Now in its fourth generation, the new Lexus RX has a proud history of innovation, not least in being the first vehicle in the luxury segment to offer the choice of a self-charging hybrid powertrain (RX 400h of 2005). The newcomer builds on this reputation by offering a superbly crafted luxury SUV range, featuring top-drawer handling and brimming with cutting-edge tech – and yes, the RX 450h is deservedly the flagship model in the line-up.
On the design front the changes are led by new, evolutionary styling that maintains the RX’s powerful and sporty appearance, while introducing more elegant elements and creating a coherent flow from front to rear, giving the vehicle a stronger, more harmonious profile.
Details of the frontal treatment include a new rendition of the signature Lexus grille, with a mesh pattern of radiating three-dimensional “L” shapes (slightly different execution for the F Sport); slimmer sharper headlight units; more rounded edges to the re-sculpted front bumper; and an extended line from the rocker panel (located on the sides of vehicle between front and rear wheel openings) that connects with the bottom of the grille, projecting strength and stability.
A revised side character line sweeps down from the floating roof to the rear, to slim the overall rear expression, creating a coupe-like silhouette.
Moving to the rear, a more cohesive and powerful look has been created with a redesigned lower bumper that links smoothly to the rear wings. Elements such as the lights, reflectors, underguard and exhaust outlets are arranged on a strong horizontal axis to emphasise the vehicle’s width and sense of purpose, while new LED combination lights have been changed to a new mirrored L-motif design that contributes to greater brand recognition.
All models come standard with 20-inch alloy wheels (all-new design for the EX and F Sport variants) and electrically-operated sunroof.
The colour palette consists of Sonic Titanium, White Quartz, Graphite Black, Morello Red, Amber, Opulent Blue and Black. All-new shades to the range include Ice Ecru and Terrane Khaki (a popular colour first used on the Lexus UX).
The F Sport is available in six hues comprising Sonic Titanium, Graphite Black, Morello Red and Black. The colour palette Heat Blue Contrast and White Nova are exclusive to F Sport.
The human-machine interface in the cabin has been vastly improved courtesy of a new 12.3-inch central display featuring touchscreen functionality. To accommodate this new feature, the screen has been moved further forward on the centre console, giving a wider viewing angle and placing it within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. The multimedia functions can of course also be operated using a new trackpad version of Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface, or with voice control, replacing the old button-activated system.
The new RX also provides seamless smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Voice control can also be enabled via Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant if using an Android device. This is complemented by an additional four USB ports.
MyLexus (identical features to MyToyota) gives access to connected services via a dedicated app, while the RX is equipped as standard with an on-board WiFi hotspot with an initial complimentary 15GB data plan (with the option to purchase additional data at any time).
The third-row seats of the RX L now feature two different seating positions, they add even more leg space (+94mm) when the situation demands. Second row seats are now also electrically-adjustable – even for passenger access.
Now take everything you love about the RX and give it more performance…and greater efficiency. That’s the philosophy behind the RX450h which boasts the potent 3.5-litre V6 engine paired with powerful electric motors and an electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission for a combined 230 kW total system output. This equates to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.7 seconds and ultra-low emissions (131g/km).
The Lexus RX models retail from R1 012 000 for the EX grade and R1087 000 for the RX 350 EX L. The RX 350 F Sport model retails for R1 132 200 while the top of the range, RX 450 h SE, is available for R1 315 800. The entire RX range boasts a Lexus best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. (The warranty on the hybrid battery is 8 years/195 000km.) The vehicle service intervals are at every 15 000km, alternatively once a year.