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We drive the 2019 Lexus RX 450h L

by Ali Arsham
Friday, January 11, 2019


Lexus RX 450h L
Lexus RX 450h L

Three row SUVs are very popular and the Lexus RX has been feeling left out. So, Lexus made the RX longer and made room for two more people.  And because it is a Lexus, you can still have your luxury in gas or hybrid versions. We tested a new RX450hL to see if it is as good as advertised.

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 get better headroom for the third row passengers. The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat.

Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. Our car had the available six-seat configuration featuring second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier.
Lexus says that they designed the third row of the RX L 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. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the first and second rows but not the third row.

A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents. The third row is definitely tight and while it can fit adults, it does not make for a comfortable ride if the trip is long. It is a bit of work to get back there so it is better for smaller people or children.  But the third row has a standard power folding feature that makes it a breeze to fold it flat. 

f you choose to keep the third row up, you will also be happy to know that there is enough space behind for a decent amount of cargo. 

Luxury buyers seeking a hybrid SUV will love the RX450hL. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower.

The system provides good acceleration and you never feel like the RX is underpowered. The gasoline motor is pretty much always on and working while the electric motor is really there to assist. As a bonus, instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to power 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.

The downside is that you can still overpower the front wheels sometimes with the gasoline engine but it is a small price to pay. 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. In real life driving, it is only useful if you keep your speeds very low.

Rear view
Rear view

The RX L cabin is as you would expect of a Lexus with nice materials and soft leather. The front seats are very comfortable and there is lots of room. The switches are a bit of a mess with lots of buttons seemingly all over the place. Once you get used to where everything is, it won’t be an issue though.

Safety is very important to Lexus and luxury car buyers demand lots of electronics to watch after them. The full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows which is a nice feature.

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 and panoramic view monitor were all features on our RX450hL.

To a good driver most of these features are very annoying but the panoramic view monitor is one of our favorites. Bigger rear windows and smaller blind spot zones would be nice so that you can see what is going on behind and next to you instead of relying on cameras but unfortunately everyone is doing this.

The RX450hL can jump to 60mph in 7.9 seconds which is good.  It is electronically limited to a 112 mph top speed.  It can also tow 3500 pounds which is a great bonus. The drivetrain is definitely not designed for the enthusiast so if you are looking for engine sounds to get your heart rate up, this is not the place.

One of the best assets of the RX is the EPA fuel economy of 28 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway.  As with most hybrids we could not come close to those numbers as we did about 25 mpg on the freeway which is better than most others. If you want an RX450hL in your garage, be ready to pull out $50,620. If you order the Luxury version it will cost you $54,555.


Gas Mileage30 mpg City/28 mpg Hwy
EngineGas/Electric V-6, 3.5 L
EPA ClassSmall Sport Utility Vehicles 4WD
Style NameAWD
DrivetrainAll Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity5
Passenger Doors4
Body StyleSport Utility


EPA ClassificationSmall Sport Utility Vehicles 4WD
Weight Information
Base Curb Weight (lbs)4740
Interior Dimensions
Front Shoulder Room (in)57.8
Second Hip Room (in)56
Front Head Room (in)39.4
Second Leg Room (in)38
Passenger Capacity5
Front Hip Room (in)56.6
Front Leg Room (in)44.1
Second Shoulder Room (in)57.6
Passenger Volume (ft³)121.7
Second Head Room (in)38.2
Exterior Dimensions
Track Width, Rear (in)64
Height, Overall (in)67.7
Wheelbase (in)109.8
Track Width, Front (in)64.4
Width, Max w/o mirrors (in)74.6
Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (ft³)18
Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (ft³)55.9
Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (ft³)18

Fuel Economy

Fuel Tank
Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal)17.2
EPA Fuel Economy Est - Hwy (MPG)28
Fuel Economy Est-Combined (MPG)30
EPA Fuel Economy Est - City (MPG)30

Performance Specs

SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM308 @ 6000
Displacement3.5 L/211
Engine Order CodeNA
SAE Net Torque @ RPM247 @ 4800
Fuel SystemPort/Direct Injection
Engine TypeGas/Electric V-6
Trans Description Cont. AgainNA
Trans Type1
DrivetrainAll Wheel Drive
Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1)3.54
Trans Description Cont.CVT w/OD
Trans Order CodeNA
Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in)12.9
Disc - Front (Yes or )Yes
Rear Drum Diam x Width (in)NA
Brake Type4-Wheel Disc
Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in)13.3
Disc - Rear (Yes or )Yes
Brake ABS System4-Wheel
Drum - Rear (Yes or )NA
Steering TypeRack-Pinion
Turning Diameter - Curb to Curb (ft)38
Rear Tire SizeP235/65VR18
Spare Tire Order CodeNA
Front Tire Order CodeNA
Spare Tire SizeCompact
Front Tire SizeP235/65VR18
Rear Tire Order CodeNA
Rear Wheel MaterialAluminum
Spare Wheel Size (in)Compact
Front Wheel Size (in)18 X 7.5
Spare Wheel MaterialSteel
Front Wheel MaterialAluminum
Rear Wheel Size (in)18 X 7.5
Suspension Type - Front (Cont.)Strut
Suspension Type - FrontStrut
Suspension Type - Rear (Cont.)Double Wishbone
Suspension Type - RearDouble Wishbone

Safety Features

Air Bag-Frontal-DriverYes
Air Bag-Frontal-PassengerYes
Air Bag-Passenger Switch (On/Off)No
Air Bag-Side Body-FrontYes
Air Bag-Side Body-RearYes
Air Bag-Side Head-FrontYes
Air Bag-Side Head-RearYes
Child Safety Rear Door LocksYes
Daytime Running LightsYes
Traction ControlYes
Night VisionNo
Rollover Protection BarsNo
Fog LampsYes
Parking AidNo
Tire Pressure MonitorYes
Back-Up CameraYes
Stability ControlYes
Other FeaturesElectronic Stability Control (ESC)
ABS And Driveline Traction Control
Side Impact Beams
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Lexus Enform w/Safety Connect Emergency Sos
Lexus Safety System+
Lane Departure Alert (lda) w/Steering Assist Lane Keeping Assist
Lane Departure Alert (lda) w/Steering Assist Lane Departure...
Low Tire Pressure Warning
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
Airbag Occupancy Sensor
Rear Child Safety Locks
First Aid Kit
Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3...
Driver Knee Airbag, Rear Side-Impact Airbag and Passenger...
Back-Up Camera


Basic Miles/km50,000
Basic Years4
Corrosion Miles/kmUnlimited
Corrosion Years6
Drivetrain Miles/km70,000
Drivetrain Years6
Hybrid/Electric Components Miles/km100,000
Hybrid/Electric Components Years8
Maintenance Miles/km10,000
Maintenance Years1
Roadside Assistance Miles/kmUnlimited
Roadside Assistance Years4

Other Specs

Maximum Trailering Capacity (lbs)NA
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. (lbs)NA
Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. (lbs)NA
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. (lbs)NA
Dead Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. (lbs)NA

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