The 2016 Lexus RX launches this week, bringing to the table far more aggressive styling, a thoroughly overhauled cabin, a new base turbo engine and some markedly higher pricing that sees the price of entry climb by almost $9000.
Now in its fourth generation, the new Lexus RX brings the model properly in line with Lexus’ much bolder modern styling ethos. It’s also longer and wider than before, but lower, and is said to ride and handle better.
Reflecting the competitiveness of Australia’s booming large luxury SUV market led by the BMW X5, Lexus Australia also offers the widest choice of any Lexus market in the world, with the local RX model line-up featuring RX200t, RX350 and RX450h variants in varying grade levels.
The Lexus RX has achieved a strong customer base in Australia. Nearly 30,000 units have been sold since 2003, and it has contributed the most of all Lexus models to the brand’s sales volume since, accounting for between 30 and 40 per cent of total sales.
The 2016 RX200t is powered by Lexus’ new turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant also used in the NX and IS. It develops 175kW between 4800 and 5600rpm and 350Nm between 1650 and 4000rpm. Torque is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed auto.
These figures outstrip the old 2.7-litre RX270’s 138kW/252Nm, while fuel use is also cut by 1.6 litres per 100km to a combined-cycle claim of 8.1L/100km.
The RX 350 features an upgraded version of the familiar 3.5-litre V6, punching out 221kW at 6300rpm and 370Nm at 4600rpm – 15kW and 24Nm more than the previous generation – and drives all four wheels via a new eight-speed auto, helping cut fuel use by 1.2L/100km to a claimed 9.6L/100km.
Both the RX200t and RX350 have identical 9.2-second 0-100km/h times, given the latter AWD model has a 90kg weight premium over the front-drive former.
Rounding out the trio of drivetrains on offer is the RX450h hybrid, which pairs the 3.5-litre V6 with a parallel hybrid system comprising an AC motor and a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack, all synced with a CVT with six stepped ratios.
It develops an impressive 230kW combined system power – a 10kW increase in combined system power over the previous generation RX 450h – and drives all four wheels. Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.7L/100km, 0.6L/100km better than before.
Lexus Australia believes that 30 per cent of RX sales will go to the 200t, 50 per cent will be of the 350, and the remaining 20 per cent of buyers will opt for the 450h.
All RX models feature MacPherson strut front suspension with an adaptive variable system on higher grades, and rear double wishbones and independent trailing arm.
the RX200t is a front-wheel drive only car, while the RX350’s AWD system uses an electronic rear differential coupling for the torque transfer rearward. The RX450h gas a 50kW motor at the rear.
All versions use the same brake package, comprising 328mm x 28mm ventilated discs up front and 338mm x 18mm units at the rear. All versions ride on 20-inch alloy wheels shod in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres.
The steering system is a speed-sensitive electric power-assisted system with 2.7 turns lock-to-lock that provides a vehicle turning circle of 11.8m.
Overall dimensions are: 4890mm long (about the same as a BMW X5)/1895mm wide and 1690mm tall, riding on a 2790mm wheelbase. This makes the new RX 120mm longer, 10mm wider and 35mm lower than before, while the wheelbase grows 50mm. Ground clearance is 200mm (195mm for the hybrid).
Kerb weights vary, with the entry RX200t kicking off at 1890kg, and the flagship RX450h with all the fruit tipping the scales at 2210kg.
All RX models remains five-seat only cars (a seven-seat option appears to have been ruled out). Each variant in the range has appreciably more equipment than before, with the line-up broken into Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury specifications.
The Luxury grades comes with a handful of options packages that bundle numerous features together, while the higher grades come as is.
RX200t enhancement pack 1 includes a panoramic sliding roof priced at $3500. Enhancement pack 2 includes the panoramic roof and adds a smart key card and colour head-up display for $4500. Enhancement pack 3 is $7000 and adds everything listed previously as well as a 12.3-inch display and 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
RX350 Luxury specifications (above the RX200t):
There are two enhancement packs available for RX350 that mirror enhancement packs 1 and 2 on the RX200t.
RX350 F Sport specifications (above RX350 Luxury):
RX350 Sports Luxury specifications (above F Sport):
RX450h Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury specifications:
Pricing (all are RRP, not including on-road costs):