Lexus premiered the new, fifth-generation of its most popular SUV on Tuesday. The 2023 Lexus RX will offer four new powertrains (three of which are electrified), a new 14-inch multimedia screen and two new trims with all-wheel drive.
The midsize RX is the current and longtime leader in sales against its luxury rivals. Initially hitting the market for the 1998 model year, Lexus sold about 115,000 RX SUVs in 2021, almost doubling its next closest competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The top-to-bottom redesign has resulted in a vehicle that’s lower to the ground, 198 pounds lighter than the previous model and more spacious with wheels pushed further to the corners in a stance that recalls the LF-1 Limitless concept vehicle from 2018.
The grille has been reworked as part of the generational redesign, keeping the bottom half that spreads outward while phasing out the top half to blend into the fascia.
On the side, jagged lines of the previous generation have been softened for a more aerodynamic approach. The floating roof design also gets a new look.
At the back, one giant taillight merges what used to be two while 19-inch or 21-inch wheels are available.
Depending on which trim level a customer selects, the new RX will be available in Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl, Iridium, Caviar, Matador Red Mica, Copper Crest, Nori Green Pearl, Nightfall Mica and Grecian Water paint.
Lexus will sell the model in Standard, Premium, RX-first Premium+, Luxury, F SPORT Handling and F SPORT Performance trim levels and four grades based on engine performance.
The RX 350 is available in either front- or all-wheel drive. Each comes with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivers 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque.
A RX 350h features an all-wheel drive system and a hybrid powertrain. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission and nets 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque.
The Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid will have its full powertrain details revealed at a later date.
At the top of the lineup, the new RX 500h F SPORT Performance uses a high-tech all-wheel drive system called Direct4 to dole out power to all four wheels. The new hybrid setup comes with an electric motor, a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission that work together to deliver 367 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Lexus engineers pushed the RX further with the 500h F Sport Performance variant, adding six-piston brake calipers, a mesh grille, revised front bumper, and 21-inch aluminum wheels.
The powertrain isn’t the only place where advanced technology comes into play. When keyholders approach the RX, Lexus says the door will open with a button in a system it calls e-Latch and drivers will be greeted with multi-colored illumination accents. An available panoramic glass roof is meant to evoke an open-air relaxation space.
An optional 14-inch infotainment touch screen is offered over the standard 8-inch touchscreen.
Macadamia, Black, Birch, Palomino, Peppercorn and Rioja Red are available as interior colors, with the option of Black Cascade, Ash Bamboo, Black Open Pore or Dark Graphite Aluminum ornamentations.
F Sport models get a host of unique features including a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, suede-trimmed interior door trim, F SPORT scuff plate, leather trimmed interior and aluminum pedals.
Lexus says that in addition to having better performance, the company’s product planning team has ensured that the new RX has “refined ride comfort” and delivers a “comfortable, quiet in-cabin atmosphere”.
The RX comes standard with Lexus Safety System 3.0, which comes with safety aids like intersection support, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and emergency driving stop system. A driver monitoring system, that makes sure the driver is awake and paying attention, is optional.
Pricing details have yet to be released. The 2022 Lexus RX base model starts at $46,995 and goes up to $53,275 for the top RX 450h F SPORT trim.
The 2023 RX will go on sale this fall.