The current 4th generation of the Lexus RX was only introduced in 2016 meaning it is still fresh and thus not in need of huge changes. Therefore, the 2018 Lexus RX is largely unchanged. The most notable change for the 2018 model year is the fact that the Enform Service Connect and Enform Safety Connect are complimentary for 10 years; the automaker previously offered these features on a one year trial basis. The RX crossover still retains its practical design as well as soft ride. The model slots between the bigger GX and the smaller 2018 Lexus NX.
2018 Lexus RX Exterior
The 2018 Lexus RX features a good blend of sedan-like luxury and comfort with the versatility of an SUV. The exterior is characterized by sharp curves and creases. The most recognizable feature is the signature spindle grille which has chrome surround. The grille is further flanked by Bi-LED headlights. There is, however, an option for L-shaped LED headlights with 3 L-shaped elements on either side. The automaker has tried to mimic the grille’s spindle theme at the rear by using L-shaped taillights that envelop the tailgate and binds into the model’s rear fenders.
The base RX 350 rides on 18-inch alloy wheels but buyers can choose 20-inch wheels. The RX 450h comes standard with 20-inch wheels.
The design is capped off by a floating-roof look courtesy of blacked-out C-pillars.
The F Sport package adds 10-spoke 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a black mesh grille, black side mirrors and unique F Sport badging.
The 2018 Lexus RX is available in 11 exterior colors all of which are scratch-resistant; they also feature a self-restoring coat thanks to the use of the high-performance macromolecular polymer.
To give the German made haulers a run for their money, Lexus has had to hook up the RX cabin with premium equipment finished in flawless detailing. Things get even better with the F Sport which features a satin brushed-aluminum trim. Opting for the Premium or Luxury package gets you premium wood trim on the center console stretching all the way to the glove box. Buyers can also opt for Espresso Walnut, Matte Bamboo, Striated Black trim, Gray Sapele Wood and Matte Dark Mocha Wood.
The RX seats are form-fitting. The cabin accommodates five passengers; its low seating position provides passengers with a seating position similar to that of the LS luxury sedan. The RX also features a full-color Heads-Up Display that is integrated into the instrument panel; the system projects information to the windshield to ensure the driver does not shift focus from the road.
For the F-Sport, the cabin has an 8.0-inch LCD instrument cluster whose design is adopted form the LFA Supercar. The model features quilted leather seats in an exclusive Rioja Red color. Other features include aluminum interior accenting, non-slip lightweight aluminum footrest and pedals and perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever. The sports steering wheel features three spokes and has an F-Sport badge.
Safety is well taken care of; every Lexus RX features as standard automatic high beams, forward-collision warning assisted by automatic emergency braking, active-lane control, adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera. A surround-view camera system and blind-spot monitoring are optional.
In terms of cargo carrying capacity, the RX 350 has 18.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats; space expands to 56.3 cubic feet once the split-folding rear seats are folded. The RX 450h has a smaller carrying capacity as hybrid drive-train components have taken more space. When rear seats are in place, it offers 18 cubic feet of cargo space and 55.9 cubic feet once they are folded. The RX is capable of towing 3,500 lbs when it is properly equipped.
Engine and performance
Buyers have an option between two engines, a conventional mill, and a hybrid. The conventional mill, a 3.5 L, V-6 powers the RX 350 trim. The mill produces 295 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission (comes with paddles shifters in F Sport models). The RX 350 can be had in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. In front-wheel drive, the engine returns 20 mpg in city and 27 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway with AWD.
The hybrid drive-train powers the RX 450h; the setup combines the 3.5 L, V-6 with 3 electric motors. The electric motors are supported by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Power is channeled to all 4 wheels via a CVT system. The drive-train produces 308 hp. The V-6 drives the front wheels while the electric motors drive the rear wheel which enables the model to launch on electric power alone. The engine is quite economical with an EPA rating of 31 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on highway drives.
Both engines are offered with an array of driving modes which can be varied to suit the situation, they are Normal, Eco and Sport. Adding the F Sport package adds three more modes which are Customized, Sport S as well as Sport S+.
Price and release date
The front-wheel-drive RX 350 is the cheapest of the lineup with an MSRP of $43,220 exclusive of a $995 destination charge. AWD models add an extra $1,400. Premium and Luxury packages are available at an extra price. RX 350 F sport models start at $49,120 for front-wheel drive models while AWD models also attract an extra $1,400. The base RX 450h AWD starts at $53,035 while adding the F Sport treatment bumps the price to $56,645. Sales of the RX will start before the end of the year after the model makes a public appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show which will be held from October 27 to November 4.