The combination comes in three
25 years of history and four generations that have confirmed its international success: with 3.5 million units produced, Lexus RX is one of the most famous in the world, but the same cannot be said in Europe where it has not been as successful as it is in other markets. At least until now, due to winning new customers, the fifth generation Lexus RX has changed from top to bottom: the dimensions have remained the same as the previous one – the 489 height cm does not change and the length decreases by two centimeters – but under the skin there are completely new bones taken from the small NX. This has allowed the RX to save weight, but above all to provide more space for the rear passengers thanks to the extra six centimeters of wheelbase. According to Lexus tradition, in Europe engine range it is made up of hybrid units only, but there is an important innovation inside the bonnet as well: for the full hybrid we already know with the naturally aspirated engine and continuously variable gearbox (Lexus RX 350h), are joined by two new, hybrid versions in the pipeline (RX 450h), the other, the object of this test, RX 500hequipped with a more powerful turbo petrol engine and electric rear drive for 371 hp of combined power. For all, the prices are those announced at the end of 2022 (read here find out more) and ranges from 80,000 to 99,000 euros. Last up is the price list for our test 500h F Sport+.
It has the “right” power.
It is also in this case a non-rechargeable hybrid, but compared to the other two variants it benefits from a real six-speed automatic gearbox and better performance: the shot from 0 to 100 km / h is covered in 6.2 seconds. The rear electric unit alone produces 103 HP and coordinates with the internal combustion engine and another front electric motor, through what Lexus calls “Direct 4”: a all-wheel drive system without physical connections between the front and rear axles, and which uses a sophisticated electronic “brain” to instantly establish how much torque to deliver to the two engines based on demand. Three o’clock driving conditions can be selected, Comfort, Environment and Sports: the second keeps the petrol engine running at all times and increases the system’s response to accelerator inputs. The six-speed automatic transmission is fluid and can also be operated in manual mode using special paddles behind the steering wheel.
A relaxing travel companion
This version of Lexus RX it’s also suitable for a soul car, but still remains far from the most powerful SUVs in the segment. The Japanese prefer driving comfort above all else, and the tuning of the steering and configuration reflects this philosophy. The electronically controlled shock absorbers are never overly stiff even in Sport mode: the setup keeps you safe on fast bends in the road, but doesn’t make you want to push through the bends, while steering, light but precisefilter everything that happens under the wheels. Excellent sound insulation of the passenger compartment from outside noise even at sustained speed, when, accelerating decisively, the sound (not very exciting) of the four cylinders makes itself heard. Mention of merit then it goes to non-invasive driving assistance systems, which are very good at detecting hazards and making long journeys more enjoyable. This also applies to brake assist, which, even without activating the cruise control, slows the car down gently when approaching a slow-moving vehicle.
A lot of quality, according to tradition
An important step forward, Lexus RXhe also completed it according to design, different, but now more “clean” and more elegant. The large hourglass grille is well integrated in the front of the car thanks to a certain aesthetic effect of the bumper that seems to connect with the grille itself. The raised line of the bonnet points downwards, making the bodywork more dynamic, while at the rear the lights are integrated into an LED bar that runs from one side of the car to the other. The interior design was also guided by the same philosophy: finishes and assemblies are of high quality and soft upholstery for the dashboard and doors. The leather seats of this F-Sport trim level are refined and truly comfortable, upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara, a material that is also used for some of the door panel inserts. The only comments go to door pockets without anti-noise coating.
High technology without excess
The technology industry of Lexus RX completely redesigned, drawing on the innovations introduced by the Lexus NX and RZ. In the center of the dashboard, the multimedia system is new: it has a 14” touchscreen, highly defined and responsive and complete with smartphone connections via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, integrated internet connection and navigation. The layout of the menu is simple, however it is not always easy to find the required functions and settings and it is impossible to use two programs at the same time using the generous diagonal of the display. “Perfect” technology which, fortunately, has not completely deprived the RX of the remaining physical keys for more important functions such as adjusting the temperature or the radio volume. Behind the competition is the digital dashboard: the graphics are clear but the resolution is low and the customization options are limited.
The passenger compartment is large, the trunk is small
Comfortable and spacious, the Lexus RX gives a lot of comfort for all passengers: good front seats are complete with electric adjustment, memory, heating and ventilation (but the excursion of the seat and that of the backrest is not wider). In the back, even those who are 1 meter and 90 cm tall sit comfortably and even the sofa has heating and ventilation. The trunk it offers 461 liters of capacity: not the most capacity in its category, but we appreciate the standard shape and the absence of a step between the floor and the loading sill. Really practical, then, the possibility of leaning on electric backrests with just the pressure of the button on the right side of the trunk.
It doesn’t come cheap
New Lexus RX will arrive at dealerships in March with a starting price of 80,000 euros for the RX 350h full hybrid with 250 horsepower. For the plug-in hybrid variant of the RX 450h it costs at least 89,000 euros, while the most powerful version tested (RX 500h) is offered only in the rich sports configuration of F-Sport price of 99,000 euros. The price list of the new Lexus RX is significant, confirmed by the complete range of comfort and safety, but which increases and not less compared to the previous generation (which started at 76,000 euros with a more powerful entry-level engine). and which compares directly to popular German alternatives such as the Mercedes GLE or the BMW X5.
In our opinion
> Cockpit. Modern and well finished, it does not provide physical keys for the most important functions. Lots of space.
> Adas. Well balanced and standard on all versions, it not only comes in handy, but makes driving more enjoyable.
> Comfort. You ride quietly, in the city and on the highway where the RX is quiet and confident.
> The stem. 461 liters is small for this segment: the load capacity is small compared to its rivals.
> Digital dashboard. Small and not very configurable: not above the competition
> Seat adjustment. For tall people, the extension of the seat height may not be enough.