What is it?
The proverbial underdog of the large luxury SUV segment in Europe. Last year, Lexus RX sales were just a quarter of those of two key rivals, the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. But it’s an entirely different story in the US where the RX is top of the segment, selling more than double the amount of its nearest competitor, the Mercedes GLE. All in all, then, the RX is important for Lexus, making up a fifth of global sales.
The model has long been the pioneer for hybrid technology in the large SUV market, having been sold with a hybrid powertrain since 2005. That, alongside quirky styling, allowed the RX to make its mark. Now, four years into the fourth-generation RX, it’s time for Lexus to up its game, not least because most of its rivals now offer an electrified variant.
What’s new? The normal, subtle styling changes including redesigned front and rear bumpers, a rearranged tailpipe layout intended to give it a sportier image plus a grille upgrade to bring it in line with the new UX and ES.
Lexus has revised the suspension set-up in a bid to improve handling, upping use of high-strength adhesives throughout the chassis and installing stiffer anti-roll bars to improve body rigidity, plus there’s a host of technology updates including the ability to use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It also employs the Bladescan adaptive high-beam system – a world first, says Lexus – which uses a rapidly rotating blade-shaped mirror to direct light from the LED headlights. An alternative to the LED matrix lights seen on the Q7, it is said to “provide finer and deeper automatic forward illumination”, to easier spot pedestrians and avoid dazzling drivers.