Models Tested: 2016 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h Crossover SUV
Engines: 3.5-Liter V-6 and Hybrid Synergy Drive
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
RX 350 FWD – 20/28/23; AWD – 19/26/22
RX 450h FWD – 30/31/30; AWD – 30/28/30
Base Price: Unavailable
As Tested: Unavailable
Overview: Redesigned for 2016, the fourth-generation Lexus RX crossover adopts more focused, curvaceous, yet adventurous and edgy styling than before. I drove preproduction versions plus the performance-oriented F-Sport version of both models at a media introduction in North Carolina.
Immediately noticeable is the acutely dramatic version of Lexus’ signature grille, accompanied by triple-L headlights, LED foglamps and LED daytime running lights. The roofline flows to swooping, flared rear wheelwells. Like the original Cadillac CTS, observers either praise Lexus’ bold new approach or restrain their commentary.
Interior: The all-new RX delivers increased interior space and is more driver-focused than before, dispensing the quiet comfort that luxury crossover owners demand. Materials are warmer than most German rivals, while the cockpit oozes tranquility and precision. Interior trim resembles Lexus sports sedans, with subtly tasteful colors and matte trims. A new rear-seat entertainment system is available with 11.6-inch screens.
Behind the Wheel: The 2016 RX amplifies the driving experience — especially in F-Sport trim. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
The 350 is powered by a 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. The 450h features a hybrid gas-electric powertrain delivering 308 horses. Both versions feature normal, eco and sport driving modes. On the drive routes for the event, which took us over a variety of road conditions and terrain, all RX versions were surefooted, smooth-handling, quiet and comfortable.
Bottom Line: There’s no doubt the RX aims primarily at comfort, utility and practicality. New look notwithstanding, owning an RX is more than self-indulgence — it’s a no-nonsense daily driver.