When the very first Lexus RX debuted in 1998 nothing like it had ever existed before. It was the very first luxury SUV. In 2005, this model broke boundaries once again with the RX 400h. This was the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV. History has shown that each iteration of the RX is a breakthrough in performance, engineering, and luxury. Now in its 5th generation, this still holds true.
The all-new Lexus RX is the result of Lexus’s engineers anticipating the demands of this rapidly changing, environment-conscious, and forward-thinking world. This is omotenashi, or anticipatory hospitality, at its finest. The new look, upgraded features, and electrified powertrains will forge a new path to craft a more powerful, stylish, and sustainable Lexus RX.
Moving towards electrification, the designers undertook the challenge of incorporating the new ‘spindle body’ design identity into the new RX, achieved through stronger integration of the grille. This expresses a sense of the car’s electrified power and low center of gravity. More compact, sharper headlights, air intakes and a wider track (+15mm) consolidate the stable, confident look.
To achieve a bolder stance, the designers created a sleeker front-to-rear posture, extending the bonnet, lengthening the wheelbase by 60mm and lowering the roofline by 10mm. Lending the car a coupe-like feel, the signature black rear pillar (Lexus’s ‘floating roof’) is now more three-dimensional in appearance, while the sweeping character line and large 21-inch wheels heighten the dynamic feel.
The triple LED headlights are sleeker, sharper and more horizontal in alignment. The design is accentuated by L-shaped daytime running lights. At the rear, the single-line Lexus signature tail lights underline the RX shape, while the wider track (+45mm) emboldens the stance and road presence. The introduction of the “LEXUS” badging on the tailgate creates a clean and contemporary look.
Accentuating the RX’s sporty credentials, the F Sport version will be visually distinguished by the design execution of the grille, skirts and aerodynamic front and rear bumpers.
Lexus developed the Tazuna cockpit concept to provide a more focused environment for the driver. Taking its name from the Japanese word for using reins to control a horse, Tazuna ensures direct yet intuitive control: information sources such as the multimedia screen, multi-information display, single-dial meter, centralized gauges and head-up display are grouped so their content can be read with minimal eye and head movement. The designers sought to create a minimalist, yet intuitive and thoughtful interior space.
Specific to the Executive variant, one of its highlights is the availability of a leather-like interior seat material that does not use animal products, created in response to growing demand from vegan and other eco-conscious consumers.
There is both ample luggage space and five luxury seats with excellent legroom. An increased couple distance (1010mm, +10mm compared to the previous model), new seat designs and more intelligent packaging have made the cabin feel more spacious. The luggage compartment has been made easier to access with a 30mm reduction in the loading height and is 50mm longer, thanks to intelligent tailgate design. The longer length and rear seats which split-fold 40:20:40 help accommodate bulkier items. A new e-latch system electronically controls the door release operation, making it smoother and more convenient.
THE LEXUS DRIVING SIGNATURE
Each RX model delivers the Lexus Driving Signature to provide superior comfort and linear, direct responsiveness, giving all drivers control and confidence at all times. The new RX uses Lexus’s GA-K platform. The rear has been completely redesigned to extend the wheelbase and accommodate additional cross members and suspension braces that increase rigidity. This increased rigidity has allowed the suspension to be more accurately tuned, improving both performance and comfort.
On the RX 350h Executive and RX 350h Premier, power delivery is controlled by E-Four AWD. This is Lexus’ innovative all-wheel drive system, which places a motor at the rear axle for near-instantaneous drive force application in low-grip or acceleration scenarios.
On the RX 500h F Sport, power is delivered to the wheels via by DIRECT4, an exclusive new Lexus drive force technology that is also featured in the new RZ 450e battery electric SUV. This intelligent all-wheel drive system uses a separate electric motor and inverter to constantly balance the power and torque between the front and rear axles in any driving situation. It automatically and seamlessly adjusts the level of the drive force between the two axles—more quickly and precisely than any mechanical system could.
DIRECT4 communicates a better feel between the road and steering wheel and delivers improved handling stability and driving dynamics at high speed. This is paired with Dynamic Rear Steering for an even more exhilarating (and more secure) driving experience.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS)—available on the RX 350h Premier and RX 500h F Sport—provides independent damping control at each wheel, giving a more comfortable ride on uneven surfaces, higher damping force when turning and flat ride stability.
Compared to the system on the current RX, the damping force range has been increased, so AVS is effective on an even wider range of surface quality and in different driving operations. Finer adjustment of the damping force gives smoother response the changes in road quality and response is quick, giving better control and reducing body roll.
The driver can choose between two damping force control modes. ‘Normal’ gives a high balance between steering response and ride comfort while ‘Sport’ prioritizes steering response and a flat ride, with more frequent use of hard/high damping force.
OWERFUL YET EFFICIENT HYBRID DRIVETRAINS
The RX 350h hybrid electric is positioned as an efficient alternative to lower displacement diesel and petrol powertrains. It comes equipped with a new 2.5-liter in-line 4 petrol engine achieving better fuel-economy, while also contributing to reducing the vehicle weight.
And for customers seeking more exhilarating performance, Lexus is introducing its first performance-focused turbocharged hybrid, the RX 500h F Sport, which comes with DIRECT4 drive force control. The RX 500h marks a breakthrough in hybrid electric technology that sets it apart from any hybrid model that has gone before. Lexus has successfully shifted the focus from optimum efficiency to produce a model with a genuine performance edge, raising the RX’s appeal with customers who want high-end electrified performance.
It uses a completely new parallel hybrid architecture, featuring a turbocharged 2.4-liter turbo petrol engine and six-speed transmission, integrated front motor and power control unit, hybrid battery and a compact 103ps rear e-axle. Total system output is 371 ps with 550Nm of torque, giving 0-100 km/h acceleration in 6.2 seconds.
LEXUS SAFETY SYSTEM+
The all-new RX benefits from next-level active safety and driver assistance systems featured in the latest generation of Lexus Safety System+ with upgraded functions and increased scope for accident risk detection and prevention.
The improvements include further expansion of the Pre-Collision System’s ability to detect motorcycles and other objects in the car’s path.
Enhancements have been made to the Adaptive Cruise Control so that it now more quickly recognizes traffic cutting in front and, in conjunction with upgrades to Lane Trace Assist, follows a more natural line through bends.
VARIANTS AND PRICING
The Lexus RX is available in three variants, each with a hybrid drivetrain. The RX 350h Executive (P5,058,000); RX 350h Premier(P6,188,000); and RX 500h F-Sport (P6,668,000). Lexus has undertaken a complete reinvention of the RX large luxury SUV, building on the model’s great heritage and breaking new design and technology boundaries to increase the breadth of its capabilities and its appeal to an even wider customer base.
The all-new fifth generation model range will strengthen this position and Lexus’s reputation for design and technology excellence. Koji Sato, President of Lexus International, said: “For the all-new RX we were determined to keep the Lexus DNA of supreme quality, ride comfort and refinement, and elevate the driving experience to the next level, delivering a unique Lexus Driving Signature.”