The all-new Lexus RX SUV has bowed in New York today, debuting as one of the last models to pick up the company’s bold new styling language.
Due in Australia sometime next year, the new RX will see off the current third-generation model that first appeared in 2007.
The new RX brings a more sporting look to the company’s midsized-large SUV space, wearing the latest version of the new ‘spindle’ grille that appeared on the outgoing RX in 2012.
As with the smaller new NX SUV and the RC Coupe, the new RX’s grille is broader, taller and meaner than ever. Regular models wear a louvred design while the F Sport trim features a more aggressive mesh look.
Tall foglight bezels and long angular headlights flank the new grille. And, while the new RC, NX and recently updated GS sedan have all moved the signature L-shaped LED lighting into their own separate space below the headlight, the new RX retains an integrated look.
The 2016 RX’s profile wears a toned-down take on the smaller NX’s sharp origami character lines, but the new SUV isn’t without some excessive folds of its own.
The new model’s standout feature is undoubtedly the new wraparound glasshouse, with the rear quarter window extending through to the heavily tapered tailgate.
Long RC-like tail lamps feature at the rear, again showcasing hook- or L-shaped red LED lighting as the brand’s new rear-end statement piece.
Inside, the new RX debuts a new-look interior, merging the brand’s familiar two-tier dash with a new driver-focused centre stack design.
There’s also a new steering wheel design, replacing the bulky square-topped centre pad and bottom spoke with a sleek new look. Expect this new wheel to filter through the wider Lexus range over the coming years.
The new RX retrains the strictly five-seat design of its predecessor, despite once again sharing its underpinnings with the big new seven-seat Kluger.
The upside there is a significant improvement in rear leg and knee space, although exact figures are still to come.
Dealers in the US are known to be pressuring the company for a seven-seat RX, however, so we may yet see that option appear in the future.
The new RX also also promises to be lighter than the current model, thanks to a greater use of aluminium in its construction, but again, exact figures are still to be released.
Shown here in US-market trim, the new RX debuts today with the familiar 350 and 450h grades.
Power in the RX 350 is provided again by a 3.5 litre V6 that Lexus says is good for around 223kW, bettering the 204kW of the current Australian-delivered RX 350. A new eight-speed auto is standard.
The RX 450h is again powered by a Atkinson-cycle 3.5 litre six matched to an electric motor. But, while the current version offers a combined output of 183kW, the new model is expected to match the RX 350’s numbers.
Lexus has yet to reveal if we can expect a replacement for the 138kW RX 270 model, possibly in the form of a new turbocharged RX 200t variant.
The new RX goes on sale in the US later this year. Speaking with TMR today, Lexus Australia’s Nick Raman said that while local timing is still to be confirmed, we can expect to see the new RX here “sometime in 2016”.
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