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2023 Lexus RX cuts the luxurious crossover in quarters

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For years, the Lexus model has been virtually synonymous with its bestseller, the RX crossover SUV. The egg-shaped RX loved a lot success that its admirers grew to become copiers, and the RX itself grew to become overshadowed by the copies.  

With the outgoing fourth-generation RX, Lexus courted a younger demo by slapping on an enormous spindle grille, folding in as many physique creases as an origami crane, and floating a roof. Youngsters with crustaches have pulled off higher takes on edgy youth. 

Lexus pulled out the razor and trimmed the redesigned 2023 Lexus RX to separate the distinction between its ovoid previous and up to date spunk. Extra importantly, the modifications to the fifth-generation bestseller transcend pores and skin deep.

Attractive new buyers (of their 40s) with out alienating core followers (of their 60s), the 2023 Lexus RX is available in six trims, 4 powertrains, three hybrid choices, two all-wheel-drive programs, and a extra versatile platform that’s new to the RX. The three.5-liter V-6 is gone for good, however the 350 designation stays for a brand new era. 

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

A lot of the modifications happen behind the RX’s tamer design. Its new TNGA-Ok platform shared extensively within the Toyota household is each stiffer and 198 lb lighter, and it influences the packaging and design. Whatever the drivetrain and battery packs, the fuel and hybrid fashions have practically the identical inside proportions as final 12 months, besides the cargo quantity has blossomed from 32.6 cubic ft to 46.2 cubic ft with the seats down. The seven-seat RX L mannequin gained’t return this 12 months. 

Lexus pulled again the A-pillar and windshield an inch and trimmed the rear overhang by 2.4 inches, but the wheelbase extends by that very same distinction. It makes the nostril seem longer, and the rear extra compact and muscular. The hood dips down into what was once the highest of the large chrome-framed spindle grille. It’s melting now, and spreads out previous the body as if frozen in aero melting movement. Rounded wheel arches and a curving physique line signify the smoother circulation of the RX. 

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Efficiency

This iteration of the RX F Sport first launched on the outgoing mannequin takes a much bigger step nearer to the efficiency steered by its title. It employs a 2.4-liter turbo-4 with a 6-speed computerized transmission and a motor generator. A 107-hp motor and inverter energy the rear axle, and the motor is fed by the model’s tried-and-true nickel-metal hydride battery. Collectively, this new system produces 366 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. 

With no direct mechanical connection between the axles, the 500h can modify torque to the axles to optimize the driving mode. In Sport mode at launch, the torque shifts from that of a front-wheel-drive crossover to a 40/60 break up favoring the rear axle. It steadies the load switch and helps the 500h attain a 0-60 mph time in 5.9 seconds, in response to Lexus. 

It’s spirited and surprisingly spry, however there have been a pair cases the place I needed a pair extra gears within the 6-speed computerized. Shifting down into second gear when going heavy on the throttle takes an extended beat that may interrupt on-ramp fantasies. It was extra tolerant of the upshifts, letting me keep in second gear till about 56 mph, which was superb up the hills on the inside of the California coast. However when downshifting, it stayed in third gear till about 45 mph irrespective of how I flicked the paddles. Coming round a bend right into a valley left me looking for extra grunting, however that’s selecting nits as there was loads of passing energy for on a regular basis use. 

It couldn’t totally shed the physics of its 4,751-lb profile, however the 4 levels of rear-axle steering made a distinction sashaying by way of the upper velocity valley sweepers. At decrease speeds, the rear wheels flip in the wrong way of the fronts to make parking simpler or to hone a three-point flip into one level. 

Eco, Regular, Sport, and Customized modes change the throttle response, and Eco mode feels as for those who’re stepping on a sponge. Every mode might be personalized for Sport or Regular settings for the powertrain, suspension, and steering, but it surely’s greatest to set it earlier than driving onerous as a result of the drive modes are solely accessible by way of the touchscreen. 

Nonetheless, with the Direct4 AWD system and adaptive dampers on its entrance strut and multi-link rear suspension, the RX500h feels extra composed than any of its predecessors. It stays quiet and chill within the RX means, however now it has the choice to be injected with extra efficiency chops. 

It’s a tempting various to the Acura MDX Sort S, and sportier than any SUV from Infiniti, Lincoln, or Cadillac. (We’ll exclude the Escalade-V as a result of it’s ridiculous.) It solely will get a Lexus-estimated 27 mpg mixed, however for effectivity over efficiency, take a look at the RX 350h. 

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX 350h 

Just like the 500h, the RX 350h comes normal with all-wheel drive. Not like the 500h, it was constructed for effectivity primarily. Lexus targets a mpg stat line of 37 mpg metropolis, 34 freeway, and 36 mixed, in comparison with the 30 mpg mixed within the final mannequin. 

The three.5-liter V-6 is changed with a 2.5-liter inline-4 dual-motor hybrid system utilized in every part from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the forthcoming Toyota Crown. Within the RX 350h, it makes 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque (down from 308 hp and 247 lb-ft within the 2022 mannequin). It pairs with a CVT that’s innocuous round city, however for any rushed driving it retains the engine excessive within the rev vary and fills the cabin with the sort of complaining that’s unbecoming of an RX. Lexus quotes a 0-60 mph time of seven.4 seconds, however we’d suggest taking it simple for good gas economic system and quiet cruising. 

Its on-demand all-wheel-drive system can break up the torque 50/50, but it surely defaults to entrance drive. A Path mode splits the torque to each axles and brake-based torque vectoring controls wheel slip in turns. We didn’t go off highway, and with simply 8.1 inches of floor clearance and tires made for pavement, it’s greatest to remain on pavement. 

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX 350

Normal with front-wheel drive however out there with all-wheel drive, the RX 350 opens the door for extra efficiency and fewer effectivity at a decrease anticipated value than the opposite fashions. The bottom RX 350 makes use of a 2.4-liter turbo-4 that makes 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. 

After a little bit of turbo lag, the 350 responded sharply and the 8-speed computerized transmission flicked by way of gears with out hesitation. With the engine allowed to climb into the 6,000-rpm vary, there was by no means a doubt when passing vans and vacationers, together with on uphill grades. Out there AWD comes with paddle shifters for extra driver management and a 0-60 mph time of seven.2 seconds, in comparison with 7.6 seconds with FWD

F Sport Dealing with fashions include AWD and adaptive dampers that higher helped the RX keep its composure than in back-to-back testing with out it. The RX 350 is each stronger and smoother than the RX 350h, and the brand new F Sport Dealing with is likely to be the candy spot within the RX lineup as soon as pricing is finalized.

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

2023 Lexus RX 450h+

Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid

It’s nonetheless unclear when the primary plug-in hybrid for the RX will go on sale within the U.S., and I used to be solely handled to temporary 10-minute loops of a pre-production Euro-spec mannequin, so lots stays unknown. But it surely’s very quiet. 

The RX 450h+ shares a 18.1-kwh battery and plug-in hybrid powertrain with the smaller NX450h+ and the Toyota RAV4 Prime. It has a 2.5-liter inline-4 and two-motor hybrid system to energy the entrance wheels, and a devoted motor on the rear axle for AWD. 

Driving in EV mode, the RX 450h+ was not as fast off the road as different PHEVs, but it surely madea seamless shift between fuel and electrical energy. It additionally had the EV drive mode buttons on the console, which might be most popular for the drive modes within the 500h. It additionally had energy seat buttons on the within of the entrance passenger seat, so anybody in any of the 5 seating positions might modify the entrance passenger seat, identical as in Genesis fashions. 

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

2023 Lexus RX 500h

Except for the way it drives, the RX 350 compels for its boodle of ordinary options. It comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a wi-fi hotspot, a 12-speaker sound system, six USB ports, a sunroof, and a 9.8-inch touchscreen with wi-fi smartphone connectivity, although most fashions get a 14.0-inch touchscreen. Beneath the display, Lexus offers precise local weather dials, which is at all times good. Choices vary from lush leather-based and suede trimmed seats to ash bamboo wooden trim and a heated wooden steering wheel. 

Lexus equips each RX with pushbutton door handles which may not make one of the best first impression, however they attraction over time with their quiet effortlessness. One thing that took me longer to get used to have been the clean four-way  controllers on both facet of the steering wheel. They management icons that seem within the instrument cluster or within the head-up show when geared up (the visibility for both will not be doused by the solar). To extend the adaptive cruise management velocity, for one instance, gently relaxation your thumb on the up arrow to activate that operate then press the up arrow like a standard button to extend the velocity. The compact design lets Lexus home a number of information throughout the steering controls, together with some options that will not be out there but, but it surely takes a studying curve that exceeded me day with the RX. 

The redesigned 2023 Lexus RX casts a a lot wider web than its predecessor with 4 powertrains that give the crossover 4 distinctive personalities. Each demographic appreciates the facility of alternative.  


Lexus paid for airfare and lodging for Motor Authority to carry you this firsthand report.


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