2023 Lexus RX First Drive |  Road tests

2023 Lexus RX First Drive | Road tests

2023 Lexus RX 350h, profile

Auto123 succeeds first 2023 Lexus RX review.

It’s hard to imagine that the compact and mid-size luxury crossover segment exists without the Lexus RX. He was one of the pioneers of the segment when he arrived in 1998 and continues to lead the group in terms of sales at Lexus – more than 150,000 units sold in Canada since its inception – and is almost at the top of the charts when it comes. for category leaders.

Needless to say, it was up to Lexus to get it right for 2023, as the RX has been completely redesigned from the ground up. Lexus says every part is new, right down to the wheel. Largely, the RX now sits on the GA-K platform, shared with the NX, itself redesigned for the 2022 model year.

As well as being based on a new platform, the big news for 2023 is that although the standard models RX 350 and RX 350h are back, the RX 450h is no more, having been replaced by the RX 500h model.

Note that the 450h will return, but only as the RX450h+ plug-in hybrid model, likely next year. This model, however, will debut alongside others in certain international markets, particularly those with stricter production standards than North America. Also, while the three models we’ll have at launch are built in Canada for the Canadian and US markets, the RX 450h+ is currently only built in Japan.

The three-row RX-L model is also gone for now, and the oft-rumored, but still unconfirmed, TX will fill that void.

2023 Lexus RX 500h, front

2023 Lexus RX 500h, front

In terms of styling, what impressed me the most since seeing the pictures of the new RX was whether it would look as sleek and athletic in person as it does in these photos. That’s because before that, I never considered RX as a fashion star. Sure, the previous generation’s F Sport models, with their blacked-out grilles and dark rims, were a cut above what we’d seen from the RX so far, but the numbers were still conservative and the car was ordinary. very little vertical.

Of course, personally, the new RX is a completely different matter.

First, the cabin appears to have been moved to the rear, resulting in a longer hood and rear profile, closer to a smaller NX than the outgoing RX. It looks more compact, but has a longer wheelbase, wider rear track and is wider overall than the old version. The overall length, however, remains the same, so if you benefit from more interior space (especially in the back seat and in the luggage space), it is not more difficult – in fact, it is easier – to merge through narrow streets. of the city, parking, etc.

In the case of the 500h version, it is easier thanks to the addition of rear wheels that can rotate up to four degrees from the center, reducing the turning radius by 1.3 feet and strengthening the RX at high speeds.

2023 Lexus RX 350h, interior

2023 Lexus RX 350h, interior

Inside we find the standard 7-inch digital gauge cluster and the new Lexus Multimedia Interface with a standard 9.8-inch screen or an optional 14-inch screen, the latter of which is visually appealing. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems are standard, graphics are appropriately modern and the interface is cleaner than ever. It’s a fully touch-enabled or voice-activated interface, meaning the old confusing touchpad system is now a thing of the past.

Regarding the story of the “Hey, Lexus” voice activation system, representatives of the brand said that they requested a document that lists all the possible commands, and that this document spanned about 50 pages. Basically, there are many things it can do.

One thing I couldn’t do, however, was change the driving modes. Which would be nice, because doing so requires navigating touchscreen menus. There are no buttons or dials for this one, and the drive mode control bars found on other Lexus products are also absent. As annoying as they are, I wish I had traditional controls to do my job. In fact, there are only four modes to choose from – Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom – so I didn’t spend too much time fiddling with them.

2023 Lexus RX 350, second row seats

2023 Lexus RX 350, second row seats

In terms of comfort, a long wheelbase and a wide rear track have increased the space for the rear seats and luggage, but the space for the front seat has not changed, except for an important aspect: the distance between the front edge of the dashboard and the dashboard. the windscreen is now shorter, meaning better visibility towards the front of the car. When driving, you have the feeling of being “on top” of the front wheels. The infotainment screen is also closer to the driver, which reduces the distance to be covered … with his hand.

Additionally, the front seat remains sofa-like, as is Lexus custom, and while the padding is useful, it could be more supportive. On the 500h version in particular, more lateral reinforcement will give it a more athletic feel. It shows that even in its most powerful iteration, it’s not really intended to be a performance-oriented SUV.

Speaking of F Sport: while the 350 models get Series 1, 2 and 3 F Sport trims as well as Luxury, Luxury Premium and Executive trims, the 500h starts as an F Sport model and thus only gets Series 2 and 3 and none of the those. Luxury or Executive options. Of the two optional F Sport packages, Option 2 is the most comprehensive, offering rear-wheel steering, torque vectoring, 21-inch rims, a digital rearview mirror and a few other trinkets. The 3 Series is mostly an electronics upgrade, offering a 21-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, lane-change assist, forward cross-traffic alert, adaptive high beams and more.

That’s great, but even though the price hasn’t been released yet, it seems like many of these features, especially the safety aids, should have been there in the first place, at least if we’re talking about the 500h.

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