Lexus unveils fifth-generation RX crossover
Lexus introduced the fifth generation of its popular RX midsize crossover on Tuesday, expanding the model’s lineup to include plug-in hybrid and more performance-oriented versions.
Built on Toyota’s new GA-K global vehicle platform, the latest RX is a redesign of the best-selling crossover and a key model for Toyota’s luxury brand.
The RX is the best-selling model in the Lexus lineup. Almost since its introduction in the United States during the 1999 model year, it has served as the brand’s benchmark vehicle. In 2000, it accounted for 43% of Lexus sales and prompted other automakers to rush into the luxury crossover market, said S&P Global Mobility analyst Stephanie Brinley. Forbes Wheels.
“The importance of RX to the brand is impossible to underestimate. It arrived in a then-new segment and helped the brand continue to be a leading player in luxury,” said Brinley.
The RX remains the brand’s flagship, accounting for 38% of Lexus sales last year, Brinley said.
Lexus plans to start selling the new design as the 2023 RX later this year. It will be available in six levels: Standard, Premium, RX-first Premium+, Luxury, F SPORT Handling and RX F SPORT Performance. The new RX also has multiple powertrains.
Top Performance Picks
Lexus’ base model is the 2023 RX 350. Buyers can choose between front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but either will be powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 275 horsepower. and 317 pounds. torque feet. Lexus uses an eight-speed automatic transmission in this model and expects the powertrain to produce 24 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
Acceleration will be modest but decent, going from 0-60 mph in the low 7-second range.
Buyers looking for better fuel economy can opt for the 2023 RX 350h. This hybrid version uses a continuously variable transmission, an electric motor and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The powertrain generates 246 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque and about the same acceleration rate as the regular 350. Lexus estimates it will achieve 33 mpg in combined city and highway driving. It only exists in all-wheel drive.
Those looking for more power and speed can choose the 2023 RX 500h F-Sport Performance. This model features a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and a hybrid system mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It delivers up to 367 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 mph time is 5.9 seconds. Fuel economy is 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
Eventually, Lexes plans to sell the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid model, but said it will provide specs closer to its availability.
The new platform should respond to the lukewarm performance and lazy ride of the current RX. It offers a lower center of gravity and more balanced weight distribution to improve handling and agility. It’s also stiffer and weighs 198 pounds less, which should improve driving dynamics.
A longer and roomier RX
The new RX’s wheelbase is 2.36 inches longer. But it will not increase the length of the vehicle because the designers have reduced the rear overhang by the same distance. The longer wheelbase allowed for increased rear legroom and cargo space, according to the automaker.
With the new generation, the styling of the RX has evolved into what Lexus calls a “consistent fuselage body design”.
The side panels flare out from the rear door toward the tires to give the RX’s tail a powerful feel. The design retains Lexus’ L-shaped light bar lamp. It has lenses that wrap around the sides of the body, a design that the automaker says emphasizes a broad and powerful silhouette.
Lexus plans to offer the 2023 RX in 10 exterior color options depending on the grade. These are: Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl, Iridium, Caviar, Matador Red Mica, Copper Crest, Nori Green Pearl, Nightfall Mica and Grecian Water.
The interior includes a standard 9.8-inch multimedia touchscreen in the center dashboard. A 14-inch screen is an option.
The automaker has equipped the new RX with its latest set of advanced features from the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 driver assistance system. These include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with cornering speed management, automatic high beams, exit warning lane and traffic sign recognition. There are additional optional features such as a parallel park assist.
The 2023 Lexus RX will go on sale at the end of the year. The automaker said it would provide pricing information closer to the on-sale date.