It was called a ‘Global Launch’ because Lexus will be attempting sales of their new RX in a lot more countries around the world. During my one day test drive, there were approximately 24 automotive journalists from across the United States. We were in Raleigh, North Carolina to see what all the hype was about.
The 2016 Lexus RX is classified as a Mid-Size Luxury Crossover. It is, in most people’s minds, a small SUV that is dripping with class. There have been over 2.1 million of these RX models sold with the first, second, and third editions. The Lexus folks are hoping that this fourth generation model adds even more sales to their bottom line, and my guess is that it will do just that.
Although there are a few minor changes under the hood and on the inside, most of the changes for 2016 are in exterior design. The signature trapezoid shaped front grill is much larger, so much so that this is almost the first thing you notice upon first glance. The daytime running lamps are shaped like small arrowheads. The roof line gives the appearance of ‘floating’, which the public relations people say give the car a ‘sense of motion.’ There are dual exhausts and triple beam LED headlights. Simply stated, this vehicle looks sharp, stunning, and is an eye-catcher.
Overall, the length of the RX has increased 4.7 inches and the width has increased by 4 inches. In automotive terms, that is a lot of extra room. Most of it appears to have gone to the rear seating area. Back seat passengers complain about the amount of space in almost all vehicles, but this new RX seems to have helped solve some of the complaints.
When taking the RX out on the roadways of the test drive, the most noticeable feature was the quietness. It is very comfortable and the ride is stable. It handles well, as was expected.
There is an 8-speed electronically controlled transmission which is mated to several engine choices. The most common engine configuration is the 3.5-liter V6 which offers 259 horsepower and achieves an average of 30 mpg. There is also a hybrid configuration of the RX, but it did not appear to provide the driving ‘feel’ of having enough power and did not achieve any unusual mileage.
Inside, the craftsmanship was obvious and added to the luxurious feeling of being in a well-made vehicle. There is unique ambient lighting that shows up in the evening and night driving. The folding rear seat is not your usual 40-60 split, but actually offers a 40-20-40 split which is handy for carrying longer items. There is an 8-inch multi-display screen as standard although a 12.3-inch screen is available. Most of the journalists at the test drive showed a decided preference for the larger, easy to see, screen. There is a round controller knob for navigating the screen features and it operates much like a joy-stock for a computer.
Other special features on the new RX include a Power Rear Lift-gate door and a touch-free open feature. A Panoramic Moon-roof is available for those who like that feature. For families with children, a Rear-seat Entertainment system is available.
In addition to the standard RX and the Hybrid models, there is something new for 2016, an F-Sport available in the Hybrid. The major difference with this F-Sport is that it conveys much more of a sense of power and sportiness. Most of the journalists are the event referred to the difference as being all about ‘looks.’
Whether your interest in the 2016 Lexus RX is about looks, sportiness, utility usage, luxury, or something else, this vehicle offers it up. Prices range about $42-$43 thousand and upward if you add a lot of extras.