The Lexus RX was the original premium crossover SUV that launched way back in 1998. Since then, it has faced stiff competition from the German rivals but to this day, it remains as one of the best-selling vehicles in Canada. Fun fact, it’s actually built in Canada, at least, the RX models that are made for the North American market. For 2023, the Lexus RX enters its 5th generation with a new design, new features, and new powertrains.
Three New Engines
The standard engine in the 2023 Lexus RX350 is a 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder. It produces a healthy 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a new 8-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all four wheels. With the smaller engine, power is down a bit but it has a lot more torque than the old V6 engine. This makes the SUV feel a bit peppier than the old V6 because the turbocharger is able to provide power & torque at lower engine rpms. The new 8-speed automatic is also a delight with smooth shifts that are quick and well timed. This new engine is rated for 11.2 L/100km in a city, 8.4 L/100km on a highway, and 9.9 L/100km combined.
Next is the new RX350h which replaces the old RX450h. It too uses a 4-cylinder engine like the RX350 but it is a little bigger at 2.5L. However, it does not have a turbocharger, it is naturally aspirated. Helping it are a few electric motors which can provide a total output of 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque. This is the most fuel efficient powertrain of the three (for now) with a fuel economy rating of 6.3 L/100km in a city, 6.8 L/100km on a highway, and 6.5 L/100km combined. Paired with this engine is an e-CVT automatic which sends the power to the front wheels. The back wheels are powered exclusively by an electric motor. There is no physical driveshaft connecting the front and rear wheels but this is still considered an eAWD system.
Later in 2023, there will be a plug-in hybrid variant of the Lexus RX which will be called the RX450h+. This will utilize a bigger battery which should allow it for around 58 km of electric only driving. No official electric driving ranges have been announced.
And finally, there is a new high-performance variant of the Lexus RX. It is called the RX500h which utilizes the 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder of the RX350 along with more powerful versions of the hybrid motors in the RX350h. The end result is a Lexus RX that produces 366 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Don’t think for a second though that fuel economy has taken a hit with this new powertrain because the 2023 Lexus RX500h can still achieve up to 8.7 L/100km in a city, 8.4 L/100km on a highway and 8.6 L/100km combined.
This new variant of the RX has a 6-speed automatic transmission that manages the power to the wheels. This model also has four-wheel active steering which helps make the SUV more maneuverable at slow speeds and more stable at higher speeds. Further aiding the handling dynamics of this RX500h are adaptive variable suspension, e-axle rear differential and massive 6-piston front calipers. On the move, the new RX500h is not only fast but very comfortable. The zero to 100 km/h sprint takes just 5.9 seconds and it still has plenty of punch even as it reaches highway speeds. The rear-wheel-steering system makes the SUV feel planted around corners and keeps it stable when changing lanes on highways. However, the engineers did not forget that this is first and foremost, a luxury SUV. As such, the adaptive variable suspension absorbs bumps with ease and can tackle the worst that city streets throw at them.
As you step inside the new Lexus RX, one of the first things that you’ll notice is the simple and modern design. Gone are the plethora of buttons of the old Lexus RX. In their place there is a larger touchscreen but some buttons and knobs remain. The standard touchscreen measures 9.8” diagonally but you can option for one that is 14” in size. Also, one thing that you will not find in this new Lexus RX is the touchpad of the older generation. The new infotainment system is controlled through the touchscreen. Speaking of which, it has fresh graphics, it is fast and responsive, and it supports wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto connectivity.
Other changes to the interior include a 7” driver display, an available digital rearview mirror which provides an unobstructed view out the back, standard heated & ventilated front seats with 8-way power adjustments for both the driver and passenger, and ambient lighting with up to 64 different colours.
The wheelbase has been extended for the 2023 RX which means more legroom in the back seats. These are power adjustable and can be heated & ventilated, depending on the trim level and package. There are also two USB-C ports for device charging and the RX can be optioned with a panoramic sunroof to allow for more light in the back seats.
One thing that you will not find in this new generation Lexus RX is a third row. The 2023 Lexus RX is only available as a 5 passenger SUV. But while you cannot carry two extra people in the back, you can carry more cargo. The 2023 Lexus RX has 838 L of cargo space, regardless of which engine you choose. It’s only when you fold down the rear seats that you’ll notice a slight difference in cargo capacity between the hybrid and non-hybrid variants of the RX. The RX350 has 1,393 L of space while the RX350h and RX500h have 1,308 L of space.
The exterior has also seen a change to the design, although it is not as drastic as the interior. The new RX still follows the broad Lexus design language that is visible throughout all models but with some tweaks. It has an updated version of the spindle grille which blends into the hood, the signature L-shaped daytime running lights look sharper than ever before, and the jewel-like LED headlights are brighter than ever. To the side, 19 to 21” wheels are available and the RX has a muscular design that extends towards the rear wheels. It’s very reminiscent of the Toyota Supra. And finally in the back, the new RX has an LED light bar that extends from one side to the other. Also, it does not have any tailpipes, well, it has them but they’re hidden behind the bumper as it is the hot new design trend in the automotive industry.
Safer Than Ever Before
This being a Lexus, every trim level of the RX comes standard with Lexus Safety System 3.0+. This includes a wide range of active safety technologies such as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, Intersection Support and a new feature of Motorcycle Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Emergency Driving Stop System. These are on top of many other safety systems which again, are all standard across all trim levels.
A Price You Can Agree On
And finally, the 2023 Lexus RX starts at $58,650 for the RX350 trim. The RX350h starts at only $1,500 more, at $60,150. The high performance RX500h is a bit more expensive with a starting price of $79,800. Each trim can be equipped with different packages which range from as little as $4,600 to $15,500. These are the manufacturer suggested prices without fees and taxes and in Canadian dollars.
A Home Run for Lexus
In the end, the new Lexus RX is a handsome looking premium SUV with more features than ever before. Also, it is much more fuel efficient, and it has the performance to back up that sporty F-Sport badge. If you’d like to know more about the 2023 Lexus RX or would like to test drive one, please contact one of our product specialists at OpenRoad Lexus Richmond or OpenRoad Lexus Port Moody.