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 has replaced the 5-seat third-gen RX, elaborately discussed in this article.
Coined by Lexus with the model’s launch at the start of the millennium, the ‘RX’ stands for Radiant Crossover – with ‘Radiant’ representing the brand’s vision for its new future at the time.
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 varies as per the selected configuration. There are 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 can 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.
Lexus offers the 2023 Lexus RX in the U.S. in ten colors:
- Ultra White
- Eminent White Pearl
- Nebula Gray Pearl
- Matador Red Mica
- Copper Crest
- Nori Green Pearl
- Nightfall Mica
- Grecian Water
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 can choose six interior color options with four ornamentation styles as per the grade. Rioja Red, Macadamia, Pirch, Palomino, Black, and Peppercorn are the colors and Dark Graphite Aluminum, Ash Bamboo, Black Open Pore, and Black Cascade are the ornamentation styles.
Toyota Motor North America has developed the 2023 RX’s new infotainment system. Packing five times the processing power of the previous generation, this system 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
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.
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.
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.
Lexus offers 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 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
|Aspect||2023 Lexus RX 350h Specification||2023 Lexus RX 500h Specification|
|Length||192.5 in.||192.5 in.|
|Width||75.6 in.||75.6 in.|
|Height||67.3 in.||67.3 in.|
|Wheelbase||112.2 in.||112.2 in.|
|Drivetrain Layout||E-Four AWD||Direct4 AWD|
|Engine||2.4L gasoline||2.4L turbocharged gasoline|
|Front Motor Type||PMSM||PMSM|
|Rear Motor Type||PMSM||PMSM|
|Traction Battery Pack Type||Nickel Metal Hydride||Nickel Metal Hydride|
|System Power||246 hp||367 hp|
|System Torque||233 lb.-ft.||406 lb.-ft.|
|0-60 mph Acceleration Time||7.4 seconds||5.9 seconds|
|Company-est. MPG (combined)||33 MPG||26 MPG|
|0-60 mph Acceleration Time||7.4 seconds||5.9 seconds|
|Top Speed||112 mph||130 mph|
2023 Lexus RX Release Date & Price
The 2023 Lexus RX’s gasoline and hybrid variants have started reaching dealerships in the U.S. Cincinnati, Ohio-based Performance Lexus, Lexus of Chandler in Chandler, Arizona, Lexus of Orange County in Middletown, New York, O’Brien Lexus of Peoria in Peoria, Illinois, and many other dealerships are listing stock online. The plug-in hybrid variant will likely follow in early 2023.
Prices of the 2023 RX’s gasoline and hybrid variants start at USD 48,550 and USD 50,150, respectively. These prices include a standard DPH fee of USD 1,150. The 2023 RX is one of the two big announcements for the Japanese automaker in 2022, with the other one being the 2023 RZ.
Lexus RX sales
The RX is, by and large, the most popular Lexus car in the United States. The RX was the brand’s best-selling model in the U.S. in 2022. Lexus delivered 96,041 units in the country in 2022. Compared to 2021, (115,320 units), that was a decline of 16.7 percent. Sales should grow once the company has a steady of stream of 2023 models in inventory.
Buyer preference for hybrids reached a historic high for Lexus in the U.S. in 2022, with 21.3 percent of total sales volume electrified. 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. In 2022, the company delivered 17,194 units of the hybrid SUV, 9.4% lower than in the same period in 2021 (18,981 units), as the local division was preparing to receive the new generation SUV, and battled supply chain challenges.
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 two years. The first is the 2023 Lexus RZ, which will arrive in the U.S. in early 2023. Later that year, the Lexus RX L successor goes on sale. Made at the Princeton plant (Indiana), USA, it will 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 2026, positioned at the top of its lineup.
Riding atop a new platform, packing more space and features, including a brand-new, U.S.-developed infotainment system, and armed with plug-in hybrid technology, the 2023 Lexus RX is a massive upgrade. The fifth generation of the best-selling Lexus in America is a top pick in the mid-size luxury SUV segment, that is if you’re looking for a conventional gas-engined model. Lexus is also driving the RZ into America in 2023 for customers who can shell out extra and are ready to switch to EVs.
2023 Lexus RX FAQs
What is the 2023 Lexus RX release date?
The 2023 Lexus RX is available at U.S. dealerships, but stocks of the plug-in hybrid variant will take until 2023 to arrive.
Which models do you consider 2023 Lexus RX rivals?
The RX rivals 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 costs USD 48,550.
Featured Image Source: Lexus