With this level of oomph, it’s amazing this SUV can seat 7!
With a luxurious interior including a wood steering wheel, head-up display, and oh-so-much-more, luxury comes with more seating in the 2019 Lexus RX450hL. The fact that it seats up to seven AND is a hybrid is huge in my book. Add to it that it’s luxury and family-friendly, and the Lexus RX L is a car that we loved spending time in.
You might know the Lexus RX as the first and most popular luxury crossover. Lexus introduced it in 1998 and since then it’s been a top selling luxury car and also, the top selling Lexus model. A few years ago Lexus upped the oomph factor with more aggressive and future-forward styling.
Then, responding to customers who wanted this car but needed more passenger space, Lexus introduced the RX L last year, making the car just a bit longer (about 6 inches) and adding a third row. The hybrid version has a 6-cylinder engine and produces 308 horsepower, a solid amount of power to haul this not overly large car and its 6 or 7 passengers.
Speed and Handling Give You All the Driving Enjoyment You Want
With 308 horsepower and a self-charging hybrid motor, speed is a given. The off-the-start feel when in sport mode is extra exhilarating. But the handling still feels safe and extremely responsive around turns and navigation through everything from school pick-up in a tight parking lot to curvy mountain roads (of which I did both in this beauty). The feel of control when in the driver’s seat of the Lexus RX450hL is second-to-none.
Who This Car is For
- Families who want a luxury car
- Families who need an all wheel drive crossover, which means higher ground clearance and a flexible cargo area
- Buyers who occasionally need a third row
- Drivers who want more cargo space than the RX350 offers
- Buyers who want a luxury SUV
- Buyers who want the reliability of Lexus
- Buyers who appreciate the Lexus service promise, which adds to the luxury experience
How Much Does the Lexus RX L Hybrid 3-Row SUV Cost?
- The gas-only RX350 L starts at $47,870 USD/ $66,250 CAD
- The RX450hL starts at $51,845 USD / $77,600 CAD and is offered in all wheel drive and includes leather seating, power lift gate, drive mode select and keyless entry and push button start;
- Add premium details including leather surfaces, power seats, extra storage, ambient lighting and a power moonroof, $3,935;
- Add navigation, Enform app suite and Mark Levinson premium sound system, $3,225
- Price of the model we tested, with delivery charge of $1,025: $60,030 USD/$80,804CAD
Seats up to Seven, but Would You Want to?
The RX 450hL replaces the second-row bench seat with two captains chairs as standard equipment. I much prefer captains chairs in the second row if use of the third row on a regular basis is necessary. This means that third row passengers can pass through the second row to climb into the back. However, this means that you can only seat up to six, as the third row seats only two.
For buyers who want a second row bench, and if you have a baby in a car seat you may want to position the seat in the center of the second row, the center seats slide forward and tilt for access to the third row.
The third-row seats are slightly elevated to allow for legroom, but it would only be suitable for children and even then, for a short amount of time in the car. You wouldn’t want to have someone back there regularly or for longer drives since it’s so tight. But, it’s great for carpool, taking the kids and their friends to the movies or letting
Like many of the not-overly-large three-row SUVs, when the third row is in use there is little room for cargo. The Lexus RX450hL is no exception; there’s room for backpacks or a few hockey bags, but not a lot else. The Lexus RX L does come standard with roof rails, so if you need to take a longer drive, a road trip or vacation, for instance, and want the third row up for comfort, you can stow luggage on the roof.
A Comfortable Cabin For All Passengers
The driver and passenger comfort are well thought out and luxurious feeling. The heads-up display and wood trimmed steering wheel were my favorite features. I also appreciated that every time I turned off the vehicle, the Lexus seat memory featured kicked in: The seat automatically moved back a little to allow me to get in and out easily , and when I turned it back on, it brought the seat back forward to where I had it set last time I drove.
The second-row is comfortable, however, the seats are on sliding rails to allow for more leg room for third row passengers. This means that leg room is minimal in the second row when the third row is in use. When the third row isn’t needed, there is plenty of space, legroom, and comfort in the captain’s chairs in the second row.
What’s Missing? Apply CarPlay and More USB Ports Please!
Yes, there’s tons of luxury in this car. And, while you do have everything you need, there are a few conveniences that would have been great to have: Apple CarPlay and more USB Ports.
It is great that the second and third row seats are heated, but I was surprised there weren’t USB chargers in the rear for passengers (aka my kids) as well. Passengers will have to access the USB ports in the center console.
And while Bluetooth connectivity is included, Lexus offers its proprietary system for managing audio, navigation and voice calls. Apple CarPlay has not yet been added but Lexus is in the process of updating its models with this great technology (as well as Android Auto)
For me, Apple CarPlay is a must for three reasons:
- Voice to text while driving
- Making phone calls
- Managing my Apple Music while driving on the touchscreen
- Maps and navigation; you can keep all your directions and destinations stored in your phone but use them on the information screen
I did appreciate the generously sized screen display for infotainment and navigation, however, it’s not a touchscreen which I feel is a miss at this price-point.
Safety Is Not a Luxury, But in This Luxury Car it’s Standard
The 2019 Lexus RX 450hL hybrid also offers drivers and passengers peace of mind through a comprehensive safety package – starting with Lexus Safety System +. This bundle of active safety technologies includes:
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
- Lane departure alert with lane keep assist
- Radar adaptive cruise control
- Automatic high beam system
- LSS+ supports the driver’s awareness and decision-making under a variety of traffic conditions and contingencies.
Other standard safety features include the blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, whiplash injury-lessening front seats, backup sensors, a backup camera, an anti-theft system and more.
The Fuel Economy You Expect From a Hybrid
The Lexus RX450hL offers very good fuel economy for an SUV this size. Lexus estimates it will get an average 29 MPG city and 28 highway, or 5.4L/8.4 per (City/Hwy) 100KM, which is on par with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. I personally had 10L/100KM fuel economy over the week (I drove about 250 KM), or about 24MPG. But then again, I really loved driving in sport mode, which might have impacted my fuel economy. Premium fuel is recommended for maximum engine performance but not required; regular fuel is fine.
What We Loved
- All the premium touches including leather, head up display and the rich feeling of the wood-accented steering wheel
- A sublime and fun drive experience; you don’t always expect that in a family SUV!
- A comfortable cabin
- Center row captains chairs
- A third row for when you need it
- Push button controls for the third row
- The RX L is 6 inches longer than the standard RX model
- Great hybrid fuel economy
You Need To Know
- The RX L long wheel base and hybrid model are top of the line
- Added luxuries like the moon roof and leather-covered surfaces added to the cost
- Safety features are standard
- The infotainment system is a mouse-and-toggle system, not a touch screen
- Apple CarPlay was not an option on this model but will be for future models
I absolutely loved driving this vehicle. It’s sporty, luxurious and can accommodate the lifestyle of a busy [small] family. At this price point, all of the luxury features are warranted.
Disclosure: The Lexus 450RXhl was provided for this review; all opinions are my own.