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Next-Gen Lexus RX Adds More Hybrid, Performance Options to Premium Crossover King

2023 Lexus RX(Photo/Lexus)
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An all-new Lexus RX for 2023 means performance upgrades, more cargo space, and a new interior for the luxury crossover.

Lexus has just introduced the next-generation version of its bestselling RX. The 2023 RX has all-new styling, which is much more subdued than past generations. It will also get four new powertrains, including three electrified options.

One of those will be the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option for the model, and there will be a sport performance hybrid with a brand-new all-wheel-drive system as well.

Lexus launched the RX in 1998, at the same time launching an all-new market segment. Not as rugged as a Jeep Grand Cherokee and not as premium as a Range Rover, the Lexus RX launched the premium crossover segment that is now one of the most critical — and competitive — slices of the new car market.

New Underpinnings

2023 Lexus RX

The 2023 Lexus RX is on a new platform called GA-K, which it shares with the latest Lexus NX and some Toyota models. It gives the RX a lower center of gravity for improved handling. It’s also much stiffer, which should improve ride comfort and isolation.

The new chassis is up to 198 pounds lighter than before, which benefits fuel economy, handling, and almost every other part of the drive.

While overall length is the same, the new RX’s wheelbase is 2.36 inches longer, with the extra space between the wheels going to rear passenger legroom. Lexus has also used the new chassis to increase cargo space and lower the cargo floor to make loading and unloading easier.

The L (long-wheelbase) version found in the last-generation RX is gone. Rumor has it that a new model down the road will replace it.

One Gas, 3 Hybrid Options

2023 Lexus RX

The base engine, badged RX 350, will be a 2.4L turbo-four, which makes 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Lexus will offer front and all-wheel drive. Both drivelines get an eight-speed automatic.

Two hybrid options will be available. The first one will be badged RX 350h. It will have the familiar Lexus 2.5L four-cylinder and electric motors that deliver 246 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. This model should return an estimated 33 miles per gallon, and it will come standard with all-wheel drive.

The Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance is an all-new variant. On top of the 2.4L turbo-four engine and electronic rear axle — good for 367 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque — it will use a new all-wheel-drive system.

Called Direct4, Lexus says the new system is its highest-technology all-wheel-drive system to date. Lexus says the new system will provide maximum grip and acceleration while being tuned for drivers wanting sporty handling.

The RX 500h will get other F Sport cues like a unique grille, 21-inch wheels, and six-piston front brake calipers.

Lexus will badge the fourth driveline RX 450h+. “Plus” is Lexus for a plug-in hybrid. Lexus revealed no specifics about that one, but we expect the driveline to be close to the 302-horsepower PHEV system offered in the Lexus NX 450h+. That model provides a 37-mile all-electric range, so the larger RX will likely offer a bit less.

Driver Assistance Upgrades

2023 Lexus RX

Safety has long been a Lexus priority, and the new RX is no different. It will get the latest safety tech, called Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. That tech suite has a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and intersection support and radar cruise, an emergency driving stop system, and lane departure alert.

New for this version, Lexus has added Motorcycle Detection and curve speed management, with enhancements to all other features.

2023 Lexus RX Styling

Lexus has toned down the styling compared with prior versions of the RX. It still wears the Lexus Spindle Grille, but it is much smaller than before. Filling in the upper portion of the grill makes it look even less prominent.

The roofline is very close to the last-generation RX, especially in the rear pillars, but it is lower than before, making this look like a big wagon rather than a tall crossover.

2023 Lexus RX

The interior should be familiar to those with much time in current Lexus models. The significant change is the new Lexus Interface, which replaces the previous touchpad-based infotainment system. A 14.0-inch screen is optional.

Lexus offers six interior colors and four different styles of trim.

Lexus RX Availability and Pricing

If you’re looking to bring home a new 2023 Lexus RX, it’s set to go on sale by the end of the year. No word on pricing just yet.

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