Lexus is pricing the new 2018 RX 450hL three-row hybrid SUV—announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2017—with a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $50,620—$1,550 more than its gasoline-engined RX 350L AWD three-rowed sibling. The RX 450hL is set to go on sale at dealers in April. Lexus introduced the first luxury hybrid—the 2006 RX 400h—and now holds 40% of the US luxury hybrid market.
With the new RXhL model, Lexus extended the body length 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models to ensure more headroom for third-row passengers. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second-row seats forward.
Lexus designed the third row of the RXL models to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard.
The RX 450hL enjoys the same standard equipment as the 350L, with the added feature of Captain’s Chairs as standard.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system mates the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower for strong acceleration and passing performance, and a planetary-type electronic continuously variable transmission.
A 37 kW nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) hybrid battery provides the hybrid system energy storage.
Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.
In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV, that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances.
The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature.
A number of technologies enhance structural rigidity, including high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding; liberal use of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, and annular frame construction for strengthened frame sections around the front and rear doors.