2016 Lexus RX
by John Davis
No nameplate has done more to put luxury crossovers on the map than the Lexus RX. Over 3 generations, this Camry-based, mid-size people mover has set the standard as to what it takes to run around upscale suburbia. Now, 2016 sees an all-new RX series with more style, comfort, technology, and perhaps, more impact.
But, Lexus knew better than to mess too much with the core attributes of the RX. So, while the brand is aggressively expanding its high performance offerings; when it comes to their best-selling model series, they showed a lot of restraint.
Although that restraint is not at all obvious when you first see the new RX. We can spend all day debating the clearly radical looks, or that it has grown a bit. But, we don’t think it will deter most current Lexus buyers seeking an ultra-comfortable neighborhood showpiece.
Back to those core values: Unlike the smaller, rough riding NX, the new RX remains a very smooth, traditionally Lexus operator. The ride is also extremely quiet, regardless of a gasoline or hybrid powertrains.
Fully living up to expectations denotes the interior as well. Materials are exquisite, and amenities are what you’d expect as convenience is top notch. This two-row, five-passenger hauler provides excellent seat comfort up front, and a second row that is now larger and even more inviting. Cargo capacity is most reasonable whether the seats are up or down. A power rear hatch is fitted as standard.
As to powertrains, the new RX is still powered by a 3.5-liter V6, but it’s the newest direct-injected version producing 295-horsepower. Add hybrid hardware, and output grows to 308-horsepower. The 350 does add an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the 450h hybrid incorporates a CVT. Both are available with front or all-wheel drive. The only nod toward more street prowess is that the F Sport upgrade is now available with both powertrains.
Also available is a collision-avoidance package known as Lexus Safety System +. It includes automatic braking, upgrading the already extensive list of standard safety features.
For our exclusive test of the 2016 Lexus RX, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3506 that begins airing on October 16, 2015. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
The Lexus mission of late is to rally up some new customers and become a much more dynamic brand. While that’s a noble mission, we find the results have been somewhat mixed. But, also in our judgement, except for styling, there’s nothing about the 2016 Lexus RX that will impact its curb appeal to current owners and prospects. Good call Lexus!