With their spindle grilles and edgy styling, Lexus' recent efforts have done a good job of making cars from Toyota's luxury division a stand-out alternative to the Germans. The latest Lexus to be given a working over is the RX SUV, which will take the fight to the BMW X5, recently-released Mercedes GLE and Volvo XC90.
The first thing
that jumps out about the 2016 RX is the sharp styling, with Lexus
incorporating the brand's corporate spindle grille and L-shaped LED
running lights to give it a face that will make it stand out among the
SUV crowd. To us, it looks really sharp and distinctive from the front,
although we're not so sure about the funky tapering window line. The car
sits on 18-inch wheels, with an option for 20-inch aluminum units that
can be customized with the addition of body-colored inserts.
good as it looks, to compete with the class-leading Europeans, the RX
will need to be packing some impressive powertrain options. The range
kicks off with the RX350, powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 300 hp
(224 kW), and is coupled with a new 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Alternatively, owners can choose the RX450h, with its Atkinson-cycle
3.5-liter V6 and electric motor generator combining for a claimed 300 hp
(224 kW) output. Interestingly, Lexus gives no mention of a diesel
While the Germans are still new to the hybrid game, Lexus
has been offering hybrid options on its RX since 2005. While the Lexus
hybrid system offers slightly less horsepower than those from its German
and Swedish counterparts, it will be interesting to see if competing
systems can manage the same level of refinement that Lexus has been able
to tune into its system over the years.
Along with its new face,
Lexus is claiming the RX has improved for drivers too. The car's whole
chassis has been made stiffer, and the body has been strengthened to cut
down on noise and vibration through to the cabin. Suspension is fully
independent all-round, with MacPherson struts up front and a double
wishbone suspension system at the rear, which Lexus claims provides a
smooth ride with good body control. The company is also making an
adaptive suspension system available on its SUV, which constantly
monitors the shock absorber damping to provide the best possible ride or
handling setup for the road conditions.
If owners decide they
want an even sportier focus from their Lexus, they can opt for the
F-Sport package. As well as some styling flourishes, ticking the F-Sport
box gives drivers a special TFT-screen in lieu of the normal car’s
instruments, a special steering wheel and paddle shifters. F-Sport cars
are also fitted with an active stabilizer system designed to keep the RX
sitting flat through the corners when the driver puts the car into
As is becoming the norm, Lexus has fitted its RX
with a raft of active safety features. The Lexus Safety System+ takes
advantage of a millimeter-wave radar working in tandem with a camera for
automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping
assist, as well as radar cruise control. Owners who battle with parking
can also shell out for a panoramic view monitor, and blind spot warning
Inside, laser-cut trim is available for those who
simply aren't satisfied with a normal bit of wood or aluminum on the
dash, and a heads-up display can be optioned to complement the car's
dash-mounted infotainment screen, which can be as large as 12.3 inches.
Rear passengers are treated to extra legroom and heated seats, and
owners can choose a rear-seat entertainment package that places
11.3-inch screens behind the front headrests to keep the kids quiet on
Lexus has not revealed details about pricing yet,
but the base model should start around US$45,000 and be in showrooms
towards the end of the year.