h hybrid. F Sport models can be front-wheel drive (FWD). Other options include leather seating, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, a touch-free tailgate, navigation, a larger 12.3-inch screen, and a fantastic-sounding 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. F Sport models add 20-inch wheels, paddle shifters, adaptive variable suspension, and unique front and rear fascias. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system with dual screens, a Heads-Up Display and a Panoramic View Monitor, which gives you a 360-degree view of the SUV’s surroundings, are also available.

Under the Hood
2018 Lexus RX Engine photo

The 2018 RX 350 uses Lexus’ tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower and strong fuel economy for its class. Unlike some luxury SUV rivals, this one runs just fine on regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline. The V6 works with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, which gets paddle shifters on the F Sport. The most efficient Lexus RX remains the 450h hybrid, which delivers class-leading fuel economy. It pairs the 3.5-liter V6 with a battery-electric powertrain and standard AWD. No plugging in is required, and it gets its best mileage in the city, but premium gasoline is recommended. The 2018 RX 450h has a total output of 308 horsepower and delivers up to 31 mpg in the city. The Lexus RX’s towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.

3.5-liter V6 (RX 350)
295 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)

3.5-liter V6 + 123-kW electric motor (RX 450h)
259 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (gasoline engine only)
Total system horsepower: 308
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm (gasoline engine only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/28 mpg (AWD)

The 2018 Lexus RX 350 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $45,000 for a FWD model. AWD costs an additional $1,400, while the Lexus RX 350 F Sport begins at about $50,000. Hybrid Lexus RX 450h models cost around $54,000. The priciest Lexus RX is the 450h F Sport, which starts near $58,000. Adding options to any model can increase the bottom line by thousands. At these prices, the Lexus continues to significantly undercut German rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5. It is in line with the 3-row Acura MDX, and above the starting prices of the Lincoln MKX, Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new RX. In addition to having a stellar track record in reliability, the Lexus RX has a tradition of holding its value extremely well.

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