Tonight, Lexus took the wraps off its all-new 2023 RX crossover SUV. Long the Lexus brand’s best-selling model, the RX kicks off its fifth generation with a fairly ambitious, from-the-ground-up redesign. It’s built on the new GA-K global platform and introduces an evolution of Lexus’s “spindle-grille” design language that results in a burlier front-end appearance. Four new 4-cylinder powertrains will be offered, three of which are gas-electric hybrids (including a forthcoming plug-in-hybrid model). New features include the Lexus Interface Multimedia System, an expanded Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 suite of safety features, available Digital Key smartphone-app access and starting, and two additional trim levels.
Consumer Guide classifies the Lexus RX as a premium midsize SUV; it competes against rivals such as the BMW X5 and Cadillac XT5. The 2023 RX continues as a 5-passenger two-row model. The previous-generation RX offered extended-length RX L models that offered a bit more cargo volume and a very cramped third-row seat, but the RX L will very likely be replaced by a new three-row crossover (reportedly named TX) that will probably be introduced late next year.
Lexus says the new RX’s platform is more rigid than the old model’s architecture and allows for a weight reduction of nearly 200 pounds. The wheelbase has been increased by 2.4 inches to help increase rear legroom, but the rear overhang has been reduced by the same amount, so the overall length remains 192.5 inches. Trim levels ascend through Standard, Premium, Premium+ (new), Luxury, F SPORT, and the new line-topping F SPORT Performance models.
The previous-gen RX’s V6 powertrains have been replaced by 4-cylinder engines. RX 350 models are powered by a turbocharged 275-hp 2.4-liter four that’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The RX 350h hybrid comes standard with AWD; it gets a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), along with an electric hybrid system for a combined output of 246 horsepower. Details aren’t yet available, but a new plug-in-hybrid RX 450h+ model is planned as well.
The new RX 500h F SPORT Performance is aimed at offering a more powerful and invigorating RX experience. Here, the 2.4-liter turbo mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a new Lexus hybrid system for a combined 367 horsepower. A “DIRECT4” AWD system is mated to an “eAxle” rear unit that uses a second electric motor and a reduction gearbox to power the rear wheels. Lexus lists a 5.9-second 0-60 mph time for the RX 500h F SPORT Performance, which is 1.5 seconds quicker than the RX 350h and 1.3 seconds quicker than an AWD RX 350.
The RX 500h F SPORT Performance also receives 6-piston brake calipers and 21-inch wheels, along with a model-specific mesh grille and front bumper. The leather-trimmed interior includes suede door trim, paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, and F SPORT scuff plates.
The 2023 Lexus RX is slated to go on sale at the end of 2022. Pricing and other information will be available closer to the on-sale date, but we’d guess the RX 350’s starting price will increase at least slightly from the 2022 RX 350’s base MSRP of $46,995. The RX 500h F SPORT Performance will almost certainly be priced above $60,000 to start.
The Lexus RX has long been known for exceptional refinement and a very quiet interior, and we expect these qualities to feature prominently in the new 2023 RX as well. Driving thrills typically haven’t been a key part of the RX formula, but the RX 500h F Sport Performance should inject some excitement into the model lineup. The forthcoming plug-in-hybrid powertrain is an obvious addition, but the line-wide switch to 4-cylinder power should deliver noteworthy fuel-economy gains across the board as well. We suspect the new RX will remain a Lexus best seller.
2023 Lexus RX Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)