New Lexus RX (2022). Plug-in hybrid and performance

No manufacturer today seems to be able to escape the double evolution that is overwhelming the automotive world: the generalization of SUVs and the forced march of range electrification. And we can say that the recent news from Lexus perfectly reflects this trend.

Lexus RZ450e

Over the past year, Toyota’s premium label has renewed its NX, now available as a plug-in hybrid, and then unveiled its second electric model with the new RZ 450e SUV. Today, it is the great SUV RX, a pillar of the range and currently the best-selling world of the brand, which in turn is updated, with a fifth generation. And he’s also shifting gears on the side of electrification to plug-in hybrid.

More hybridization, fewer cylinders

While its predecessor was only available in a full 313 hp hybrid version, the new RX takes the example of the little brother NX and borrows its plug-in hybrid engineinaugurated the Toyota RAV4 in 2020. Based on a 2.5 four-cylinder, this 450h + variant develops a power of 306 hp and 572 Nm of torque. It incorporates an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery that allows the RX to have a fully electric range, with “at least 65 km” (pending approval) that can be covered up to a speed of 135 km / h.

Lexus RX price

On the other hand, the fan of noble mechanics will not fail to notice the demise of the V6 3.5 under the hood of this great SUV, whatever its version. However, this does not prove to be detrimental in terms of performance, as the new RX 450h + can drop from 0 to 100 km / h in 7 s, or 7 tenths better than the old full 450h hybrid model.

A high-performance version of 500 h

In addition to optimizing all-electric driving with the rechargeable hybrid, this fifth RX of the name is also concerned with performance when purchasing a new 500h hybrid version. First Lexus hybrid vehicle based on a supercharged engine, in this case a 2.4 turbo four-cylinder, this RX 500h develops 371 hp and 645 Nm, and only requires 5.9 s to go from 0 to 100 km / h.

Power Lexus RX 500h
The RX will be available in France either in full hybrid “high performance” 500h of 371 hp …
Lexus RX Direct 4
The Lexus RX takes advantage of the Direct4 all-wheel drive system launched by the RZ 450e.

It also incorporates the new Direct4 all-wheel drive system introduced by the RZ 450e, which permanently distributes power between the axles, as well as four-wheel steering. Finally, the RX range will be completed with a full hybrid version of 350 h of 245 hp, but this will not be available in our market. Lexus France is very committed to the rechargeable hybrid and intends to sell about 700 units a year, 95% of which are 450h + models.

Smooth style evolution

Lexus RX rear quarter
The rear, with its particular fourth panel and its “floating” roof, allows you to recognize the RX at first glance.

As is the case with the second generation NX, this new RX is not undergoing any radical changes in terms of design. Needless to say, its predecessor had seriously dusted off the somewhat awkward image of the vehicle with its futuristic hook-cut style. Thus, the profile looks very similar to the current model, and the RX is immediately recognizable by the very particular design of its window quarter, which seems to float on the ceiling.

Lexus RX front
The front is reminiscent of the RZ 450e electric SUV, introduced last month by Lexus.

The front part nevertheless evolves significantly with its now trapezoidal grille and no longer in the shape of an hourglass; it is very close to that of the electric RZ. Keep in mind that the F Sport finish of the model we were able to tackle stands out for its specific front face, which differs mainly in terms of grille and side air intakes. On the back, the optics are now joined by a strip of light, as in the NX, which incorporates Lexus lettering to replace the brand’s traditional logo.

Same dimensions, but new platform

The new RX is no longer than the old one and is still 4.89 m long.  On the other hand, the wheelbase increases by 6 cm.
The new RX is no longer than the old one and is still 4.89 m long. On the other hand, the wheelbase increases by 6 cm.

Despite this style quite close to that of the old model, the new RX is clearly changing technically, as it takes over the GA-K platform of the recent NX that allows conversion to the rechargeable hybrid. Thus, although the length stagnates by 4.89 m, the wheelbase increases by 6 cm (2.85 m) and allows, among other things, rear passengers to benefit from 1 cm of space. additional to the legs. The width has been increased by 2.5 cm, while the height has been reduced by 1 cm.

Lexus RX trunk
According to the manufacturer, the trunk would be 5 cm deeper. Its capacity was not indicated.

More interesting for the dynamism of the car, the center of gravity of the vehicle has also been lowered by 15 mm, while the front and rear tracks have been widened (+15 mm at the front and +40 mm at the rear). Finally, the trunk of the trunk is 3 cm lower than that of the old RX – a very good thing to load your luggage! The dam would also be 5 cm deeper, but Lexus does not indicate whether it has increased its capacity (539 the old).

The RX is fully digital

Lexus RX interior
We now explore the interior of the fifth-generation Lexus RX.

Indented in the center of the dashboard, we find in this new RX the large 14-inch center touch screen inaugurated last year by the NX. Adjusting the air conditioning still requires going through these amazing buttons that seem to cross the screen and allow the temperature to be displayed in the center. Some may be disappointed that this premium SUV does no better than its little brother. However, this screen seems big enough and above all fits better on the board than on the NX. The instrumentation becomes partially digital, equipped with a single counter complemented by a front screen.

Lexus RX driver's side glove box
The central glove compartment can be opened from one side …
Lexus RX passenger side glove box
… or the other. An especially original scene!

The presentation is especially careful, with a good quality finish. Some amazing details, such as the presence of foamed plastics in the containers of the entrance doors (very rare in this place) or the central storage compartment that can be opened on one side or the other depending on the passenger who wishes to use it . Finally, special mention to the very beautiful burgundy leather and Alcantara seats that are offered with the F Sport finish.

Finished the long version with 7 seats!

5-seater Lexus RX
The long version will not be moved to this new model.

Definitely, Models that offer the ability to carry seven passengers are becoming increasingly rare! Thus, after the second generation of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer which will not be available in Gran Tourer version, Lexus confirms that this new RX will not have the L variant inaugurated by its predecessor. Sales of this 7-seater RX were a priori too low, while other models that offer this possibility are available in the most demanding markets (minivan LM or SUV LX).

Launch of the Lexus RX in October

Power Lexus RX 500h
The RX will be available in France in a full 500h hybrid of 371 hp …
Lexus RX plug-in hybrid
… or in the plug-in hybrid version of 306 hp and 450 h +.

Production of this new Lexus RX will begin next October, but the vehicle is available for order today. The first deliveries should take place at best in December 2022. Finally, although the prices are not yet official, it will probably cost at least € 88,900 for the plug-in hybrid RX 450h +. Suffice it to say that the complement claimed over the current model (from € 70,390) seems especially significant, although it is true that the advantage of the rechargeable hybrid is not negligible.

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