The Lexus RX helped define the luxury crossover we see just about everywhere now. But since crossovers can get stale faster than a loaf of sourdough, it’s on automakers to keep things fresh and interesting to consumers. Enter the fifth-generation 2023 Lexus RX, which is chock-full of newness, whether it’s the underlying platform, the powertrain options, or the cabin tech.
Lexus on Tuesday unveiled the 2023 RX luxury SUV. It’s a fair departure from the fourth-generation RX, ditching its higher-riding appearance for more body-colored elements that help bring the design lower to the ground. Both the 19- and 21-inch wheel options fill the wheel wells nicely, but perhaps the most striking part of its new design is the pared-down “spindle” grille, which loses a fair bit of visual mass up top. The silhouette and rear end give off some serious big-hatchback vibes.
Supporting this new body is the Toyota GA-K platform. It is installed in the latest versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, the Lexus ES and NX, as well as 12 other cars in the US and abroad. With the move to this new platform, RX will save 198 pounds and increase overall rigidity. The wheelbase is 2.36 inches longer, but the rear overhang is also 2.36 inches shorter. In other words, the entire shebang is the same size as the 4th generation. Its expanded wheelbase also means more rear legroom and a lower load point for cargo, making it easier to push more into the boot.
The interior is very Numerous soft-touch materials were scattered throughout the cabin, making it more sophisticated than before. The dashboard extends behind the screen and the surrounding lighting creates a pleasing effect. The way it sweeps to the door panel is also pretty nice. The door itself uses the same e-Latch technology as the new NX, and the electronics take over the latches and unlatches, but don’t worry. There is always a mechanical backup. Steering wheel controls have been fine-tuned and simplified, and the available 14-inch infotainment screen blends nicely with the adjacent digital gauge cluster.
Lexus also gave the 2023 RX a variety of new powertrain setups, most of which are electrified. The base RX 350, available in both front- and all-wheel drive, uses a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 to produce 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The RX 350h offers a 2.5-liter I4 as part of a gas-electric hybrid system producing 246 hp and 233 lb-ft. The new RX 500h F Sport Performance hybrid puts the 2.4-liter engine back under the hood, but it combines with a rear-mounted electric motor to make 367 hp and 406 lb-ft, which is nothing to shake a stick at. A new plug-in hybrid will be offered, as well, but Lexus isn’t giving out any details on that variant just yet.
However, Lexus did offer some estimated fuel-economy figures for the aforementioned trim. The automaker is aiming for a combined economy of 24 mpg for the RX 350, 33 mpg for the RX 350h, and 26 mpg for the 500h.
Since Lexus is also a Toyota product, it is not surprising that the 2023RX is equipped with a standard safety system. All RXs are equipped with the Lexus Safety System 3.0 suite of active and passive driver aids. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, motorcycle detection, adaptive cruise control with curve speed control, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance. The new parking aid allows head-first parking operations instead of returning to their original position each time.
The 2023 Lexus RX will be available at the end of the 2022 calendar year, and pricing will be announced near that time.
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