New Lexus RX range ditches the V6, embraces hybrid power

02 June 2022 - 12:35
By Thomas Falkiner
The new Lexus RX is wider and lower than its predecessor.
Image: Supplied The new Lexus RX is wider and lower than its predecessor.

Lexus this week pulled the wraps off its new fifth generation RX luxury crossover SUV.

Built upon the firm's GA-K platform, this striking newcomer adopts an evolutionary rather than revolutionary design epoch. However it does seem to borrow quite a bit from the all-electric RZ 450e that was unveiled in April. Cosmetic highlights include a large frameless “spindle” radiator grille with a new 3D design, arrow-shaped headlamps with distinctive daytime running lights and a swooping C-pillar design that lends the RX an almost coupé-like silhouette. Similar to the recently updated NX, the rear of the RX sports LED tail light clusters linked by a light bar that spans the entire width of the tailgate — a neat touch. 

Dimensions wise this fifth generation model is the same length as the outgoing model but has grown 60mm in wheelbase and 25mm in width, while height is reduced by 10mm. 

Rear taillamp clusters are joined by a light bar.
Image: Supplied Rear taillamp clusters are joined by a light bar.

Powering the new Lexus RX is a choice of four four-cylinder petrol engines as the long-serving V6 finally falls away in the interest of emissions. The entry-level RX 350 is equipped with a 2.4l turbocharged unit making 205kW and 430Nm of torque. This is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Lexus the RX 350 will go from 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds and sip 8.8l/100km across the combined cycle. 

Next up is the RX 350h that marries a 2.5l unit with a hybrid drivetrain for a combined output of 180kW. This can be transferred to either the front wheels or all four. Expect a 0-100km/h time of 8.0 seconds and combined fuel consumption as low as 6.4l/100km.

The RX 450h plug-in hybrid uses the same 2.5l four-cylinder petrol engine but benefits from a much larger 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery for a maximum electric-only driving range of 65km (pending homologation) at speeds of up to 135km/h. A total system output of 225kW drops the 0-100km/h time down to 7.0 seconds and all-wheel drive is standard.

A large 14-inch touchscreen is available as an option.
Image: Supplied A large 14-inch touchscreen is available as an option.

The range-topping RX 500h is bolted to a 2.4l turbocharged engine and hybrid drivetrain delivering a total system output of 273kW. This is transferred to a trick Direct4 adaptive all-wheel drive system (as seen on the RZ 450e) via a six-speed automatic gearbox for a 0-100km/h of 6.0 seconds. Fuel consumption is 8.2l/100km across the combined cycle.

Inside the Lexus RX you'll discover a fresh cockpit design concept that features a digital instrument cluster and a redesigned multifunction steering wheel that integrates with a new head-up display. A 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is fitted as standard but customers have the option of speccing a larger 14-inch version. Both are compatible with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (wired) and both offer over-the-air software updates. Other cool bits of tech include a digital key in the form of a smartphone App as well as an HD panoramic view monitor with a transparent ground surface image display that shows road surface conditions and tyre position underneath the vehicle.

More details, specification and pricing will be shared at launch timing. Lexus SA plans to introduce the new RX in line with its global release, which will market early 2023.

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