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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.