Santa Barbara, California – The 2023 model year welcomes the fifth generation of the Lexus RX, which remains best seller of the brand in the country, Canada being the fourth largest market where the RX is sold, behind the United States, China and Japan. Among the changes made during the redesign, we see that this model adopts only four-cylinder engines supported by a turbocharger in the case of the RX350 or by electric motors in the case of hybrid variants.
For Canada, all versions of the RX come with all-wheel drive as standard, and the launch of this new model is scheduled for November 2022. Initially, three versions are offered. The RX350 with a turbo engine, as well as the RX350h and RX500h with hybrid engines.
These will later be joined by the RX450h with a plug-in hybrid engine, a first for this model, but the brand’s Canadian management cannot specify when exactly it will be available in the country. Note that the three-series L version of the RX will no longer be offered, as sales have proved disappointing. Lexus, however, will offer three rows of seats in another SUV from the brand.
Technically, the 2023 RX is built on the GA-K architecture, a version of the platform shared by the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus NX. The length of the new model is the same as the old one, but the wheelbase has increased by 60 millimeters. This RX is also 25 millimeters wider and its rear track is 45 millimeters wider. The longer wheelbase means rear passenger clearance is better than before, and a wider rear track has been retained to improve dynamics, engineers say. We will return to this aspect later.
More clearance design
The grille has been redesigned, and the 2023 RX has a more compact look while retaining some ties to the previous model, but the real changes have taken place inside. The obnoxious touchscreen, which interacted with the infotainment system and required the driver to move a cursor across the screen to access various features, has been replaced by an available 9.8-inch or 14-inch touchscreen. It was about time! Also, wireless connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is in the program, and space is better than before, especially in the back seats, due to the increased wheelbase.
Despite the fact that the rear track is now wider, the RX 2023 does not offer more dynamic driving skills. On the roads of California where this first contact took place, the car seemed calm and quiet, but not sporty. Of the four RX variants tested that day, the four-cylinder was the least bit awkward in straight-line acceleration, but was sensible in more measured driving. When it comes to handling, the new RX stays true to the style philosophy and puts comfort first.
Lots of technical solutions
The base RX350 model, equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, has an 8-speed automatic transmission and its all-wheel drive prioritizes the front axle, although torque distribution can be equal to both axles when sticky conditions require it. . . A setup that couldn’t be more common. The three hybrid models of the RX 2023, which will undoubtedly be the most popular, have three different engines. The RX350h is powered by a 2.5 liter Atkinson cycle engine mated to a CVT gearbox and electric mill, the latter being connected to the rear wheels only. Combined output is 246 horsepower and peak torque is 233 lb-ft, values that are lower from those of the RX350 (275 hp and 317 lb-ft respectively).
The RX450h, which won’t come until later, is probably the most interesting of the lot. In this case, the engine is shared with the 350h, but the battery that powers it has a capacity of 18.1 kWh, the same as that of the Toyota RAV4 Prime. This makes it possible to expect a range of more than 50 km in electric mode. Unfortunately, our test of the 450h was too short to confirm its autonomy or its usage data.
At the top of the pyramid, we find the RX500h powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, assisted by an electric motor. In this case, the power is 366 horses, while the maximum torque is 406 lb-ft. It is by far the RX 2023 variant that has proved to be the most satisfactory during this first contact. Its dynamics are taken thanks to the notch thanks to the four-wheel steering, and its flexible suspension, whose adjustment is more stable in the Sport mode which, together with the all-wheel drive and the electric rear drive, reduces the impact of diving when of heavy braking or rear mass. shift during hard acceleration.
In the event of this first communication, Lexus Canada could not announce the price level of the 2023 RX, this will not be known shortly before the planned launch in November 2022. For the new RX, Lexus proposes several changes in continuity, philosophy. of exemplary respect. We also expect reliability and building quality to be there.