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Lexus RX Hybrid 2023: 2.4-litre turbo-hybrid to adorn new-generation BMW X5 challenger


The all-new Lexus RX large SUV attempts a huge lift in ability, with new technology and performance-focused drivetrains with a hybrid-electric twist

Lexus has unveiled its all-new fifth-generation RX premium large SUV which it says takes a big leap forward in terms of interior refinement and outright performance.

While the official specification for Australia is yet to be confirmed, the RX range will be offered globally with a choice of traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol option.

2022 Lexus RX 450h SUV silver - dynamic front 3/4 shot
Lexus has unveiled the fifth-generation RX large SUV

The range-topping variant will be the RX500h, which uses the 2.4-litre turbo engine shared with the NX midsize SUV, and couples it to a beefy hybrid system with what Lexus calls a ‘high-output’ rear motor.

With a simultaneous pursuit of electrification and increased performance, the RX will face off against older rivals such as the BMW X5/X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi Q7/Q8 when it arrives in Australia around Christmas time or early in 2023.

New exterior design

Seen here in five-seat form, it remains to be seen if Lexus will offer a seven-seat version as it did with the previous-generation RX-L, or if that role will be adopted by the inbound three-row TX

2022 Lexus RX 450h SUV silver - dynamic rear 3/4 shot
The swooping rear C-pillar design has been retained

Lexus has incorporated modern styling elements such as single-piece rear LED tail-lights – a design that debuted on the NX midsize SUV and fully-electric RZ – which are mounted below the RX’s familiar swooping C-pillars.

Designers have modified the Lexus ‘spindle’ grille with what they call a ‘seamless grille design’ that blends the bodywork and grille, similar to the Peugeot 5008 large SUV. 

Increased cabin space

Engineers have increased the width to 1920mm (+25m) and wheelbase of the RX to 2850mm (+60mm) but retained its 4890mm length and actually reduced the overall height by 10mm to 1695mm and weight by 90kg. In doing so, the RX’s centre of gravity has been lowered by 15mm.

Lexus says the wider body and other changes have freed up 12mm in cabin space, and increased the length of the luggage area by 50mm.

2022 Lexus RX 450h SUV silver - interior front cabin
A centre touchscreen of up to 14.0-inches in size can be found inside

Within the new dashboard sits a driver-focused centre display of 9.8- or 14.0-inches in diameter, with Lexus’s divisive touchpad now removed and over-the-air updates integrated into the computer’s functionality. 

An additional display sits within the instrument cluster and works alongside a head-up display so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.

Lexus has included three-zone climate control along with heated and ventilated seats in both the front and rear seating rows for passenger comfort. 

2022 Lexus RX 450h SUV silver - rear boot
The RX is wider inside allowing for a more spacious interior and boot

High-performance Hybrid

Lexus is yet to confirm the outputs of its renewed RX powertrain line-up, but the range is expected to feature four-cylinder petrol-fed engines mated to either front- or all-wheel-drive. 

The RX450h+ will make use of a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine mated to an AWD plug-in hybrid system and feature the ability to travel short distances purely on electric power. Figures are yet to be confirmed but expect a range of over 50km in combined conditions.

Those who are seeking a conventional, self-charging hybrid will be offered the RX350h which will also makes use of a 2.5-litre engine which is offered in both FWD and AWD.

2022 Lexus RX 450h SUV silver - drivetrain platform
The RX will offer a range of hybrid systems with either FWD or AWD

A turbocharged 2.4-litre turbo-petrol will be known as the RX350 and will be available exclusively with mechanical AWD.

The RX500h will be the hero of the range, with the 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine mated to an AWD hybrid system with a ‘high-output’ electric motor on the rear axle.

Safety continues to progress

Lexus says it has upgraded the safety suite with technology that makes the RX more proactive to potential accidents and provides more convenience every day.

A more advanced pre-collision system focuses on where the driver is and isn’t looking, to provide a warning to potential hazards without being overly intrusive so that functions such as lane-keep assist don’t irritate the driver.

2022 Lexus RX 500h SUV blue - static front 3/4 shot
The Lexus RX500h will serve as the performance flagship

Driver attention monitoring has been incorporated into the safety suite, along with safe-exit assist to stop occupants from climbing out into the path of a passing car. 

The RX is also now fitted with a remote parking feature that will allow the large SUV to perform forwards, reverse and parallel parks by itself.

More information on the exact Australian specification and pricing will be provided towards the end of the year, with the RX expected to make its local debut just before Christmas or early in 2023.