2016 Lexus RX : Preliminary specifications announced

The new 2016 Lexus RX will take a three-pronged approach to the large luxury SUV segment when it arrives in Australia in November this year.
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The brand has confirmed it will offer the entry-level RX200t, mid-spec RX350 and top-end RX450h when the car launches here, which makes Australia one of just three markets to take three different drivetrains globally.

As is the case with the smaller NX SUV, there will be different trim grades available depending on the engine specification.

The new fourth-generation Lexus RX luxury SUV remains a five-seat proposition, though it will fight for sales in the same segment as vehicles available with seven seats, such as the Audi Q7, Range Rover Sport and BMW X5.

However, there are other five-seaters with which it competes, including the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Porsche Cayenne.

Lexus RX450h_4

However, if Lexus plays the same game with the new-generation RX as it did with the current model, the pricing should be notably lower than all of those aforementioned competitors. We have to wait until later this year to get that information.

Model by model

The entry-level variant will be the RX200t Luxury, a front-drive four-cylinder turbocharged petrol model that – if the RX270 that it replaces was anything to go by – will come packed with standard equipment at a budget-friendly price (it was priced from $64,110 plus on-road costs).

The new engine produces a healthy 175kW of power and 350Nm of torque, and it makes use of a six-speed automatic gearbox. Fuel use is claimed at 8.1L/100km.

Lexus RX_18

Buyers can expect an 8.0-inch media screen in the base model, which is controlled by a rotary dial rather than Lexus’ mousepad-style Remote Touch controller, which is reserved for the 12.3-inch media screen offered in higher-spec F Sport and Sports Luxury variants.

All cars – including the entry-level model – will be offered with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights (in different configurations based on model), dual-zone climate control, leather interior trim with front seat heating and ventilation, front and rear parking sensors, reverse-view camera, satellite navigation, digital radio and a 12-speaker sound system.

Further, every RX sold will get Lexus’ advanced Safety System+, which includes radar cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and automatic high beam headlights.

All models also get an electric boot with automated opening, too, and Lexus will also offer “enhancement packs” to boost the, er, luxury on offer in the Luxury model.

Lexus RX_14

There’s every chance that within 12 months or so the RX200t Luxury will be joined by an F Sport variant with all-wheel drive and a more convincing chassis tune, but that’s still in discussion.

The mid-range RX350 will once again be offered with the brand’s 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine producing 218kW of power and 360Nm of torque, and this time around it’s mated to an eight-speed auto rather than a six-speeder.

The all-wheel-drive RX350 uses a claimed 9.6L/100km.

The RX350 will be offered in AWD in three specification levels: Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury.

Lexus RX_27

Over the already generously equipped Luxury version, F Sport and Sports Luxury models get adaptive headlights with 18 LEDs that can help stop oncoming traffic from being blinded.

The F Sport variants will gain styling changes including a full mesh grille insert, revised rear bumper and distinctive alloy wheels, while inside there is a sports steering wheel with paddleshifters as well as a unique instrument cluster.

F Sport models also get adaptive sports suspension and an active stabiliser bar system designed to help the body of the car sit flatter through corners.

The F Sport and Sports Luxury variants also gain a panoramic sunroof and Mark Levinson 15-speaker sound system, as well as a colour head-up display and surround-view camera system.

Lexus RX_01

The Sports Luxury model (pictured above) also has laser-cut wood trim.

Topping the range is the RX450h, which will also be offered in AWD only and also will be available in Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury models.

It combines a petrol V6 engine with a pair of electric motors (123kW front; 50kW rear). The total power output of system is rated at 230kW.

The all-wheel-drive hybrid model uses a claimed 5.7L/100km, and it makes use of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic.

Read our 2016 Lexus RX review here.

Full pricing and specification details will be confirmed later this year.