The all-new Lexus RX has been one of the industries best kept secrets and now we can see why. We’re definitely looking at Lexus’ best looking SUV ever made.
With global sales of more than 2.1 million units, the RX is by far the most successful model Lexus has ever produced. In fact, it represents three out of ten vehicles ever sold by the Japanese manufacturer. Those are some impressive numbers.
Of course, despite its success, it’s never been particularly handsome to look at, at least not after we realized how good a mid-size luxury SUV can look thanks to Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and other rivals which got in the game in the past 15 years.
All of this changes with the 2016 RX. It looks downright menacing and it makes a really strong visual statement, perhaps enough to give you goosebumps, as Lexus said during their official presentation in New York.
Styling-wise, it’s easy to get distracted by the completely new front end, highlighted by their over-sized grille which we don’t mind that much on this car. There’s also an aggressive front bumper and triple L-shaped LED headlamps.
The overall shape of the car is sporty and muscular. Thankfully it doesn’t look at all like a larger version of the NX – which really had us worried up until the very end. The flowing roofline is also a great touch, as are the blacked-out C-pillars and customizable 20″ wheels (which you can get with body color-matching inserts).
Inside, we have a new cabin design and layout which is exciting to say the least. There’s the available color heads-up display which projects vehicle info onto the driver’s windshield, the 12.3″ display with full-screen map and the shift lever which is now positioned away from the front of the instrument panel in order to make better use of spacing.
As Lexus RX chief designer would say “Even while ensuring a high level of luxury and space within the cabin, the RX’s silhouette remains sleek and dynamic, while the interior has been designed for easy operation with luxurious execution,” which sounds pretty darn accurate from the looks of it.
Engine-wise, you’re looking at two different versions, the RX 350 and the RX 450h, plus an RX F Sport trim level which offers visual enhancements regardless of which power unit you run, plus the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode as standard – which helps keep the vehicles body flat through corners.
The RX 350 features an upgraded and more powerful 3.5 liter V6, good for 300 HP and mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the RX 450h’s hybrid power unit (3.5 liter V6 + electric motor) offers about the same total output as the petrol-powered model.
Lexus also went to work on the RX’s body structure which has now been strengthened, helping enhance its handling response while reducing engine and road noise. There’s also adaptive variable suspension which is available on the RX for the first time and “about time” if you ask us.
Of course there’s also a bunch of safety systems you need to know about, such as the Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam, which are all part of Lexus’ Safety System+. Then there’s the Lane Keep Assist and the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control which can help you come to a complete stop under certain circumstances.
The Adaptive High-beam System, Panoramic View Monitor and Blind Spot Monitor round up the rest of the features which help make the driver’s life easier on the road.
The all-new 2016 Lexus RX is definitely the type of SUV you want to check out if you find yourself in the market for one. It looks genuinely striking both outside and in, and we’re pretty sure its European rivals are paying close attention to it as we speak.