Last year, Lexus literally expanded the RX range with a seven-seat RX L model that added a third row of seating to this luxurious mid-size crossover. This year brings another expansion, although one less noticeable: the standard sized, hybrid powered RX 450h gains a new Luxury trim package to echo the one offered in the gasoline-fueled RX 350.
Beyond that, the RX is unchanged as Lexus's challenger in the mid-sized luxury category. It competes with other names you might be familiar with, like the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Volvo XC90.
As before, the 2019 RX comes with two powertrains. RX 350 uses a 3.5L V6 that makes 290 hp and 263 hp and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard AWD. The hybrid RX 450h takes that engine, tunes it for more efficient operation and mates it with electric motors for 308 hp. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic. AWD is standard too, with power supplied to the rear wheels by one of the electric motors; the other is built into the transmission.
To create the RX L, Lexus altered the rear portion of the body to add space for a third row without stretching the car's wheelbase. That was clearly a cost-saving measure that reaped real benefits, according to Lexus's claim the RX L offers class-leading cargo space behind the third row.
Despite its Toyota parent's dedication to electrified powertrains, the RX hybrid still lacks a plug-in option, while the competition at BMW and Volvo have embraced PHEV tech. The RX 450h is efficient for a vehicle of its size but can travel only short distances on electricity alone.
Standard equipment in the RX 350 includes a 12-speaker sound system, 8.0-inch infotainment display, 18-inch wheels, integrated garage door remote, LED headlights with auto-levelling and washers, heated and ventilated front seats, passive keyless entry, electric tailgate and reclining second-row seats.
Options include a navigation package (navigation and the Lexus remote-touch interface); a Luxury package (front and rear parking sensors, rear door sunshades, 12.3-inch infotainment display, LED taillights, premium leather upholstery and a wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel; and an Executive package (15-speaker stereo, hands-free tailgate, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, wide-view exterior camera system and power-folding second-row seats.
A pair of F Sport packages build on the Luxury and Executive groups and add sport styling cues.
The hybrid RX 450h adds the 12.3-inch touchscreen as standard along with 20-inch wheels. Otherwise, the Luxury and Executive packages bring similar additions as in the RX 350, and the posher of that car's two F Sport groups is available, too.
Lexus's fuel consumption estimates start at 7.5/8.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for the RX 450h and 8.1/8.4 in the RX 450h L. Ratings for gas models are 12.2/9.0 for the RX 350 and 13.1/9.4 in the RX 350 L.