Lexus RX

John Mengel

There’s a reason the Lexus RX is regularly atop the sales charts in its highly contested segment: Its flashy styling and unperturbed comfort are two important attributes buyers of compact luxury crossovers want. As auto enthusiasts, we prefer offerings from BMW and Alfa Romeo, but the RX finds a home in many driveways thanks to its softly sprung suspension, refined ride, and comfortable interior. Its optional hybrid powertrain is appealing to fuel-conscious buyers, and a new three-row variant provides a little extra space for people and cargo. Our complaints center on driving dynamics—which may or may not matter to you—and the lackluster infotainment system, which is in need of modernization. Even so, there’s still a lot to love about the cushy RX.

What’s New for 2018?

A three-row variant joins the lineup for 2018 in the form of the RX L. Its wheelbase is the same as the two-row RX’s, but its overall length grows 4.4 inches to allow for the installation of a power-operated two-seat third row. Lexus provides climate controls, cupholders, and leather seating surfaces for third-row passengers, but these jump seats will be strictly for youngsters, as there’s not enough space for adults. The RX450h receives a new entry-level model in its lineup that reduces the price of the hybrid powertrain by more than $7000. A new Premium package for the RX450h adds wood and leather interior trim, a rear-armrest storage compartment, power-folding exterior mirrors, and memory settings for the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and mirrors. Beyond these revisions, the RX is virtually unchanged for 2018.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

We still think the F Sport treatment puts the RX in its best attire, so we’ll stick with our pick from last year. The RX350 F Sport carries a starting price of $51,495 for 2018—$1380 more than last year—but that price now includes a power sunroof. We’d take it easy with other options, but the $2120 Navigation package seems like a good deal. It adds:

• 12.3-inch infotainment display
• In-dash navigation and DVD/CD player
• 12-speaker premium sound system

For $53,615, our front-wheel-drive RX350 F Sport is ready to roll; all-wheel drive is available for an additional $1400.

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