Lexus launched the luxury crossover with its first RX more than two decades ago. For 2023, the brand has redesigned its best-selling nameplate, raising the bar in a class now full of competition including the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi A5.
But unlike its competitors, the RX is built in Canada at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) in Cambridge, Ontario. It is made for the North American market. In a part of the world where SUVs dominate, the RX leads the luxury mid-size segment and also tops the entire Lexus lineup in terms of sales.
The RX is not only an important vehicle for Toyota Canada, but also for the Canadian economy. In 2003, TMMC was the first facility outside Japan to produce Lexus vehicles. Since then, more than 1.5 million Lexus RX and Lexus RX Hybrid vehicles have been built – over 150,000 of them sold in Canada.
“Not only does TMMC employ more than 8,500 people in its three plants, but we have also made significant investments in supporting the Canadian economy,” said Frank Voss, president of TMMC prior to the vehicle’s debut in Plano, Texas. Toyota has invested more than $9.2 billion in its Canadian operations since 1985 and in 2018, TMMC announced a $1.4 billion investment to transform its North and West plants into the company’s new global architecture platform. This allowed for greater flexibility and increased production efficiency while shifting production to meet the demands of the rapidly growing North American compact SUV market. The fact that TMMC makes the Lexus RX and NX also helps us attract new investment.”
At first glance, the fifth-generation RX looks impressive — it has a new look outside and inside, four revamped powertrains including three electric versions, and more technology and safety features than previous models. It will come with two rows of seats. There’s no news, yet, on whether the RX L with three rows of seats will be available later or will be discontinued and replaced with an all-new three-row SUV.
The RX rides on a new universal platform, dubbed “GA-K” — that acronym doesn’t mean anything to most people. But it does translate to more room in the cargo area and cabin, especially legroom for rear seat passengers. Compared to the previous version, the RX is about 90 kilograms lighter. While the length remains the same, the new RX rides on a slightly longer wheelbase with a shorter rear overhang.
Four new powertrain options are available, including a 2.4-liter turbocharged all-wheel drive in the RX 350 all-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter all-wheel drive paired with the fourth-generation hybrid system in the RX 350h all-wheel drive. The RX 450h+ is the plug-in hybrid electric version, but no details about this engine or electric motor have been revealed. The RX 500h F SPORT Performance gets a brand new Lexus electric hybrid system with a front unit that integrates a 2.4-liter turbo, six-speed automatic transmission, inverter and an electric motor with an electronic hub-rear unit with a high-output electric motor, inverter and reduction gearbox. .
From the outside, the RX is clearly a Lexus with an updated twist on the iconic spindle design at the front end. From the profile, the roofline tapers down slightly toward the rear end. 19-inch wheels are standard, with larger 21-inch wheels optional. At the back is Lexus’ familiar L-shaped bar lamp with lenses that wrap around the side of the body for a wider, more powerful look.
Inside, it’s sleek and elegant with real wood accents and leather upholstery and available features including a 14-inch central touchscreen display and a panoramic roof. Technology takes center stage with innovative new features available including a digital key that lets you lock or unlock doors and start the car with your smartphone – no traditional key needed – and an advanced parking system with more functions including the ability to parallel park assist – this In addition to the traditional rear corner and forward-facing standing. The RX also has the Lexus Safety System + 3.0, which includes a number of standard safety features such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, crossover support and a new motorcycle detection feature; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control at all speeds with new Curve Speed Management; lane departure alert with steering assistance; and emergency driving stop system.
The 2023 Lexus RX is expected to go on sale at the end of 2022. Prices are not available yet.
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