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Old 06-01-2022, 06:55 AM   #1
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Default 2023 Lexus RX Debuts With Sharp Styling And Plenty Of Luxury

2023 Lexus RX Debuts With Sharp Styling And Plenty Of Luxury


2023 Lexus RX Debuts With Sharp Styling And Plenty Of Luxury
Lighter, plusher, and more refined than ever before.

The LS400 may have rewritten the luxury car rulebook but, for Lexus, true success arrived with the RX. The company's cash cow created the ubiquitous luxury crossover segment and, over the years, has become a best-seller. It's a seriously important vehicle for the carmaker, which has now introduced the fifth generation.

The 2023 RX hits the scene as a completely redesigned crossover. The fresh styling reflects this, with the RX borrowing styling cues from its angular stablemates. The front facia gains a redesigned Lexus spindle grille that Lexus says should evoke a sense of solid mass. The seamless grille blends into the front end neatly and works well with the slimmer headlights.

The new model has a sportier demeanor, eschewing the lofty stance of its predecessors. The standard 19-inch wheels work well, although 21-inch items add to the athletic look. Round back, the RX wears a fashionable lightbar; the rear is arguably the best part of the design, even though it bears a striking resemblance to the Audi e-tron SUV.

Reports suggesting the RX will debut with new engines turned out to be spot on. Gone is the traditional V6 powertrain, replaced by a host of four-cylinder motors. The range kicks off with a turbocharged 2.4-liter with 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque; impressive figures for the base model. This engine will do duty in the RX350 and is available in both FWD and AWD.

The mid-range is occupied by the RX 350h. With 246 hp and 233 lb-ft, the hybrid model may be less powerful but it does afford superior fuel economy. The regular 350 has a claimed combined figure of 24 mpg, while the hybrid boasts a more impressive 33 mpg. Most exciting is the arrival of the RX 500h F Sport Performance.

The quickest of the bunch boasts a new hybrid-electric setup. The 2.4-liter turbocharged engine is assisted by an eAxle rear unit with a high input electric motor, inverter, and reduction gearbox. This, says Lexus, improves performance courtesy of the low-end torque produced by the electric motor.

The result is 367 hp and a diesel-rivaling 406 lb-ft of torque. This allows the RX 500h to hit 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. Despite the superior performance, the range-topper gets better gas mileage than the base model. Lexus claims a combined figure of 26 mpg; an RX 450h plug-in hybrid will join the range at a later date and undoubtedly get even better mpg figures.

This improvement in performance and fuel economy can be traced to the new GA-K platform. Not only does it provide the RX with a lower center of gravity and superior weight distribution, but offers weight savings of as much as 198 lbs. The stiffer platform affords enhanced refinement and a better ride, although the latter also benefits from a new multi-link suspension design. Don't expect it to out-corner a Porsche Cayenne, though.

Interestingly, all three of the available models utilize different transmissions. The entry-level 350 receives an eight-speeder, the 350h has a less-than-desirable CVT and, lastly, the 500h uses a six-speed auto 'box.

But enough about the technicalities. This is a Lexus, so it needs to have a sumptuous, tech-filled cabin if it wants to succeed. Climb aboard and you'll be greeted by a gorgeous, avant-garde design. Lexus says it has redesigned several controls to be less distracting which is reflected in the minimalist, functional layout of the dashboard.

There are a host of standard features available (including a 14-inch touchscreen with Lexus Interface) but buyers will also be able to choose from a bevy of optional extras. The RX can be kitted out with a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, and as many as six interior color schemes and four trims.

The RX 500h builds on this with unique F Sport details; a perforated leather steering wheel comes with sporty paddle shifters, F Sport scuff plates, aluminum pedals, suede door trims, and, of course, leather upholstery.

Naturally, the 2023 Lexus RX is bristling with safety features. Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 ships standard, and includes nifty features such as a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, lane departure assist, and so much more. Of course, those wanting enhanced safety can option technology such as the advanced park system, for example.

Like the cabin, exterior color choices are just as varied. Depending on the model grade, there are 10 hues to choose from, including the gorgeous Matador Red Mica and Nori Green Pearl. Pricing is yet to be announced, but we don't expect the starting MSRP to be much higher than the 2022 models.

If the RX is as talented as the smaller NX (which was revealed last year) it stands a good chance of retaining its spot at the top of the sales charts. The improved hybrid motors will only bolster the appeal, but we're left wondering whether the all-electric RZ450 will steal RX sales. Expect the newcomer to hit showroom floors at the end of 2022.

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