Lexus RX 5th Generation (2023)
Luxury SUV with three hybrid options up to 371 hp
Make three out of one: Lexus will expand the hybrid look with the new RX. At the world premiere of the fifth generation, the Japanese are presenting three different variants of electric vehicles with which the RX aims to track the outstanding competition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Whereas the predecessor’s offering was limited to the standard RX 450h hybrid, in the future, an all-hybrid Armada will flirt with customers, with the premiere: For the first time in a Lexus, a powerful turbocharged petrol engine will be packed into the hybrid grille. Also new is the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid with a large 18.1 kWh battery.
In Germany, the RX is a relatively rare sight on the road, but worldwide the model is a huge hit for the brand. Since the premiere of the first generation 24 years ago, Lexus has sold more than 3.5 million units of luxury SUVs, including more than 300,000 units in Europe. With the fifth generation now, which also demonstrates the wide range of driving options, we must also ensure higher sales figures.
The design becomes more sporty
Officially, the new RX has been clearly updated. The “nose” above the radiator grille, which now basically spreads across the entire apron, is visually unusual. In the previous model, the giant grille was pulled upwards. In terms of the silhouette, Lexus designers have stayed true to the previous line, where the roofline is drawn with a chrome grille that slopes back, even though the roof itself has traditional SUV proportions. In the side line, the contour of the body is noticeably stronger, the lush hip of the A-pillar metallic dress is designed at the height of the sill. The back of the new Lexus RX has acquired a lot of outline. An apron with additional surfaces reminiscent of ventilation grilles adds a sporty touch, and the new LED light strip across the entire rear section, to which the taillights are visually attached, is also impressive.
Time to look under your new RX dress. The 3.5-liter V6 that was previously installed on the RX450h has been recalled and replaced with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine already familiar from the current Toyota RAV4. Like the RAV4, the RX will be available in the future as a HEV hybrid RX 350h without external charging and as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) RX 450h+ variant with a large traction battery. In the future, the top-of-the-line RX 500h will be crowned atop Toyota/Lexus hybrid architecture with continuously variable planetary gears, which opens new hybrid ground for the brand.
New Turbo Hybrid RX 500h
The RX 500h is not only the first turbocharged petrol engine to be installed in a hybrid of the range, it is also built in a similar conventional way to the hybrid models of other brands. Instead of the complex Hybrid Synergy Drive, which Toyota has mastered over several decades, the RX 500h uses a six-speed automatic transmission in which an electric motor is installed instead of a hydraulic converter. As with the other two models, all-wheel drive is provided by a separate electric motor on the rear axle without a mechanical connection to the front.
A look at the proportions of the new Lexus RX is interesting. In terms of length, it remains exactly the same as its predecessor, down to a millimeter. Wheelbase (+60 mm), width (+25 mm) and track width (front +15, rear +50 mm), on the other hand, are increasing. Combined with the lower rear section, which sorts the wheelbase extension past the second row of seats, this actually results in improved headroom in the new RX generation of paperback values.
The interior of the Lexus RX, where the “Tazuna” cockpit is also used after the NX and RZ, is accustomed to being Japanese and philosophical. According to Lexus, the term “Tazuna” stands for “horse reins” and is intended to demonstrate that vehicle control and functions should be particularly intuitive and straightforward. Viewed in a very discreet German way, the relatively traditionally designed cockpit with a distinctive step in the upper passenger area is dominated by the large 14-inch central screen, and the operating area in the center console is tilted towards the driver’s seat.
Always with electric all-wheel drive
All new Lexus RX models are equipped with all-wheel drive (electric). Base Edition RX 350h with 245hp, RX 450h + 306hp and RX 500h with 371hp (see table below for performance data). Probably the most interesting model for the German market is the PHEV. Its performance data is at the level of the previous RX 450h with a V6 engine, but with better driving performance. Since the bulk of the driving force now comes from electric motors and not from the combustion engine as before, the driving experience should be more dominant.
Lexus RX specifications
|Model||RX 350h||RX 450h +||RX 500h|
|gasoline engine||2.5 liter nipple||2.5 liter nipple||2.4 liter turbo|
|Battery Type||nimh||lithium ion||nimh|
|Maximum system power hp/kw||245/180||306/225||371/273|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||8.0 seconds||about 7.0 seconds||Approx. 6.0 sec|
|WLTP CO2 Emissions||143-150 g/km||24-26 g/km||182-189 g/km|
|wltp consumption||6.4-6.7 liters / 100 km||1.1-1.2 l/100km||8.2-8.5 l / 100 km|
The RX 450h+ comes with a lithium-ion battery of 18.1 kWh. According to preliminary measurements, this should allow an electric range of up to 65 kilometers. The Lexus RX 450h+ can drive up to 135 km/h on electricity before the petrol engine is started. Lexus is probably right to point out that even when the traction battery is “empty”, the highly efficient hybrid system typical of the group achieves moderate fuel consumption for this car’s size, which should be level at around 6.5 l/100 km on the level of the RX 350h.
Drive up to 65 km electric
As usual with generation changes, there are new features at the forefront of the Help. The cameras, which among other things provide the digital rearview mirror and the 360-degree screen with image information, are automatically cleaned of dirt. A fully automatic parking system is also available, which is also used on the Lexus LS luxury sedan. It controls the steering, accelerator and brakes. The system has a memory function for three regularly used parking spaces. The detection capabilities of the Lexus Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS) have also been improved. The system reacts faster and now also recognizes motorcycles and other objects. The new intersection assist function prevents collisions with oncoming vehicles and pedestrian crossing when cornering, and the emergency steering system helps avoid obstacles.
The driver display uses a camera mounted above the steering wheel to monitor the driver’s condition. The driver is warned if there are signs of drowsiness or distraction. If it does not respond to the warnings, the system will be able to slow down or stop the vehicle. The Safe Exit Assist function combines the electromechanical E-Latch door opener and Blind Spot Assist. If this detects a cyclist or other road user approaching from behind, a visual and acoustic warning will be triggered and the doors will not open.
Lexus RX – start of sales and price
Lexus has yet to announce when the new RX can be ordered and delivered. However, it is known that the previous long version will be canceled without replacement, at least for the foreseeable future. This also speaks of an improved space in the new model. Prices for the three models in different equipment versions are currently unknown. It should start at around €65,000 for the RX 350h, for the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid we expect the starting price to be around €80,000.
Plug-in hybrid: I could then drive almost exclusively with electric.
Hybrid – I rarely get near a jack in my car.
The Lexus RX has been a notable success in the global market, but it is rarely seen on the road in our climate. With the driving range expanded, Lexus now wants to increase sales in Europe as well. Of particular interest is the plug-in hybrid, which we’ve already seen with great success in the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus NX 450h. On the other hand, with the new RX 500h, the Japanese are leaving the “Hybrid Synergy Drive” track with the signature planetary gear system that has been bred for decades. Its more conventional engine is with a turbocharged petrol engine and an electrified six-speed automatic for customers who want particularly powerful propulsion and who have hitherto been bothered by the continuously variable transmission. It is very likely that the sales figures in Germany will increase with the new generation.