The all-new 2016 RX has a redesigned luxury interior wrapped in a bold, chiselled body with Lexus-first styling cues. It combines the dynamic new look with apparently exceptional on-road performance and safety technologies, including the new Lexus Safety System +.

The five seater, All Wheel Drive RX offers a six model line-up continuing with the RX 350 and RX 450h available in base, F Sport and Limited grades.

The RX 350 features an improved 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine mated to a new quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, while the RX 450h features a completely re-engineered V6 petrol electric hybrid engine with Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), both achieving a EURO6 emission standard.

The new 2016 RX builds on the success of its previous generations, said Spencer Morris Lexus New Zealand’s Product General Manager.

“The RX has been a significant vehicle for Lexus both globally and in New Zealand. Since introducing it to the local market in 2003 it’s found a strong following in the fast growing luxury SUV segment,” said Mr Morris.

“The stunning new Lexus look teamed with exceptional performance, luxurious features and our strong hybrid environmental proposition, positions the 2016 RX to continue the legacy.”

Although extensive design and functional specifications have been added across the grades, the luxury SUV is similarly priced to the outgoing model, with the entry level RX 350 priced at $95,900 through to the range topping RX 450h F Sport and RX 450h Limited models both priced at $125,900.

If New Zealand SUV sale trends continue, Lexus New Zealand expects the new RX to account for just over 30% of its sales in 2016, with the sales split relatively even between the RX 350 direct-injected V6 petrol engine and the hybrid technology driving the RX 450h models.

Steve Prangnell, Lexus New Zealand’s General Manager of Sales said, “Regardless of powertrain, Limited models tend to be our top sellers. They have typically generated more sales due to their comprehensive specification, but we think the F Sport will close the gap with this stunning new model in 2016. With its more sports focused design and new powertrain, the RX F Sport range will attract new customers to the Lexus brand.”

The fully redesigned exterior of the RX adopts the similar styling cues that have made the distinctive NX so popular. Integrated Daytime Running Lights and fog lights with a triangular black and chrome surround are accentuated by a large signature spindle grille with sharp horizontal lines for base and Limited models, while the aggressive F Sport grille features an artfully incorporated L-mesh pattern.

Uniquely RX, the rear three-quarter styling is characterised by sharp contours that run from the front wheel arch to the rear where the C-pillar has been blacked out – a Lexus-first feature providing a dramatic ‘floating-roof’ effect.

An emblem touch-less sensor added to F Sport and Limited grades will open the power back door by simply hovering a hand over the Lexus emblem, and with one tap of the button at the base of the rear door will close it automatically and two taps will close and lock the door automatically. There is smart key connected illuminated walk up entry system with puddle lamps and lighting on exterior handles.

All RX models feature new designed 20” alloy wheels with distinctive designs for each grade. Limited models come with an exclusive Sonic Titanium colour inserts with three other colour options available as an accessory.

Seven new colours dramatically expand the exterior palette range with White Nova exclusive for F Sport and Sonic Quartz, Deep Metallic Bronze and Metallic Silk (current) exclusive to base and Limited grades. Platinum Silver (current), Titanium, Onyx, Graphic Black, Deep Blue and Burgundy complete the 10 exterior colour offering.

The RX has a comprehensive safety package including the new Lexus Safety System + on all grades which draws on a combination of radar and camera functions to detect potential hazards and assist with the appropriate action. The system includes the Pre-Crash System, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam Headlights (Adaptive High beam on Limited grades), Lane Keep Assist system which when enabled will provide corrective steering assistance to stay centred in a lane and Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning.

A Panoramic View Monitor, an exclusive feature for F Sport and Limited grades, uses cameras to display a 360-degree view of the vehicles immediate surroundings including a bird’s eye view for improved sight. It works in conjunction with the Lexus Parking Assist sensors and monitor, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert for greater awareness which come standard across the range.

Through innovative techniques including a new process called “annular frame construction” to create stronger sections around the front and rear doors, the more rigid body of the RX supposedly not only has a positive impact on handling, comfort and cabin quietness but also provides more robust crash protection.

Signature Lexus sequential LED front and rear indicators, first seen on the LX, are adopted on the F Sport and Limited models for a premium aesthetic appeal.

The new RX interior has been redesigned with all new configuration and high levels of luxury and comfort achieved through the extensive interior trim options and convenient features.

The shift lever location has been improved by lowering the lever to the flat section of the centre console, contributing to ease of use and visual appeal combined with five new interior trim options available including Noble Brown, Topaz Brown, Rich Cream, F Sport White and F Sport Dark Rose, depending on the grade.

Lexus-first Laser-cut wood ornamentation developed by Yamaha provides a premium interior finish option for the Limited grade. A laser-etching process, used in the creation of some of the world’s most exclusive musical instruments, amplifies the fine contemporary quality of the real wood veneers to expose distinctive grains of the aluminium metal beneath. The results of this technique, which can only be performed by skilled craftsmen, are applied to sections on the centre console and doors.

Lexus-first 3D Film and Laser-cut wood are included in the five new interior ornamentation options in addition to Aluminium, Shimamoku and Bamboo, depending on the grade

For RX Limited buyers a panoramic moon roof, which uses a two piece glass structure of open and tilt front glass and fixed rear glass with an automatic extending wind deflector, adds another level of sophistication to the interior. The front visibility in all models has dramatically improved from the previous generation with larger placements of fixed glass to minimise blind spots and a longer deck achieves gains to the boot space by up to 16 percent with a cargo capacity offering of 514L in the RX 450h and 519L in the RX 350 with all seats in use.

The F Sport not only embodies its athletic reputation through the additions of aluminium and leather F Sport detailed interior, but it sounds it too. An air intake sound generator amplifies the engine noise into the cabin while the combination of the optimised pressure distribution of the seat cushions, unique F Sport leather steering wheel with paddle shifters and leather gear lever ensure an exhilarating experience for those who demand the thrill that driving brings. It remains to be seen if this actually improves the driving experience, or just sounds naff.

More power and torque, lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions are the result of significant changes to the 3.5-litre V6 engines to power both the RX 350 and RX 450h.

For the RX 350, it adopts an all-new cylinder head design with reshaped intake ports and combustion chambers for added efficiency, D-4S injection, VVT-iW on the intake, and an adoption of the Atkinson cycle to benefit fuel economy. Dynamic Torque Control AWD is included to maximise traction on varying surfaces and road conditions. The RX 350 transmission has also been replaced with an 8-speed automatic transmission for faster gear shifts.

The V6 now produces a powerful 221kWs, an increase of 8.3 percent, while torque gains of 6.9 percent bring it up total torque up to 370Nm. Revised gear ratios allow punchy acceleration in the lower gears and fuel efficiency in the higher gears. There is combined fuel consumption of 9.6L/100km an 11 percent reduction from the outgoing engine, and combined CO2 emissions have reduced by 12 percent with 223g/km.

The completely re-engineered direct-injected V6 hybrid engine featured in the RX 450h also has newly shaped intake ports and combustion chambers. The AWD system, which uses an E-Four configuration has been enhanced for a better response when accelerating through turns.

Performance of the hybrid engine produces 5.5 percent more power at 193kWs, and a total system output (engine + hybrid system) of 230kW is achieved, an increase of 10kW from the outgoing model. There is combined fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km a 10.9 percent reduction, and combined CO2 emissions have reduced by 12.7percent with 131g/km.

The new RX powertrains are allied to a strengthened chassis for enhanced stability and road holding through corners. The RX’s fully independent suspension system with MacPherson struts at the front and a double wishbone setup at the rear has been tuned to deliver crisper turns, reduced understeer and increased agility.

Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which features on the RX for the first time for F Sport models, helps keep the vehicle planted to the road. The driver can select Sport S or the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode, in addition to the Eco and Normal settings which are available across the range using the Drive Mode Select control located on the centre console. On the F Sport the Sport S and Sport S+ modes replace the Sport mode offered on the base and Limited models.

The RX 450h F Sport has an Active Stabiliser System –which minimises roll and ensures stability around bends– teamed with the highly responsive new Roll Skyhook Control which creates counter forces on uneven surfaces such as potholes or off-road terrain which would otherwise impact stability.

All RX models come with a siren alarm, engine immobiliser and intrusion sensor, leather covered steering wheel with audio controls, leather gear lever, power tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column, rear privacy glass, smart card entry and starting, automatic rain sensing wipers, Automatic LED headlights, brake lights, front fog lights and turn signal lamps in the heated side mirrors and dual zone climate control air conditioning.

Other standard features include dual chrome exhaust surrounds (RX 350 models only), extendable sun visors, 8-way power adjustable front seats with memory for the driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, rear seats with 40:60 split and one touch fold levers, 12 speaker sound system with satellite navigation, front and rear sensors and reverse camera.

The exhilarating F Sport models feature a custom F Sport instrument cluster as well as a sports steering wheel featuring perforated leather, F Sport emblem and paddle shifters. There are aluminium F Sport specific pedals and interior trim , unique leather upholstery, vehicle dynamics integrated management, F Sport seats with rear seat heaters, Qi wireless phone charger, head up display instrumentation, subtle F Sport badging and the option of the Mark Levinson premium audio for an additional $3,000.

The Limited model features a carefully crafted wooden veneer for the heated steering wheel, centre console and dashboard ornamentation, Semi-Aniline leather seats, front seat passengers enjoy 10-way power adjustable seats with memory and 4-way lumbar support, rear seat heaters with power fold, head up display instrumentation, a Qi wireless phone charger and  15 speaker Mark Levinson premium audio.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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