2023 Lexus RX
I’m in Santa Barbara driving the all-new reimagined 2023 Lexus RX. The fifth generation has four new all electrified powertrains and the first ever PHEV.
For more than 20 years, the Lexus RX has more than held its own in the luxury crossover space.
For 2023, the RX 500h FSPORT Performance AWD model is stealing the spotlight, making an impressive statement when it comes to style and speed as well.
It’s the quickest RX yet. Its advanced hybrid powertrain combines a 2.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with a high-capacity battery that powers electric motors. It has a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Plus an advanced Direct4 all-wheel-drive system, that can send up to 80 percent of its drive force to the rear wheels-translating to tons of fun behind the wheel.
It has 366 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Lexus says it goes from 0-60 mile-per-hour time: 5.9 seconds.
If you really don’t need all that speed, but still want good fuel economy the RX is also offered as a 350h all-wheel-drive. It pairs a hybrid motor with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine… generating 246 horsepower and 233 lb.-ft. of torque. Its smooth and luxurious ride impressed me. Lexus estimates it will achieve 36 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
I also had the opportunity to drive the RX’s first plug-in powertrain, The RX 450h+ AWD. Lexus had the European spec available for us to drive.
The RX 350 is also offered with a gas engine only. It’s available in front or all-wheel-drive equipped with an eight speed automatic transmission. Under the hood is a new 275-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with 317 lb.-ft. of torque.
This time around, the midsize luxury suv is available in six grades: Standard, Premium, Premium Plus, Luxury, F Sport Handling and F Sport Performance.
The RX has an all-new platform that’s shared by the NX. It delivers more legroom for back passengers and additional cargo space.
Thanks in part to its longer wheelbase, rigid chassis, lower center of gravity and dramatic 198 pound weight loss, it is more nimble on the roads… as I found out winding my way through the Santa Maria Valley.
All-around improved driving dynamics for 2023 are complemented by a luxurious, comfortable and quiet cabin with an available 14-inch high-definition touchscreen. The RX has tons of USB ports, plus standard wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto and 12 speakers- more than the previous generation.
The all new RX is offered in 10 colors. Copper Crest is my favorite. It’s a cross between rose gold and orange depending on how the light hits it -a truly special color that will get you a lot of attention on the road.
Lexus says the 2023 RX will go on sale later this year. The PHEV will be available to buy in the U.S. at a later date.
And we will bring you much more on the all-new Lexus RX soon on MotorWeek.