Lexus has reworked its SUV from the ground up, PETER BARNWELL writes
INITIAL resistance in the late 1990s by Lexus Australia to RX luxury SUV quickly caved when they tallied up how many “grey” imports of first generation model were being snapped up by private buyers.
was having none that and began importing the second
with encouraging results. That situation has developed over subsequent models to put RX at the top of Lexus sales chart.
Now it’s one their strongest sellers and, along the way, precipitated a rash of copycat luxury SUVs from other manufacturers.
The latest, fourth generation RX is new ground up featuring new engines, underpinnings, technology and generous levels equipment. With a monumental “spindle” grille, you can’t miss it on the street.
The lineup comprises RX200T, RX350 petrol units and RX450h hybrid petrol/electric in varying grade levels — Luxury, F-Sport Sports Luxury starting price at $73,000 for the RX200T front-wheel drive.
This 2.0-litre turbo, petrol, four cylinder is already in Lexus IS and NX models and arguably the best buy in
new RX lineup. It replaces underperforming thirsty 2.7-litre four cylinder petrol engine in the previous entry level RX270.
Powertrains include abovementioned 2.0-litre turbo four, a 3.5litre naturally aspirated V6 with torque on demand all wheel drive in the RX350 and a hybrid petrol/electric all wheel drive in the RX450h featuring petrol electric boost motors.
Outputs ascending order are 175kW/350Nm, 221kW/370Nm and 230kW/335Nm.
The new RX ushers in an eightspeed auto transmission on the 350 with the 200 using a six-speed auto.
hybrid 450h runs CVT “auto” called E-Four.
The petrol V6 is a revised version of the previous model with more technology and dual-fuel injection lifted from Toyota 86 other Toyota/Lexus models — for efficiency gains as well as improved fuel economy lower emissions.
The hybrid model sips little as 5.7-litres/100km but weighs a lot. Drive is handled by petrol and electric motors at the front an motor rear to give all wheel drive.
Generous equipment comes in models starting with RX200T that has 10-way power seats, leather upholstery, 12-speaker audio, wireless phone charger, heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch alloys, power tailgate, three mode drive select, steering wheel adjust, eight-inch touch screen, auto wipers and headlights, tyre pressure monitor, heated exterior mirrors, reverse camera, blind spot monitoring cross traffic alert, clearance parking rear sonar, smart entry start, Lexus safety system+ with pre-collision preparation, lane keeping active cruise control and plenty more. And that’s just the base model. Of particular note is arrival of sequential indicator lights on 450h that illuminate pointing direction of travel.
The new generation RX 50mm longer in the wheelbase and offers more room inside, particularly in the critical rear seat legroom hip/ shoulder measurements.
body/chassis has plenty of new construction technology to boost strength and reduce weight.
It has a larger footprint and improved stability on varying road surfaces under different driving conditions.
The higher spec models have more sophisticated electronically controlled dynamics.
Safety kit includes 10 airbags and a swag of driver assist technology as well as improved pedestrian safety.
Luxury inside the cabin is scaled up with better seats, wireless phone charger and multiple electric adjustments to driving position.
The second row has seat back recline.
As expected, the drive experience is somewhat artificial in feel, being quite isolated from road with minimal noise or vibration, light controls, soft ride, smooth progression. It a hallmark of Lexus brand.
The new 200T has plenty of go. is the sportiest drive in the RX range and for this reason, we think it will be
most popular. 350 typical Lexus, controlled, poised.
We didn’t hybrid model but suggest it would similar to 350 with perhaps even less noise or vibration.
Can’t see the sense in spending the extra 30-odd grand for top of range hybrid when 200 is such a good thing unless fuel economy and luxury is absolutely paramount.
I Like the style although it’s bit derivative of smaller NX.
Can’t argue with kit or the performance. Safe, useful, classy.