Lexus only recently unveiled the 2016 RX, and it has a completely new look that some may love and others, not so much. At the Shanghai Auto Show, Lexus revealed a new addition to the redesigned RX lineup, in the form of the RX 200t.

The Lexus RX lineup dates back to the 1999 model year, which was when the U.S. first laid eyes upon the RX 300 crossover SUV. In 2004, the RX gained a new look, a 3.3-liter engine, and a new name: RX 330. In the 2007 model year, the RX’s engine grew again to a 3.5-liter V-6, which meant that a name change to the RX 350 also took place. Following its change to the RX 350, the SUV received a new look in 2010.

With its new four-cylinder addition for the 2016 model year, the RX is treading into new waters for this segment, as neither the Acura MDX nor the Infiniti QX60 have four-pot offerings. Is this movement to a smaller, turbocharged engine a good move for Lexus?

Continue reading my review of the RX 200t to find out.

  • 2016 Lexus RX 200t
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    Six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    228
  • Torque @ RPM:
    240 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    40000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Lexus RX 200t Exterior
- image 627560

Save for a few new badges, the exterior of the new RX 200t is identical to the rest of the recently redesigned RX lineup. The highlights include bodylines that are more angular, flared front and rear wheel arches, a more pronounced signature spindle grille, an all-new fascia, and new wraparound taillights.

One polarizing part of the new RX lineup is the “floating roof.” Essentially, this is just a blacked-out section of the C-pillar that creates the illusion that the roof simply floats above the rest of the vehicle. Some people love it and some hate it. I still have mixed feelings about it. At some angles, it looks just fine, while at others, it looks pretty strange.

Optional on the RX 200t is the F SPORT package, which adds an F-style mesh grille insert and other sportier elements.

Interior

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624736

The interior of the RX 200t will be identical to the rest of the RX lineup, but that is definitely not a bad thing. Lexus spent a fair amount of time updating the redesigned RX’s cabin to assure that it is up to par with the rest of the luxury crossovers out there.

The updates include updated trim pieces, additional legroom for the rear-seat passengers, a standard panoramic sunroof, and optional laser-cut ornamentation.

The optional F SPORT model may gain a few extra doses of sportiness, like an F Sport steering wheel and some exclusive trim pieces.

Drivetrain

2016 Lexus RX 200t
- image 627563

The engine is where the RX 200t is completely different from its siblings. Under here, Lexus installed a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 228 horsepower. To help milk that kind of power from this small-displacement engine, Lexus added a twin-scroll turbocharger and an air-to-liquid intercooler. The intercooler helps combat power-robbing heat.

This engine appears to be exclusive to China and other emerging markets. In the U.S., the RX uses either a traditional 3.5-liter V-6 or a 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V-6 mated with an electric motor for extra fuel economy.

Backing up the four-pot engine is a six-speed automatic transmission. There is no mention of whether this model has available all-wheel drive or comes only with front-wheel drive. I am confident that all-wheel drive is an option though.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4
Output 228 HP
Torque TBA
Transmission 6-speed automatic

Prices

2016 Lexus RX 200t Exterior
- image 627562

There is no mention of pricing yet on the RX 200t.

Competition

Acura MDX

2014 - 2016 Acura MDX High Resolution Exterior
- image 615134

The Acura MDX is a stalwart in the luxury SUV segment. Heck, all Acura SUVs are top-sellers, for that matter. For 2016, the MDX carries on with looks identical to the previous model year, and tons of luxury to compete with the big-boys.

Under its hood, the MDX carries the same 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 that produces 290 and 267 pound-feet or torque. This engine mates to a new-for-2016 nine-speed automatic transmission that is 66 pounds lighter than the outgoing six-speed trans. This new transmission, according to Acura, helps improve the MDX’s acceleration. Acura also revised its all-wheel-drive system, which is 19 pounds lighter and more advanced than last year’s system.

The 2016 MDX starts at $42,865, as of 2015.

Read our full review here.

Infiniti QX60

2014 Infiniti QX60 - Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 569347

For the 2015 model year, the Infiniti QX60 carries on unchanged, leaving it as one of the more boring-looking options in the class. Despite its pedestrian looks, it does come loaded to the gills with premium features like leather upholstery, LED taillights, a power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, and more.

The driving force behind the QX60 is a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. This engine mates to a CVT that the Japanese automaker revised to better simulate traditional shifting.

The QX60 starts at $45,400 as of 2015.

Read our full review here.

BMW X5

2014 BMW X5 Exterior
- image 508507

For those with a slightly larger budget, the X5 is a great option to the RX 200t. It comes with legendary BMW quality and luxury to match. As standard, the X5 comes with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED fog lights, a panoramic sunroof, faux leather seating, 10-way power front seats, and a nine-speaker audio system.

Under the hood, the only X5 model to consider as a possible alternative to the RX 200t is the 35i model. This SUV comes standard with a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The X5 35i comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but xDrive all-wheel drive is available.

The X5 35i bases from $53,900, which makes it one of the pricier models in its class.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Lexus RX 200t Exterior
- image 627561

The addition of a four-cylinder option for the RX seems like a genius move, in my opinion. However, I can’t help but wonder why not offer this in the U.S. as a more fuel-efficient option to the V-6 model. The only reason I can think for Lexus not offering it here in the U.S. is the possibility of cannibalizing sales of the NX 200t. But that is a significantly smaller SUV that caters to a different crowd altogether. Maybe after testing it in other markets, Lexus will see its value here in the States.

  • Leave it
    • * Not slated for the U.S. yet
    • * A little early to the show with this engine
    • * Looks grossly underpowered on paper

Press Release

While the new RX 350 and RX 450h luxury utility vehicles made a dazzling debut earlier this month at the New York International Auto Show, the RX 200t made its first appearance at the Shanghai International Motor Show, alongside the much-anticipated ES.

2016 Lexus RX 200t Exterior
- image 627560

What sets the RX 200t apart from the vehicles introduced in North America is its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 under the hood, designed for select global markets, including China. The output of the powertrain, which features VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) and a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with air-to-liquid intercooler, will be aimed at more than 228 hp (170 kW). The gear ratios of the 6-speed automatic transmissions provide excellent acceleration off the line and exceptional passing power.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 joins the other RX’s engine offerings. One is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V6, which aims to deliver 300 hp and comes mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid model features an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 that produces around 300 hp when combined with the electric motor. These engines have been tuned for greater fuel efficiency and low carbon emissions.

2016 Lexus RX 200t Exterior
- image 627561

The RX features a new bold look to go along with its refined engines. The front of the vehicle is highlighted by a completely new fascia with an emboldened spindle grille and triple L-shape LED headlamps. A truly innovative styling cue is the blacked-out C-pillars, which provide a floating-roof effect never before seen on a Lexus product. The appearance of the rear has been sharpened and exudes a sense of rock-solid stability, as the new L-shaped taillights that wrap around the sides of the vehicle create a wider, more authoritative presence when illuminated.

Inside, the new RX’s cabin is one of comfort and luxury, with repositioned trim pieces that exude a high level of class, and specially-finished laser-cut ornamentation available for those who desire an extra dose of opulence. Rear-seat occupants are treated to more leg and knee space, and a retractable power panorama roof provides occupants with a refreshing open-air experience.
When it comes to delivering car-like handling, the RX has no peers. The entire chassis has been fortified to provide enhanced straight-line stability and control through turns. The RX’s fully independent suspension system has been tuned and reinforced for controlled handling while keeping ride quality remarkably smooth.

For those who prefer more excitement and performance in their luxury sport-utility vehicles, the RX F SPORT will be available with all of the model’s engine offerings. The RX F SPORT will feature, among other things, exclusive alloy wheels, “F SPORT” badges, and an “F” mesh design on the spindle grille to visually differentiate it from the other versions, while modifications to the chassis enhance the vehicle’s already superb cornering performance.

2016 Lexus RX 200t
- image 627563

Lexus has always stressed safety technologies in all of its vehicles, so it should come as no surprise that the new RX is enhanced in the areas concerning the well-being of its occupants. Among these new changes is Lexus Safety System +, which is also available on ES. Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) are available as optional equipment.

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