Next-gen 2023 Lexus RX is just weeks away from U.S. dealers

  • Lexus RX receives plug-in hybrid tech for its fifth generation
  • Packs an all-new, U.S.-developed infotainment system for easier operation
  • Lexus RX plug-in hybrid expected to deliver an electric range of 40 miles
  • To begin reaching U.S. dealers by the end of 2022

Update: ‘Lexus RX sales’ section updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.

It’s been over seven years since Lexus took covers off the third-gen RX at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS 2015). In November 2017, the company introduced a three-row RX L, and then, in May 2019, it lent the car a neat facelift. Now, a fully redesigned, fifth-gen, 2023 Lexus RX is replacing the 5-seat third-gen RX, elaborately discussed in this article.

Design

2023 Lexus RX 500h front
The RX finally does away with the weirdly shaped radiator grille and instead adopts a relatively normal trapezoidal design. Image Source: Lexus

The 2023 Lexus RX carries subtle design changes, noticeable mainly at the front. Lexus designers have extended the hood of the RX forward to give it an aggressive, shark-like nose section. Gone is the thick chrome surround on the spindle grille, and in comes a new design that’s quite different.

The headlamps are curvier, and a new L-shaped DRL cuts through them. While the previous model’s headlamp housing and DRL swooped downwards, pointing towards the grille, the new headlamp unit is more upright and sleeker overall.

The vertical hood extension has tiny diamond-shaped openings. Vertical side air intakes and chrome applique on the lower portion of the front bumper are also among the visual changes at the front. Overall, the 2023 Lexus RX has a more dominating and refined front fascia than its predecessor. The design may vary as per the selected configuration. There will be six grades in the U.S.: Standard, Premium, RX-first Premium+, Luxury, F SPORT Handling, and RX-first F SPORT Performance.

Elsewhere, a blacked-out D pillar can be observed on the SUV along with a full-width horizontal LED taillamp. Above the LED bar, a slim gloss black strip houses bold Lexus lettering positioned on the center of the tailgate. The backglass looks slightly more raked, and that gives the redesigned model a sportier stance than its predecessor.

For the first time ever in an RX, customers will be able to select an F Sport Performance grade that builds on the familiar F Sport design package. The new grade gives the RX an even sportier and performance-focused styling. It features a mesh grille, 21-inch wheels, opposed six-piston brake calipers, F Sport scuff plate, perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, suede-trimmed interior door trim, aluminum paddles, and more.

Colors

Lexus will offer the 2023 Lexus RX in the U.S. in ten colors:

  1. Ultra White
  2. Eminent White Pearl
  3. Nebula Gray Pearl
  4. iridium
  5. Caviar
  6. Matador Red Mica
  7. Copper Crest
  8. Nori Green Pearl
  9. Nightfall Mica
  10. Grecian Water

Interior

On the inside, the Lexus RX has become a little more contemporary, with sleeker surfaces and a touch of minimalism in some elements. The most welcome change in the cabin is the introduction of a 14-inch Lexus Interface touchscreen infotainment system. Customers will be able to choose six interior color options with four ornamentation styles as per the grade. Rioja Red, Macadamia, Pirch, Palomino, Black, and Peppercorn will be the colors and Dark Graphite Aluminum, Ash Bamboo, Black Open Pore, and Black Cascade will be the ornamentation styles.

2023 Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid interior dashboard
A new 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system is one of the main interior attractions of the 2023 Lexus RX. Image Source: Toyota

Toyota Motor North America has developed the 2023 RX’s new infotainment system. Packing five times the processing power of the previous generation, it provides a snappy experience similar to a smartphone. Cloud-based navigation, OTA updates, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a newly developed virtual assistant, dual microphones, user profiles, digital key, etc., are some of the main features of the new Lexus Interface infotainment system.

Other highlights of the 2023 Lexus RX include a head-up display, multi-colored illumination accents, and 1,800-watt Mark Levinson PurePlay Surround Sound audio system with 21 speakers

Safety

The 2023 Lexus RX packs the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 that debuted in the second-gen NX. One of the main features of LSS+ 3.0 is Curve Speed Management. When Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is active, the vehicle can maintain the set speed even on curves.

LSS+ 3.0 includes the following active safety features:

  • Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection
  • Intersection Support with Motorcycle Detection
  • All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management (DRCC)
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA)
  • Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS)

In addition to LSS+ 3.0, the 2023 RX features Advanced Park with an expanded parallel parking function. While back-up parking is nothing new, the 2023 RX’s Advanced Park feature supports forward-facing parking as well, enabling forward-facing/back-up exit. e-latch one-touch electronic door release is another safety highlight which prevents the occupant from opening the door into traffic or cyclists.

First impressions

Grille & door handle

Lexus has showcased the 2023 RX in the metal to select journalists, one of whom is Clint Simone, Director of Video, Motor1 (via YouTube). He says that the new spindle design with a painted top portion (and an edgy shape) looks better in person than in photos, and it’s neat. The e-Latch door handles may look traditional, but they’re not. They don’t need to be pulled out to open the doors. There’s a touchpad behind which releases the door.

Space and infotainment system

Micah Muzio, Managing Editor – Video, Kelly Blue Book, has also experienced the 2023 RX (watch on YouTube). Muzio says that the all-new RX’s exterior feels just like an RX, but more contemporary. Inside, too, it feels just like an RX should. The 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system is really easy to use. There’s plenty of knee room at the back and it feels great sitting there.

Popular YouTuber Doug DeMuro seems pretty impressed with the 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system. He says that it’s “tremendously easy to use with smartphone-like responses and it’s intuitive.” However, he points out an interesting downside, that there’s no split-screen function. It’s a missed opportunity, especially seeing the large size of the touchscreen. Also, when using the 360-degree camera system, the projected image on the touchscreen rotates on its own. The user can pause it or change its angle, but can’t go left, right, up, or down with touch input, which is strange.

Seats

CompleteCar.ie’s Dave Humphreys (via YouTube) says that the 2023 Lexus RX’s interior is luxurious, with a layout very similar to the latest NX. Lexus has used good quality materials and great seats in the all-new model. Humphreys also feels the rear seats offer a lot of space. Thanks to the extended wheelbase, there’s loads of knee room in the back. The rear seats come out quite far and offer good thigh support. The middle seat, even though typically firmer, is quite wide. Rear-seat passengers wouldn’t feel the sloping roofline compromising their space or visibility.

Platform

The fifth-gen Lexus RX rides on the GA-K platform that debuted in the Lexus ES. The new platform offers a low center of gravity and optimal weight distribution. Depending on the configuration, the redesigned SUV is as much as 198 pounds lighter than the outgoing generation, thanks to material optimization in the main framework components of the chassis and the GA-K platform.

Ride comfort and quietness are better in the all-new model. Plus, the wheelbase is 2.36-inch longer, but as the rear overhang is 2.36-inch shorter, the overall length is the same as that of the fourth-gen model (192.5 inches). Also new for the fifth generation is an all-new multi-link suspension at the rear.

2023 Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid rear seats
The 2023 Lexus RX has improved legroom in the back. Image Source: Lexus

We adopted a global platform to reduce the weight, lower the floor, decrease the overall height, and lower the center of gravity.

Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President – Automotive Operations Group, Toyota Motor North America

Lexus says the GA-K platform increases the front/rear couple distance, leading to improved legroom for rear passengers. Plus, the cargo space has also improved, but the company hasn’t disclosed the numbers yet.

Powertrain

Lexus will offer the fifth-gen RX in the U.S. in three electrified variants: RX 350h, RX 450h+, and RX 500h. The RX 350h has a 2.5L naturally aspirated engine-based hybrid system, while the RX500h has a newly developed 2.4L turbocharged engine-based hybrid system never offered on any Lexus before. The RX 450h+ is a plug-in hybrid variant, but Lexus hasn’t released details yet.

The 2.5L gasoline engine of the RX 350h produces 246 hp and 233 lb.-ft. of torque, and it comes with a CVT. A 0-60 mph sprint takes 7.4 seconds, and Lexus expects the combined fuel economy to be 33 MPG.

The RX 450h+ has the same plug-in hybrid system as the NX 450h+. It’s a combination of a 2.5-liter engine and two electric motors — one mounted at the front and one driving the rear wheels — that results in 227 kW (304 hp) of total power.

The engine produces 182 hp and 227 Nm (167 lb.-ft.) of torque. The front motor generates 134 kW (180 hp) and 270 Nm (199 lb.-ft.) of torque, while the rear motor that enables E-Four full-time AWD develops 40 kW (54 hp) and 121 Nm (89 lb.-ft.) of torque. Lexus is targeting a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph for the RX 450h+.

An 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the electric motors. Lexus expects the RX 450h+ to be able to travel more than 40 miles and achieve a top speed of 80 mph in EV mode. When the charging depletes, the RX 450h+’s powertrain defaults to hybrid mode. Lexus has fitted the RX 450h+ with a 6.6 kW on-board charger. Fully charging the 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack takes about 2 hours 45 minutes. All the performance and efficiency figures of the RX 450h+ mentioned in the story apply to the European units. Lexus will reveal the details of the US-spec RX 450h+ later.

The 2023 Lexus RX 450h+ should be able to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds. Image Source: Lexus

The RX500h’s 2.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine works with a 6-speed automatic transmission, an inverter, and an electric motor. An eAxle unit integrates a second electric motor, inverter, and reduction gearbox. The second motor powers the rear, wheels effectively making the RX500h an AWD SUV. The 2023 RX is the first Lexus equipped with a high-output electric motor and an e-axle at the rear.

The turbocharged gasoline engine of the RX500h produces 367 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque. Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President – Automotive Operations Group, Toyota Motor North America, made an interesting note during the announcement of the RX500h, that the torque output surpasses that of even the Lexus LFA. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in the range-topping performance variant takes just 5.9 seconds. Lexus is estimating a combined fuel economy of 26 MPG in this configuration.

The RX500h delivers faster acceleration and more evenly distributed torque for more power on demand, whether you’re running errands on the freeway or driving a scenic mountain road. It also adopts the same DIRECT4 all-wheel drive technology that we talked about earlier on the RZ that integrates the drive and brake force control that can only be found with Lexus Driving Signature.

Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President – Automotive Operations Group, Toyota Motor North America
Aspect2023 Lexus RX 350h Specification2023 Lexus RX 500h Specification
Length192.5 in.192.5 in.
Width75.6 in.75.6 in.
Height67.3 in.67.3 in.
Wheelbase112.2 in.112.2 in.
Drivetrain LayoutE-Four AWDDirect4 AWD
Engine2.4L gasoline2.4L turbocharged gasoline
Front Motor TypePMSMPMSM
Rear Motor TypePMSMPMSM
Traction Battery Pack TypeNickel Metal HydrideNickel Metal Hydride
System Power246 hp367 hp
System Torque233 lb.-ft.406 lb.-ft.
TransmissionCVT6-speed automatic
0-60 mph Acceleration Time7.4 seconds5.9 seconds
Company-est. MPG (combined)33 MPG26 MPG
0-60 mph Acceleration Time7.4 seconds5.9 seconds
Top Speed112 mph130 mph
2023 Lexus RX Hybrid specifications (Source: Lexus)

2023 Lexus RX Release Date & Price

By end of 2022, TMNA will introduce more hybrid vehicle options; the all-new Toyota Crown hybrid, Lexus RX hybrid, plus four new Corolla hybrid grades

Toyota Motor North America’s announcement (via pressroom.toyota.com) on October 3, 2022

The 2023 Lexus RX will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of 2022, although the 450h+ plug-in hybrid won’t be available at launch. The 2023 RX is one of the two biggest launches for the Japanese automaker in 2022, with the other one being the 2023 RZ. With the 2022 RX costing USD 47,070, the 2023 RX’s prices may start at just under USD 50,000.

Lexus RX sales

2023 Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid front
The 2023 Lexus RX’s 450h+ plug-in hybrid variant will become available in the U.S. at a later date. Image Source: Lexus

With 115,320 units sold in 2021, up from 101,059 units delivered in 2020, the RX was, by and large, the most popular Lexus car in the United States. The RX remained the brand’s best-selling model in the U.S. in the first three quarters of 2022. Lexus delivered 80,299 units in the country between January and September 2022. Compared to January-September 2021, (84,625), that was a small decline of 5.1%. Sales should start growing once the company launches the 2023 model.

Buyer preference for hybrids increased in 2021 with the Lexus RX Hybrid recording 24.1% growth compared to the previous year. In 2020, Lexus sold 14,411 units of the RX Hybrid, but this figure was significantly up in 2021 with the Japanese carmaker selling 18,981 units. Between January and September 2022, the company delivered 13,728 units of the hybrid SUV, 1.8% higher than in the same period in 2021 (January-September 2021: 13,485 units).

Lexus electrification strategy

At a mega press conference held in Japan in December 2021, Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota, revealed new EV strategies for its core brands: Toyota and Lexus. Toyoda said that Lexus aims to have a full EV line-up in all vehicle segments by the end of the decade. It wants EVs to account for 100% of Lexus sales in China, Europe, and North America, with a total of 1 million units globally by that year. In 2035, Lexus targets to be fully electric in all markets worldwide. The implication is that, by the end of the decade, the Lexus RX will be an all-electric model.

Upcoming Lexus SUV models

In addition to the next-gen RX, a number of new Lexus SUV models are heading to dealer showrooms in the next three years. The first is the 2023 Lexus RZ, which will arrive in the U.S. in December 2022. 2023 would be the year the Lexus RX L successor goes on sale. Made at the Princeton plant (Indiana), USA, it could arrive as the Lexus TX.

In 2023 and 2024, the Lexus LF and the next-gen Lexus GX should celebrate their world debuts. Finally, Lexus hinted at a large electric SUV (Lexus Electrified SUV) on December 14, 2021, which will likely be released by 2025, positioned at the top of its lineup.

TopElectricSUV says

Riding atop a new platform, packing more space and new features, including a brand-new, U.S.-developed infotainment system, and available with plug-in hybrid technology, the 2023 Lexus RX is a massive upgrade. The fifth generation of the best-selling Lexus model in America is one of the best options in the mid-size luxury SUV segment, that is if you’re looking for a conventional model. Lexus is bringing the RZ a few months later for customers who can shell out more and are ready to switch to EVs.

2023 Lexus RX FAQs

What is the 2023 Lexus RX release date?

Lexus will launch the 2023 RX in the U.S. by the end of 2022.

Which models do you consider 2023 Lexus RX rivals?

The RX will rival the likes of the 2023 Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Acura MDX & Cadillac XT5.

Do you have an idea of the 2023 Lexus RX price?

The base 2023 Lexus RX may cost just under USD 50,000.

Featured Image Source: youtube.com/Toyota Motor Corporation