The Lexus RX helped define the luxury crossover we see everywhere now. But since crossovers can go stale faster than sourdough bread, it’s up to automakers to keep things fresh and interesting for consumers. Step inside the fifth-generation 2023 Lexus RX, which is packed with new stuff, whether it’s the underlying platform, powertrain options or cabin tech.
Lexus unveiled the 2023 RX luxury SUV on Tuesday. It’s a fair departure from the fourth-generation RX, ditching its taller ride appearance for more body-color cues that help bring the design lower to the ground. . The 19- and 21-inch wheel options fill the wheel wells nicely, but perhaps the most striking part of its new design is the sleek “spindle” grille, which loses some visual mass up top. Both the silhouette and the rear give off serious big sedan vibes.
At the base of this new body is the Toyota GA-K platform, which can also be found on the latest versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, as well as the Lexus ES and NX, in addition to another dozen cars in the United States and abroad. When switching to this new platform, the RX loses 198 pounds and gains in overall stiffness. The wheelbase is 2.36 inches longer, but the rear overhang is also 2.36 inches shorter, which means the whole shebang is the same size as it was in its fourth generation. That longer wheelbase also means more rear legroom and a lower load point for cargo, making it easier to load more stuff into the trunk.
The interior is enormously classier than before, with a number of soft-touch materials scattered throughout the cabin. The dashboard extends behind the screen, where ambient lighting creates a pleasing effect. The way it enters the door panel is also very good. The doors themselves adopt the same e-Latch technology as the new NX, where the electronics take care of locking and unlocking – but don’t worry, there’s still a mechanical backup. Steering wheel controls have been tweaked and simplified, and the available 14-inch infotainment screen blends seamlessly with its digital gauge cluster neighbor.
Lexus has also provided the 2023 RX with a variety of new powertrain configurations, most of which are electrified. The base RX 350, available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, uses a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 to produce 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The RX 350h offers a 2.5-liter I4 as part of a gas-electric hybrid system producing 246 hp and 233 lb-ft. The new RX 500h F Sport Performance hybrid puts the 2.4-liter engine back under the hood, but it combines with a rear-mounted electric motor to produce 367 hp and 406 lb-ft, which is nothing short of shaking. A new plug-in hybrid will also be offered, but Lexus is not yet releasing details on that variant.
However, Lexus offered estimated fuel economy figures for the aforementioned version. The automaker is targeting a combined economy of 24 mpg for the RX 350, 33 mpg for the RX 350h and 26 mpg for the 500h.
Since a Lexus is also a Toyota product, it’s no surprise that the 2023 RX is packed with out-of-this-world standard safety systems. Every RX is equipped with the Lexus Safety System 3.0 suite of active and passive driver aids. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, motorcycle detection, adaptive cruise control with curve speed management, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. A new parking aid will allow head-first parking maneuvers, rather than backing into position each time.
The 2023 Lexus RX is expected to go on sale at the end of calendar year 2022, and pricing will be announced closer to that date.