What is it?
More relevant than ever, that’s what. The RX has always passed under the radar a bit in Europe – where the German establishment dominates the large SUV sector – but it’s one of biggest sellers in its class in the US. And, with rivals rushing hybrids to market at a pace, Lexus' well-proven parallel hybrid system should get more of a look in.
The age-old hurdles remain, however. One reason we’ve generally given Lexus hybrids a lukewarm reception in the past is that an equivalent diesel model is often faster, nicer to drive out of town and more readily capable of better economy. That statement hasn't changed just because buyer attitudes are starting to shift.
Even so, while other makers scurry to make plug-in hybrids - models capable of impressive economy but only if charged up via a socket regularly - the simple and durable parallel hybrid system (dubiously dubbed “self-charging” by its marketeers) offers up a less complex route away from pure internal combustion.
While the powertrain hasn't undergone any changes in this round of mid-life revisions, there are some very small external tweaks. The F-Sport model we're testing gets a smattering of sportier design touches, including headlights with a new 'bladescan' adaptive LED system that uses spinning mirrors to direct the pattern of full-beam light away from road users.
Inside, there’s not a huge departure visually, but the touchpad-controlled infotainment system is also now operable via a touchscreen. There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the first time, too, while the suite of safety systems swells a bit. A selection of chassis tweaks also feature.