Written by Marco Carvajal
The RX 450hL is a medium-sized hybrid for six or seven passengers that comes with three rows of seats and all-wheel drive.
The Lexus RX 450HL AWD is now larger than ever with a third row of seats. It is comfortable, hybrid, low emissions environment-friendly and is the most powerful RX SUV ever.
Great fuel economy for this type of SUV at 29 MPG, is usually the reason to buy the hybrid RX 450hL version, instead of the regular gas engine RX 350L, but the real reason to buy it should be its powerful performance, making the RX 450 h L the most powerful RX ever made by Lexus.
308 total system horsepower
259 hp @ 6,000 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
247 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
29 MPG combined
29 city/ 28 highway
2018 Lexus RX 450hL AWD, Base price $50,620
The Most Powerful RX, 450h Hybrid
Lexus has been a pioneer on hybrid technologies, it introduced the world’s first luxury hybrid vehicle, a gas/electric version of the RX luxury utility vehicle, more than a decade ago, before any other luxury brand started to offer hybrid SUVs.
The RX 450h continues to show Lexus’ hybrid leadership, with 308 combined system horsepower for powerful performance and impressive 29 MPG combined EPA-estimated fuel economy.
The Lexus RX is well known for excellent quality, easy handling, luxury interior and reliability with the backup of the premium luxury brand Lexus, but it was only available for 5 passengers until 2018.
The new Lexus RX 450hL 2018, like his brother RX 350L, the RX has a longer body and an additional row of seats. The L version is based on the 450h, but is approximately 4 inches longer and has a folding seat in the third row.
The base model, the RX 450hL, features 18-inch wheels, LED exterior lighting, fog lamps, automatic high beams, automatic windshield wipers, electric liftgate.
The RX comes with dual zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, electrically adjustable steering wheel and a third row folding seat divided into 50/50. Standard technology features include the Remote Touch interface, an 8-inch screen, Safety Connect emergency communications, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system.
The RX 450h also adds 20-inch wheels, rear side sunshades, LED ambient lighting, illuminated thresholds, automatic dimming and folding side mirrors. An available optional premium package adds interior wood trim, driver seat memory settings, automatic dimming and folding side mirrors, and a storage compartment in the rear armrest.
Like other RX models, a package that groups navigation with a Mark Levinson premium audio system is available for an additional charge. It includes a 15-speaker surround sound system plus a 12.3-inch screen, Enform smartphone connectivity and a climate control smog sensor.
An optional cold weather package includes a wiper blade cleaner, an updated interior heater with a faster warm-up time, automatic leveling headlights and headlight washers, and automatic windshield wipers. Additional independent options include a color front screen, a rear hatch, improved LED headlights, 60/40 split folding seats in the second row and heated and ventilated front seats.
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid Engine
The 450h L is all wheel drive standard, and it uses a Lexus Hybrid Drive system that pairs a D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 engine that runs on a pair of front-mounted electric motors and generators, through a continuously variable automatic transmission to power the front wheels. Then a third electric motor powers the rear wheels. Instead of transfer gears and a drive power to the rear wheels, the standard all-weather drive system uses a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels, when needed, to help maintain optimal AWD traction.
The total output of the system is an impressive 308 horsepower.
The hybrid powertrain system offers perfect acceleration in all conditions with outstanding performance. The RX 450 drives on the road with authority without interruptions.
The steering, handling and braking are very similar to those of regular RX, except for a little extra weight.
The strong V6 engine is very quiet, you almost cannot hear it, making the ride more enjoyable.
The electronically controlled continuously variable automatic transmission feels very smooth on the road.
The brakes are firm and respond fast.
The cabin of the RX 450hL is beautiful, elegant, classy and modern. The interior stands out when compared to other similar SUVs. The materials look and feel rich with great quality typical of Lexus.
Passengers in the first and second row will find it easy to enter because the doors are narrow and the seat height is ideal. Getting to the third row is not easy due to a narrow area of passage, but it is a great alternative for children and smaller passengers.
The 450h L includes second-row comfort with first-class captain’s chairs, standard included on the RX 450h L.
From the main driving cabin of the RX, it has a lower driving position more similar to sedans than to other SUVs. There is enough room for the head and legs in the front and good space in general.
The straightened roof line of the RX 450hL reduces the load space when compared to the shorter RX.
The RX 450hL comes standard with driving safety features that are optional in other cars. Adding value and peace of mind to the driver of the 450h L.
I like its huge display screen. The Remote Touch interface, a joystick used to highlight icons on the 12.3-inch instrument panel display can be difficult to use while driving, but I learned how to use it and once you get used to it, it is easy to manage.
The RX includes several safety features standard. It comes standard with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, long-lasting side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
There is a rearview camera, adapted constant speed control, frontal collision warning and automatic braking, warning and intervention of lane departure, sunroof and ignition and keyless entry.
Optional safety features include a blind spot warning system included with rear cross traffic alert.
The “+ Lexus” security system adds adapted cruise control, a frontal collision alert system and mitigation with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, exit lane alert and lane change intervention. The blind spot monitoring and the subsequent cross traffic alert are optional.
This Lexus hybrid is probably the best SUV in its category and for sure it is the most powerful RX SUV available. I suggest to test drive it at your nearest Lexus dealer, you will be impressed and surprised with this hybrid SUV.