When Lexus launched the original RX model in the UK in 2000, it broke new ground as the market’s first luxury SUV, a premium alternative to large-scale 4x4s that offered greater comfort, better handling and fuel economy and more sophisticated quality throughout. It was a lead that generated a new market segment in which today almost every premium manufacturer is represented.
The RX is now in its fourth generation and has a proud history of innovation, not least in being the first vehicle in the luxury segment to offer the choice of a self-charging hybrid powertrain – in the RX 400h of 2005. To further strengthen the model’s performance and customer appeal, Lexus has introduced a series of technical, styling and equipment enhancements.
The changes are led by new, evolutionary styling that maintains the RX’s powerful and sporty appearance, while introducing more elegant elements and creating a coherent flow from front to rear, giving the vehicle a stronger, unified look. Details of the frontal treatment include a new rendition of the signature Lexus grille, with a mesh pattern of radiating three-dimensional “L” shapes that forms a design link to the UX urban crossover; slimmer headlight units; more rounded edges to the front bumper; and an extended line from the rocker panel that connects with the bottom of the grille, projecting strength and stability.
At the rear, a more elegant and powerful look has been created with a redesigned lower bumper that links smoothly to the rear wings. Elements such as the lights, reflectors, underguard and exhaust outlets are arranged on a strong horizontal axis to emphasise the vehicle’s width and sense of purpose, while new LED combination lights feature a series of L motifs for the brake and tail lights and turn indicators.
The human-machine interface in the cabin has been improved with the availability of a new 12.3-inch central display that has a touchscreen function. To accommodate this new feature, the screen has been moved further forward on the centre console, giving a wider viewing angle and within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. The multimedia functions can also be operated using a new trackpad version of Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface, or with voice control.
The new RX also provides seamless smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Voice control can also be enabled via smartphones to Apple Siri of the Google Assistant. LexusLink gives access to connected services via a dedicated app, while the RX is equipped as standard with an on-board WiFi hotspot with an initial complimentary three-month/24GB data plan.
The third-row seats of the RX L now feature two different seating positions, being electronically adjustable, they add even more leg space (+94mm) when the situation demands.
Dynamic improvements have been achieved by giving the new RX a more rigid body, using laser screw welding, additional spot welds and high-strength adhesive at key points around the chassis. The suspension has been improved with a new, stiffer rear anti-roll bar, more rigid hubs and the use of a new Friction Control Device in the shock absorbers to further reduce high-frequency vibrations from small imperfections in the road surface.
The new Adaptive Variable Suspension fitted to the new RX F Sport was first deployed on the Lexus LC flagship coupe. It provides almost constantly variable damping control at each wheel, automatically adjusting through 650 different settings. The new RX’s vehicle stability control gains Active Cornering Assist, which automatically suppresses understeer if the driver steps on the throttle in mid-corner. The electric power steering has been retuned for a more linear steering feel and better line-tracing faithful to the driver’s intentions.
The latest version of Lexus Safety System+ provides additional protection to help prevent an accident happening, or lessen the consequence if the vehicle is involved in an impact. The Pre-Collision System’s functionality has been increased, with pedestrian detection by day and night and daytime detection of bicyclists in the car’s path.
In a world-first, the new RX is equipped (F Sport and Takumi grades) with a BladeScan™ Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), which uses a rapidly rotating blade-shaped mirror to direct light from the LED headlamps. It provides finer and deeper automatic forward illumination, making it easier to see pedestrians on the road margins. It also operates with no risk of dazzling drivers of vehicles ahead.