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Lexus RX 2023 Overview: Strong Performance And Enhanced Interiors

Image Source: BoJack / Shutterstock

The Lexus RX SUV is undeniably the top-selling model from the brand, so the debut of a completely new RX model holds significant importance. This autumn, Lexus is launching the fifth iteration of the 2023 RX, which is initially offered in four distinct versions. Overall, Lexus has infused a touch of athleticism into the RX, complemented by a vastly upgraded interior.

Regarding its exterior dimensions, the 2023 RX closely mirrors the previous generation, maintaining its previous length while extending the wheelbase by 2.4 inches to enhance interior space.

The new RX is marginally wider and slightly shorter. The updated styling of the new RX provides a more distinctive drops a distinct visual impression for the popular SUV. The front end features a refined spindle grille, now called a “spindle body,” integrating seamlessly into the front fascia without the chrome grille surround. The frontal aspect of the RX now boasts larger headlights, exuding a more imposing look. Moving towards the rear, the more pronounced fenders amplify its sporty demeanor, while the taillights are now united by a light bar. If you were a fan of the previous RX styling, the changes on the new model will likely resonate with you.

Inside the 2023 RX, the interior has undergone a significant upgrade, presenting a far more contemporary feel than its predecessor. Positioned in front of the driver is a standard 7-inch digital instrument cluster, while an optional head-up display is available. The steering wheel design may require some acclimatization, as most controls are operated through capacitive pads. Notably, the highlight is the introduction of the new infotainment system, featuring either a 9.8-inch or 14-inch touchscreen display, a welcome departure from the old Remote Touch controller. While the system marks an improvement, some may find it cumbersome that many settings can only be accessed via the touchscreen, including the driving modes.

The refreshed infotainment system presents a more contemporary interface compared to its predecessor, allowing voice commands through a simple “Hey, Lexus” prompt. Moreover, the system now integrates streaming services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify. A Wi-Fi hotspot is included, and for users desiring an alternative, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay remain accessible wirelessly.

On the safety front, the new RX incorporates the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 suite, encompassing advanced tech features like an enhanced forward collision warning system, steering assistance, and an optional Traffic Jam Assist system enabling hands-free driving at low speeds. However, some may find the driver inattention warning system overly sensitive, frequently prompting attention redirection even when the driver’s focus is forward. A novel feature is the Pro-active Drive Assist system, leveraging navigation and camera data to modulate speed during cornering or descending.

The 2023 Lexus RX debuts with three primary versions. The entry-level RX 350 is poised to be the best-seller, now propelled by a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This new powertrain delivers an additional 50 lb-ft compared to the outgoing V6, imb ating a livicier edge to performance. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the RX 350 accelerates from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The RX 350 is offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, with fuel efficiency rated at 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined for FWD, and 21/28/24 mpg for AWD.

For those prioritizing fuel economy, the RX 350h AWD stands out, housing the familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid system powering the front wheels, alongside a rear electric motor. This hybrid setup churns out 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque, achieving an impressive fuel efficiency of 37 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 36 mpg combined. While offering excellent efficiency, the RX 350h lags in acceleration, needing 7.4 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Enthusiasts yearning for a more dynamic RX variant will appreciate the introduction of the RX 500h F Sport. This model is driven by a 2.4-liter turbo engine and an integrated front electric motor, augmented by an 80-kW rear motor/generator, while employing a six-speed automatic transmission and the advanced Direct4 all-wheel drive system. The RX 500h combines for a total output of 366 hp and 406 lb-ft, clocking a swift 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. Sporting adaptive dampers, robust brakes, and larger wheels, the RX 500h also benefits from the Dynamic Rear Steering system, capable of up to 4 degrees of rear-wheel steering in coordination with or counter to the front wheels. Fuel efficiency for the RX 500h stands at 27 mpg city, 2mporton class=”wp-block-image size-large”>

mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, striking a balance between power and efficiency.

The fourth version, the RX 450h plug-in hybrid, is not yet available in the US market, with a European launch scheduled first without a confirmed US debut date. This variant is motivated by the same 2.5-liter hybrid system as the 350h, but integrates a larger 18.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, replacing the nickel-metal hydride battery used in the base hybrid model. Lexus has not disclosed specifications for the RX 450h.

The 2023 Lexus RX is expected to be available by year-end in three initial versions, each offering six trim levels comprising Standard, Premium, Premium Plus, Luxury, F Sport Handling, and F Sport Performance. Pricing details are yet to be unveiled by Lexus.

With its dynamic design and cutting-edge interior, the RX is set to uphold its top-selling status within the brand’s lineup. Catering to a diverse audience with its range of powertrain options, the upgraded tech features are a welcome addition to the new RX model.

Image Source: BoJack / Shutterstock

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