It’s long been the underdog in the posh mid-sized SUV segment but now the Lexus RX has entered into its fourth generation and comes with a more aggressive look. There’s no mistaking this for any of its rivals, that’s for sure. The new RX carries on Lexus’ current design language and is dominated by that massive spindle grille. From the front it looks like a scaled-up version of the NX crossover.
From the side it’s all new. The squared off wheel arches are more flared than before, giving it a more muscular look. There’s lots of sculpting in the bodywork and the chrome surrounds on the windows give a sleeker and sportier look than before. I particularly like the way the rear quarter light window connects to the rear windscreen. Round the back it’s less in-yer-face than the front. It’s almost very Toyota-ish. As a whole though the RX is certainly a bold choice in a typically somber segment. You might love the looks or hate them but I applaud Lexus for daring to be different.
Inside it’s business as usual for Lexus. It appears to be well made and well appointed. Strangely however, the wonderful layered dash from the NX doesn’t make an appearance here. Instead we get what’s possibly the most German looking of all of Lexus’ interiors. The stand alone 12.3-inch screen is partially to blame. That’s roughly the same size as the screen you get in a BMW X5. Rear passenger and luggage space also gets an increase.
At launch the RX will be available with either a 300bhp/220kW 3.5-litre V6 for the RX350 or a 300bhp/220kW 3.5-litre V6 mated to an electric motor for the RX450h. As before a F-Sport pack will be available as an optional extra but only for all-wheel drive versions. Along with styling additions, the F-Sport pack also brings in a Sport+ setting for the Vehicle Internal Dynamics Management (VIDM) system. For the first time the RX will also be available with Adjustable Variable Suspension. AVS adjusts and adapts the shock absorbers damping and steering to suit driving conditions.
Like its rivals, the new RX comes with a host of high tech safety gizmos. As part of the Lexus Safety System+ the fourth generation RX comes equipped with Pre-Collision System which can brake in certain conditions, Lane Keep Assist, Radar-guided cruise control, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam and High Beam Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Monitor. There’s also a Heads-Up Display to help keep the driver’s eye straight ahead.
Since the launch of the first RX, Lexus has gone on to sell over 2.1 millions units making it the best-selling model in the company’s 26 year history. The RX has made up around 30% of all Lexus sales. There’s a lot riding on this new model but things do seem to look good for Lexus. The RX has always been a bit of a left-field alternative to the Germans and this one continues that. The polarising design may split opinion but I think that’s the point. This is for people who don’t necessarily want to have a conservatively designed SUV. Let’s not forget style and status are probably the biggest reasons people buy SUVs in the first place. Lexus’ new design language seems to be working well with current Lexus owners and it’s bringing new blood to Lexus showrooms. No doubt the RX will carry this on.