The Lexus RX, built at Toyota’s massive facility in Cambridge, Ontario, received a major makeover for the 2023 model year.
The fifth generation of the mid-size luxury ute is based on a new platform, has a new look inside and out, a new generation infotainment system, and comes with a choice of three drivetrains.
The Lexus RX 350 all starts with the Toyota-Lexus Global Architecture K-platform.
The wheelbase of the new RX has been increased by 60 millimetres and the rear wheels are 65 mm further apart. This allows more room for second row occupants and a larger cargo area. The three-row L version has been dropped. The current RX comes only with two rows of seats.
The new structure is stronger yet 90 kilograms lighter and provides a lower centre of gravity. The resultant is a vehicle that is quieter and has improved levels of both ride and handling.
The new look of the 2023 Lexus RX 350 is fresh
And it contains a new iteration of the brand’s wide-mouth grill bracketed by the L-shaped daytime running lights that have become a Lexus trademark.
The interior boasts a much more modern and upscale motif, with a variety of fabrics and trim finishes, depending on trim level. The range-topping tester boasted everything from heavily bolstered sport seats and aluminum pedals to a 21-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.
The big news is the arrival of a new generation infotainment system.
More up-to-date than the outgoing version, the multimedia Lexus Interface uses a giant 36-cm screen (23-cm on lesser trim levels), angled slightly toward the driver.
A ‘natural language intelligent assistant’ allows the first approach to navigation and media features to be voice-activated. This is a vast improvement over touch pad on the console, which was all but impossible to use on anything other than a perfectly smooth road.
The new RX comes with a trio of drivetrains.
First up is the RX 350 with a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 275-horsepower and 317 lb. ft. of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
Next? The RX 350H with a different four-cylinder engine mated with a pair of electric motor/generators and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This also features all-wheel-drive, but in this case, an electric motor is used to provide power for the rear wheels. Combined output is 246-horsepower.
Want more? The RX500h uses a high-output version of the 2.4-litre turbo engine, and electric motors to belt out 366-horsepower and 406-lb.ft. of torque.
Neither of the first two powertrains provide anything near excitement, unless fuel mileage is your thing. In that case, the RX350h fills that bill nicely. The RX500h fills the bill for those seeking above-average oomph.
Those who might bemoan the loss of the V6 engine used previously can take comfort in the fact the turbo-four is actually quicker – and has a decided advantage when it comes to fill-er-up.
None of the various models will impress enthusiasts who enjoy back roads and corners. The softly sprung RX is a treat, however on the open road with a quiet, pillow-smooth ride.
Every trim level of the RX comes with Safety System+ 3.0. This state-of-the art system provides the full array of safety features.
Picking a Lexus RX can be tricky. There are seven versions. And three powertrains. Prices range from $61,500 to $88,000. At any point on this price ladder you get exceptional quality, in materials and their application. The Ontario plant where it produced is the second most-awarded Toyota facility in the world.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Lexus RX350
As tested: $76,488 including freight
Left turn oncoming vehicle detection/braking, right/left turn oncoming pedestrian detection/braking, pre-collision system with pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle detection, lane departure apert with steering assist, oncoming vehicle detection, road sign assist, risk avoidance emergency steer assist, LED headlights with automatic high beams, proactive drive assist, blind spot monitor
36-cm touch screen, 12 speakers, HD and satellite radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity
Rear camera washer, smart key with push button start, power rear door, garage door opener, dynamic radar cruise control, with curve speed management, heated power tilt/telescope steering wheel, eight-way power-operated and heated front seats, 40/20/40 split rear seat, three-zone automatic climate control, power folding and heated mirrors, power sunroof
F SPORT 3 Package $15,500.00: wireless charging, triple-Beam LED headlamps with adaptoive high beams, panoramic view monitor, panoramic moonroof, Head-Up Display, power rear door with kick sensor, thematic ambient Illumination with 64 colours, heated rear seats, Lexus Interface with Safety Connect (up to 10 yr. trial), Service Connect (up to 10 yr. trial), Remote Connect (3 yr. trial) and Drive Connect (3 yr. trial), 3-Spoke F SPORT steering wheel, digital display rear view mirror with Homelink, cornering lamps, headlamp washers, Lexus driver memory system, digital key, lane change assist, advanced touch steering wheel, ventilated rear seats, 21 Speaker Mark Levinson audio system, leather seat, advanced park & traffic jam assist, 18-cm’ F SPORT digital cluster, 21-in alloy wheels
Turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 275-horsepower, 317 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel. Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 11.2/8.4
Length, 4,890 mm; width, 1,921 mm; wheelbase, 2,7850 mm; weight, 1,945 kg