2018 Lexus RX 450hL 3-row hybrid SUV priced up

Lexus' first three-row RX hybrid SUV has been priced up, and it turns out the cost of adding two extra seats is surprisingly moderate. Unveiled at the LA Auto Show 2017, the 2018 RX 450hL will sit at the top of the RX line-up, Lexus' best-selling SUV range.

While it may be a perennial favorite among Lexus' line-up, until now there's been one thing missing for some SUV shoppers. The RX has always been a five-seater, eschewing the three-row segment. If you wanted more seats, Lexus pushed you in the direction of the larger GX.

Now, though, that's all changing. The 2018 RX 350L and 2018 RX 450hL have squeezed in a third-row of seats themselves, complete with a slight tweak to the rear design and overall body length to make sure there's enough legroom. The L-variant SUVs are 4.3-inches longer at the back, while the tailgate window is at a steeper angle than on the two-row models.

There's also a new folding seat design for the second-row. Pull the lever, and the seats slide forward and fold, to give access to the two seats in what would ordinarily be the trunk. Those rear seats are also mounted slightly lower than the middle row, opening up more foot room space. As for how much, exactly, our report from the LA Auto Show can tell you that.

Lexus is also including three-zone climate control, with separate heating and ventilation vents in the back. The third-row also power-folds, too, and the tailgate is power-controlled as well. Compared to the RX 350L, the RX 450hL throws in leather seats, position memory for the driver's seat, side mirrors, and steering wheel, and captain's chairs in the second row. It also includes two years of Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect.

As for the engine, that of course is the big difference between the two RXL models. The 2018 RX 450hL pairs a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine with two high-torque electric motors, for a total of 308 horsepower. Those motors also act as generators when the SUV brakes, feeding power back into the batteries. In EV mode, the hybrid can drive on electric power alone, though only for relatively short distances and at lower speeds.

Lexus Safety System+ is fitted as standard, with pre-collision protection with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assistance, auto high-beams, and adaptive cruise control. Options include blind spot monitoring, parking assistance, and rear cross traffic automatic braking. You can also add a panoramic view monitor, which gives a 360-degree top-down view of the car, handy for parking.

Pricing for the 2018 RX 450hL starts at $50,620, plus $995 destination. All-wheel drive is fitted as standard, unlike on the RX 350L which offers it as an option. There's also an RX 450hL Luxury AWD model, from $54,555 plus designation. That throws in semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats, LED ambient lighting inside, manual rear door sunshades, 20-inch alloy wheels, a heated wood steering wheel, and laser-cut Gray Sapele wood trim with aluminum for the dashboard.