aboard the fifth generation of the hybrid SUV

Launched in 1998, the Lexus RX is one of the manufacturer’s successful models with 3.5 million copies sold worldwide since its introduction, including more than 300,000 in Europe. The 4th generation, launched in 2015 and restyled in 2019, bows out this year. It gives way to a fifth iteration, even more successful.

A drawing close to the old generation

Close to the old generation, this new version of the RX adopts similar proportions. The length is identical with 4.89 m, while width and height evolve with 1.92 m wide (+ 2.5 cm) and 1.71 m high (- 1 cm). The wheelbase is lengthened by 6 cm, brought to 2.85 m. The tracks are also widened: + 1.5 cm at the front, + 5 cm at the rear. The line of the RX is recognizable, with nevertheless some adjustments: the grille is more streamlined and more prominent, in the spirit of recent RZ. The optics are refined and the hood is slightly elongated, which modifies the profile a little, with the still very high waistline. At the front, the F Sport finish of our presentation model differs slightly from the other variants with reworked shields, incorporating grilles and honeycomb air intakes.

The floating roof, one of the characteristics of the RX, is retained thanks to the black quarter panel on the C-pillar. On the profile, we note the presence of 21-inch rims and large handles, which are nevertheless equipped with a button for electronic opening. At the rear, a light strip is placed over the entire width of the vehicle like the NX, UX and RZ, and the new Lexus logo in full appears on the tailgate. At the top of the tailgate, a spoiler extends the roof.

A 14-inch touchscreen on board

As on recent NX and RZ, the RX adopts a dashboard centered towards the driver. All information is grouped together on the 14-inch multimedia screen and single-dial digital meter, while a heads-up display is placed a bit higher. Materials are refined with stitched leather and inserts on the wide center console or dashboard. A Lexus Ambience Selector lets you customize the RX’s ambient lighting from a palette of 64 colors and 14 bespoke themes.

At the rear, space is generous thanks to the slightly longer wheelbase and the almost flat floor. The bench seat can be split into 40/20/40, practical for transporting long objects. Footwells are deep and all three passengers are pampered with heated and ventilated seat controls or USB-C outlets in the back of the center console. Trunk volume is yet to be announced, but Lexus says it’s a bit more roomy and practical than the older generation thanks to a 3cm lowered boot sill and 5cm longer cargo length.

Always more technologies

Using the NX’s GA-K platform, slightly redesigned at the rear to lengthen the wheelbase and add multi-link suspension for more stability, the RX features the brand’s latest technologies. It can benefit from Direct4 all-wheel drive, inaugurated by the RZ, but also rear-wheel steering on some versions. For boarding and egress, electronic “e-latch” door handles are installed. Connected to a vehicle or bicycle detection system approaching from behind, they prevent accidents when the driver wants to open his door but a vehicle or cyclist is approaching.

On board, the SUV also receives a digital rearview mirror, like the Toyota RAV4 for example. An advanced 360° camera system offers a panoramic view and a view from above, which is practical during manoeuvres. Besides, the automatic parking system with memory, inaugurated by the large LS sedan, is also in the game with up to three parking spaces stored when they are regularly used. Finally, some improvements have been made to the pre-crash safety systems and the adaptive cruise control.

Engines: only hybrid

Under the hood, the RX only has three petrol hybrid engines. The simple “350h” hybrid (which will not be available in France) combines a 2.5 petrol engine with a single electric motor for a cumulative power of 245 hp and a torque of 335 Nm. The 0 to 100 km/h is shipped in 8 seconds, and CO2 emissions and consumption are respectively displayed at 143-150 g/km and 6.4-6.7 l/100 km.

For the first time, the RX also offers a “450h+” plug-in hybrid taking over the motorization of the Toyota RAV4 PHEV : a 2.5 petrol engine associated with two electric motors and an 18.1 kWh battery for a combined power of 306 hp. The block delivers 572 Nm of torque, and climbs to 100 km/h in 7 s. The electric range would be around 65 km, subject to approval. On the consumption side, Lexus announces 1.1 to 1.2 l/100 km and CO2 emissions contained between 24 and 26 g/km.

Finally, a non-rechargeable hybrid with turbo (for the first time at Lexus) baptized “500h” joins the catalog. More focused on sportiness, this 2.4 turbo engine is associated with two electric blocks, a six-speed automatic transmission and a Direct4 all-wheel drive, from the RZ. The set offers 371 hp and 645 Nm of torque, with a 0-100 km/h achieved in 5.9 s. Fuel consumption is given between 8.2 and 8.5 l/100 km, and CO2 emissions are set at 182-189 g/km.

Marketing and prices

Available for online booking from June 1 in a Paris Opera launch finish (50 units), the new RX will be officially launched between the end of 2022 and the start of 2023. This time, no seven-seater variant is planned, unlike the older generation which was offered in an elongated version under the name RX L. Full prices have not yet been revealed but we already know that the 450h+ rechargeable hybrid will be available between €88,900 and €98,900. For the record, the fourth generation of the RX was until now available from €70,390 with a simple hybrid of 313 hp.

Photos: Hamdi Ben Lagha / DR.

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Lexus ES 300h test: what is the large hybrid sedan worth?

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On board a BMW M3 GTS E92, he sends himself to more than 320 km / h on the highway!

He attempts a dangerous overtaking with his Porsche and causes a stupid accident