The new Lexus RX : The luxury SUV pioneer attains new heights
It’s a beautiful day in George, we are in the Western Cape attending the launch of the all New Lexus RX range. The best-selling luxury SUV range in the United States with an aim to have a footprint in South Africa. Since the introduction of the first RX300 was significant in that it paved the way for a segment of raised ride-height offerings that place a greater emphasis on luxury and comfort than any potential off-roading trip.
On the line up we sampled the RX 350 F Sport & RX 450h. Let us unpack on they offer. First up being the RX 350 equipped with the monumental Lexus 3.5-litre V6 engine featuring direct and port fuel injection for ample grunt and efficient fuel economy. Combined with a quick-shifting eight-speed transmission, and delivering 221 kW and 370Nm @ 4600 rpm (RX 350) offering dynamic performance at every curve. For even greater control, an innovative dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system offers precise engine performance as it reduces emissions and enhances fuel efficiency. VVT-i monitors the engine’s speed and load, increasing torque at lower speeds for improved acceleration and boosting performance at higher speeds by adjusting intake and exhaust valve timing.
Now take everything you love about the RX and give it more performance…and greater efficiency. That’s the philosophy behind the RX450h which boasts the potent 3.5-litre V6 engine paired with powerful electric motors and an electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission for a combined 230 kW total system output. This equates to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.7 seconds and ultra-low emissions (131g/km).
Comfortable much ? definitely, in terms of the RX’s interior treatment is the incorporation of a new 12,3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Replacing the complex track-pad arrangement in the outgoing model, the presence of a crisp touchscreen display (supplemented with a new – though still a bit too sensitive – touch pad) mounted within easy reach of the driver is a game-changer.The new RX also provides seamless smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Voice control can also be enabled via Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant if using an Android device. This is complemented by an additional four USB ports. However we do advise you ask the dealership product genius to set up your Apple CarPlay™ &/ Android Auto™ during your vehicle demo. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technology within an infotainment bundle that already includes (since September 2019) in-car Wi-Fi.
Wearing the latest iteration of the brand’s spindle grille design (introduced with the UX), other notable changes to the RX’s styling include restyled bumpers front and rear, as well as an altogether narrower headlamp cluster, arranged to house Lexus’ newest “Bladescan” adaptive LED headlamp technology (standard on the RX450h).Both vehicles drive superbly however the RX 350 was more enjoyable to drive as it was an F sport Variant. Its quick, sounds superb and reacts accordingly when put through its paces. Complete with bespoke bodywork and 20-inch alloy wheels, its also sharper and more driver-focused.
If however you are looking for a smooth comfortable road glider the RX450h is what you would go for. I do have one fault, it being the noise the engine creates as you accelerate. See depending on the speed you traveling at the vehicle decides if it should solely use the electric motor or both the electric and the engine motors. The RX 350 F Sport model retails for R1 132 200 while the top of the range, RX 450 h SE, is available for R1 315 800. The entire RX range boasts a Lexus best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Main