The 2023 Lexus RX has finally made its global debut. As the best-selling Lexus model in various markets around the world, with the Philippines included, the RX is a very important car for the brand. After all, the RX is one of the pioneers of the luxury crossover SUV segment.
The styling of the new 2023 Lexus RX is evolutionary, though designers opted for a more edgy appearance this time around. The spindle grille has been updated with a more upright design and an upper portion that’s been closed off. This is then flanked by new LED headlights, while the sides of the grille feature new air curtains where the foglights are also located.
Moving towards the side, the number of character lines has been reduced for a cleaner appearance. The signature sloping roofline and D-pillar design of the previous RX have been carried over to this fifth-generation model, and it’s a design piece that has given the RX its own visual identity. And then towards its rear end, the tailgate design has been resculpted to adopt the full-width LED taillight design that has now become a visual identity of every Lexus since the second-generation NX. Like the NX, the “L” badge has been ditched in favor of the “LEXUS” script being integrated at the taillights.
While the styling is evolutionary, its structure is completely new from the ground up as the 2023 Lexus RX finally migrates to the GA-K platform that also underpins the ES and NX. Some of the highlights of this platform are its increased rigidity, its weight loss of 198 lbs, and a new multi-link rear suspension that promises to offer better handling and ride comfort. The wheelbase has also been lengthened by 60 mm, but its length remains the same at 4,890 mm. As a result, the rear overhang was reduced for more legroom, yet despite that, cargo capacity has been increased.
Moving inside the 2023 Lexus RX, you’ll see an interior that adopts many of the design cues that debuted in the NX. These include the push-button electronic door latches, the standard 9.8-inch or optional 14-inch Lexus Interface touch screen infotainment system, and a fully-digital instrument cluster. The dashboard design is also completely new, and it comes with LED ambient lighting that surrounds the entire dash of the vehicle.
Because of the new Lexus Interface infotainment system, the number of buttons has been reduced, and this includes the horrid touchpad of the previous Lexus Remote Touch infotainment system. If you’re a fan of the previous RX’s analog clock, then you’ll probably be disappointed at their decision to eliminate it in favor of an all-digital interface.
Four powertrain options are available for the 2023 Lexus RX, though unfortunately, the 3.5-liter V6 powertrains have been discontinued in favor of purely a four-cylinder lineup. The range kicks off with the RX 350h which comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 275 hp and 429 Nm of torque. While horsepower is down by 20 hp, its torque has been increased by 68 Nm, and this results in a surprisingly faster 0-60 mph (96 kph) time of 7.2 seconds, 0.7 seconds faster than the previous V6 RX 350.
Up next is the RX 350h, which is significantly less powerful than the V6 RX 450h it replaces. This comes with a 2.5-liter non-turbo four-cylinder and an electric motor, and it has a total output of 246 hp and 316 Nm of torque. Lexus, however, claims that this model is faster than the previous RX 450h, with a 0-60 mph (96 kph) time of 7.4 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the more powerful V6 hybrid it replaces.
For the first time ever, a plug-in hybrid RX 450h+ is going to be offered, and this uses once again a 2.5-liter four-cylinder non-turbo gasoline engine and three electric motors. This has a combined output of 302 hp and an all-electric range of 60 km.
Lastly, a performance-oriented RX 500h F Sport Performance is being offered for the first time as well. Blending the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a rear eAxle with a high output electric motor gives the RX 500h F Sport Performance a total output of 367 hp and 550 Nm of torque. This is the fastest Lexus RX to date, as it can do the 0-60 mph (96 kph) sprint in just 5.9 seconds. And because this is a hybrid, expect strong fuel economy numbers, to the tune of 11.05 km/l.
The 2023 Lexus RX will go on sale in the United States later this year. A Philippine launch will most likely happen before the year ends or by Q1 2023.