A year after the NX, it is the turn of the big Lexus RX to be renewed and to switch to the rechargeable hybrid. A powerful 500h version completes the offer, while the style, quite close to what we already know, is inspired by that of the electric RZ. Let’s discover the 5th generation SUV.
No manufacturer today seems to be able to escape the double evolution that is overwhelming the automotive world: the generalization of SUVs and the forced march of electrification of ranges. And we can say that the recent news of Lexus perfectly reflects this trend.
Over the past year, Toyota’s premium label has renewed its NX, now available as a plug-in hybrid, then unveiled its second electric model with the new RZ 450e SUV. Today, it is the large RX SUV, pillar of the range and currently the brand’s best-selling world, which in turn is being updated, with a fifth generation. And he too is changing gear on the electrification side by going to the plug-in hybrid.
More hybridization, fewer cylinders
A high performance 500h version
In addition to optimizing all-electric driving with the rechargeable hybrid, this fifth RX of the name also cares about performance by acquiring a new full hybrid 500h version. First Lexus hybrid vehicle based on a supercharged engine, in this case a 2.4 turbo four-cylinder, this RX 500h develops 371 hp and 645 Nm, claiming only 5.9 s to go from 0 to 100 km/h.
It also incorporates the new Direct4 all-wheel drive system introduced by the RZ 450e, which permanently distributes the power between the axles, as well as the four-wheel steering. Finally, the RX range will be completed by a 245 hp full hybrid 350h version, but this will not be available on our market. Lexus France is betting a lot on the rechargeable hybrid and intends to sell around 700 units a year, 95% of which are 450h+ models.
Smooth style evolution
As is the case for the second generation of NX, this new RX does not know any radical change in terms of design. It must be said that its predecessor had seriously dusted off the somewhat clumsy image of the vehicle with its futuristic style cut with a billhook. Thus, the profile appears very similar to that of the current model, and the RX is immediately recognized by the very particular design of its quarter window, which seems to float the roof.
The front part evolves despite everything in a significant way with its now trapezoidal grille and no longer in the shape of an hourglass; it is thus very close to that of the electric RZ. Note that the F Sport finish of the model that we were able to approach stands out with its specific front face, which differs in particular at the level of the grille and the side air intakes. At the rear, the optics are now joined by a light strip, as on the NX, which incorporates Lexus lettering replacing the traditional brand logo.
Same dimensions, but new platform
Despite this style quite close to that of the old model, the new RX is clearly changing technically, since it takes up the GA-K platform of the recent NX which allows conversion to the rechargeable hybrid. Thus, although the length stagnates at 4.89 m, the wheelbase grows by 6 cm (2.85 m) and allows, among other things, the rear passengers to benefit from 1 cm of additional space in the legs. The width has increased by 2.5 cm, while the height is down by 1 cm.
More interesting for the dynamism of the car, the vehicle’s center of gravity has also been lowered by 15 mm, while the front and rear tracks have been widened (+15 mm at the front and + 40 mm at the rear). Finally, the trunk sill is 3 cm lower than that of the old RX: a very good thing for loading luggage! The hold would also be 5 cm deeper, but Lexus does not indicate whether its capacity has increased (539 l on the old one).
The RX goes all-digital
Enthroned in the center of the dashboard, we find on this new RX the large central touch screen of 14 inches inaugurated last year by the NX. Adjusting the air conditioning still requires going through these amazing knobs which seem to cross the screen and allow the temperature to be displayed in the center. Some might be disappointed that this premium SUV doesn’t do even better than its little sibling. Nevertheless, this screen appears quite sufficient and above all fits better into the dashboard than in the NX. The instrumentation becomes partially digital, equipped with a single counter supplemented by a head-up display.
The presentation is particularly neat, with a good quality finish. Some surprising details, such as the presence of foamed plastics on the bins of the front doors (very rare in this place) or the central storage compartment which can open on one side or the other depending on the passenger who wishes to s use it. Finally, special mention to the very beautiful leather and Alcantara seats in burgundy color offered with the F Sport finish.
Finished the long version with 7 places!
Definitely, models offering the possibility of carrying seven passengers are becoming increasingly rare! Thus, after the second generation of BMW 2 Series Active Tourer which will not be available in Gran Tourer version, Lexus confirms that this new RX will not have the L variant inaugurated by its predecessor. Sales of this 7-seater RX were a priori too low, while other models offering this possibility are available on the most demanding markets (LM minivan or LX SUV).
Launch of the Lexus RX in October
Production of this new Lexus RX will start next October, but the vehicle is available for order today. The first deliveries should take place in December 2022 at best. Finally, although the prices are not yet official, it will probably cost at least €88,900 for the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid. Suffice to say that the supplement claimed compared to the current model (from €70,390) seems particularly significant, even if it is true that the advantage of the rechargeable hybrid is not negligible.