Among the stars at the 2015 New York Auto Show is the all-new 2016 Lexus RX. This forth-generation RX builds on the foundation already laid by Lexus’ best-selling model of all time. A hot new design that takes after the compact NX crossover that debuted last year clearly moves the RX from meek and boring to vogue and cutting-edge. Lexus might lose some of its older customer base, but will likely gain a younger, yet just as affluent crowd thanks to this bold move.

The 2016 RX wholeheartedly embraces the corporate Spindle Grille design from its F Sport trim. Inside, the cabin takes an even further departure from what we’re used to seeing from Lexus, departing from the brand’s current design styles in favor of something fresh.

Even the mechanicals have been heavily updated. The 3.5-liter V-6 returns with more power and direct injection. An all-new eight-speed automatic transmission joins the mix while the RX 450h’s Atkinson-cycle powertrain also gets a slight power boost.

All told, the new RX is far more visually outgoing in its new design. What that actually means for its sales numbers is unknown, but I’d bet on a huge growth in popularity.

Updated 04/01/2015: The new Lexus RX made its world debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show - in both standard and hybrid versions.

Continue reading to check out the details of the new 2016 Lexus RX.

  • 2016 Lexus RX
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    300
  • Torque @ RPM:
    278 (Est.)
  • Energy:
    Direct Injection
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; FWD, AWD
  • Price:
    42000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Live Unveiling

Exterior

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624739
2016 Lexus RX
- image 624700
2016 Lexus RX
- image 624726

The exterior’s emboldened new styling will turn heads wherever it goes, but whether its for the right reasons is still in question. I always say looks are subjective and everybody has their own preferences, but I find the RX’s new resemblance to the NX a welcomed treat. Let’s just hope the RX’s target audience will agree.

More objectively, the updated crossover enjoys some much-needed attention. Grabbing eyes is that massive Spindle Grille up front. Also attracting loads of attention is the new floating roof design with its blacked-out C-Pillar. It’s the first time Lexus has tried this stylization, but it seems to work really well.

For those not so keen on the aggressive new grille, the non-F Sport models get a somewhat more subtle design.

Exterior Dimensions

Overall length 192.5 Inches
Overall width 74.6 Inches
Overall height 66.5 Inches
Wheelbase 109.8 Inches
Tread (Fr/Rr) 64.6 /64.2 Inches

Interior

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624718
2016 Lexus RX
- image 624708
2016 Lexus RX
- image 624743

If you thought the outside was a departure, just take a gander at the 2016 RX’s interior. The new design definitely strays from anything Lexus is currently building – even the current IS sedan’s interior, which was previously the benchmark and what many considered the theme for future Lexus products to follow.

That line of thinking has been blown out of the water. More to the point, no one would have thought twice about Lexus simply growing the NX’s interior to fit the larger dimensions of the RX. But that’s simply not the case. So let’s look at what what’s new.

First off, the center stack is redesigned with a more rectangular infotainment screen topping the dash. Below that are the two HVAC vents with an analog clock in the center. Below that are the hard-button radio controls followed by the HVAC controls. As in the NX, the center console is home to the electronic parking brake, gear selector, drive mode selector and infotainment controls. Interestingly, the RX resorts back to the joystick design rather than the new trackpad like the NX. I reached out to Lexus for answers. According to Moe Durand, the trackpad doesn’t appeal to the RX’s customer who’s a bit older and is used to the more tactile joystick. The trackpad isn’t going away, but will be used in other products.

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624706

Lexus is also offering two separate gauge clusters for the RX. The standard model will come with two main analog gauges and a smaller TFT display in the center. F-Sport models will come with a dynamic gauge cluster similar to the IS 350 F-Sport. Click into sport mode and the large cluster that contains the digital tachometer slides sideways revealing another TFT display. It’s a slick way to dress up the gauges that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Drivetrain

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624715

Lexus doesn’t dive into much detail, but the RX comes powered by the same 3.5-liter V-6 as before, but with a considerable 30-horsepower bump. That puts its final output at 300 horsepower. There’s no word on torque output yet. Backing up the V-6 is a new, eight-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid RX, the 450h, also comes with the carry-over 3.5-liter V-6 that runs its fuel-saving Atkinson cycle. When combined with the electric motor/generator, the combination pushes out “around 300 horsepower,” according to Lexus.

As before, AWD is available. Want the F Sport package? You’ll have to check the AWD option box to get it. That’s for a good reason though, as Lexus says the AWD is used in combination with the stiffened body structure, and the available, all-new Adaptive Variable Suspension system that adapts shock absorber dampening to provide a smooth, yet sporty ride.

Drivetrain Specifications

Model Lexus RX 350 Lexus RX 450h
Type 3.5-liter V-6 Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6
Output 300 HP "around" 300 HP
Transmission eight-speed automatic eight-speed automatic

Prices

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624737

Lexus is still quite on pricing details at this time, but it’s expected the RX will incur a slight bump in price over the current generation. The 2015 RX starts at $40,970, so figure on a $500 increase or so.

Competition

Acura MDX

2014 - 2016 Acura MDX High Resolution Exterior
- image 615134

Acura is one of the leaders in the Luxury crossover segment, and the MDX is definitely a model you’ll want to consider when looking at the 2016 RX. In 2015, the MDX beat out the RX 350 in power, as its 3.5-liter V-6 pumped out 290 horses and 267 pound-feet of torque. In 2016, the MDX’s drivetrain gets even better with the addition of a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Inside the cabin, both models have premium features and plenty of insulation to keep things quiet. What they both also share are finicky infotainment systems, as Acura continues using a dual-screen system circa 2000.

Read our full review of the 2016 Acura MDX here.

Infiniti QX60

2014 Infiniti QX60 High Resolution Exterior
- image 526853

The QX60 is another luxury midsize SUV that you’ll want to consider when eyeing the upcoming 2016 Lexus RX. In 2015, the QX60 fell behind both the MDX and the RX in power, as its 3.5-liter V-6 could only muster up 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Like the MDX and RX, the Infiniti based the QX on front-wheel-drive architecture, but all-wheel drive is available as an option.

The Infiniti QX60 is just as luxurious as the offerings from Lexus and Acura, and some consider its infotainment system easier to use.

Read our full review of the Infiniti QX60 here.

Conclusion

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624724

All told, the new 2016 RX looks like a fantastic update to Lexus’ most popular model. With more than 2.1 million sold around the world since its inception, Lexus has a lot riding on this vehicle. Hopefully this bold update doesn’t alienate the RX’s current client base of more-seasoned car buyers while still attracting younger blood to the lineup.

Either way, there’s no denying the update pulls the RX closer in line with Lexus’ other products. Love it or hate it, the Spindle Grille will be around for the foreseeable future.

  • Leave it
    • * May be too extreme for traditional Lexus buyers
    • * A small price increase is likely

Press Release

Lexus has shown that it has once again redefined the luxury sport utility segment with the unveiling of the all-new RX at the 2015 New York Auto Show today. As the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history—with global sales of more than 2.1 million units—the RX represents three out of ten vehicles ever sold by Lexus. The 2016 RX builds on that trend with a completely new, luxurious interior to match its fresh, new, chiseled body style. The large dose of Lexus brand DNA that’s been artfully incorporated into the details can not only be seen, but also felt. The new fourth-generation RX also boasts exceptional on-road performance and safety technologies that include the innovative Lexus Safety System+.

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624697

"With the new Lexus Safety System+, we offer drivers an added level of occupant safety in a conveniently bundled package that leverages some of the latest accident prevention technology. We certainly expect the proliferation of these features to continue throughout the luxury vehicle market and our Lexus lineup as the industry remains steadfast in the pursuit of enhanced vehicle safety," said Jeff Bracken, Group Vice President and General Manager Lexus Division.

Takayuki Katsuda, the Chief Engineer of the new RX said, “Our ambition has been to make a bold and completely new statement in this segment while building on and staying true to the pioneering values of previous RX generations.”

A Bold Exciting New Look
The RX with all-new sheet metal makes a powerful visual statement at first glance. A completely new front end is highlighted by an emboldened spindle grille, more aggressive front bumper and available triple L-shaped LED headlamps. Together with the all-new LED fog lamps and LED daytime running lights, the RX has a more sophisticated and advanced look. Muscular front fender flares add to the vehicle’s sporty attitude.

When seen from the side, the sharp character line that runs from the front fenders to the rear end, together with a flowing roofline, give the RX a dynamic profile. All of this helps make the vehicle sure-footed at high speed and reduces wind noise. A truly distinctive styling cue is the blacked-out C-pillars, which provide the illusion of a floating roofline never before seen on a Lexus product. Also, newly available 20-in. aluminum wheels with larger tires improve the vehicle stance and proportions and replace the current model’s 19-in. options. These 20-inch wheels can also be customized with body color-matching inserts to emphasize the driver’s individuality.

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624698

The new RX’s rear appearance has been sharpened, now exuding a sense of chiseled, rock-solid stability with the design highlighted by LED L-shaped taillights that wrap around the sides of the vehicle, creating a wider, more authoritative presence when illuminated. When lit, a brilliant glow spans laterally from the body to the back door, a Lexus-first. Integrated dual exhaust pipes have been added to the gas model for a more premium appearance.

Inside, RX’s new luxurious cabin with elegant, high-quality trim exudes warmth and class. Specially finished Yamaha laser-cut ornamentation is available for those who appreciate an additional dimension of interior refinement. An available color heads-up display (HUD) projects pertinent vehicle information to the driver’s windshield, while the information display area, featuring an available 12.3-in. monitor with full-screen map, is situated atop the center stack. The shift lever, complete with leather boot, has been positioned away from the front of the instrument panel to optimize operability and create more space for the driver.

Rear-seat occupants are treated to more leg and knee space. The RX now offers heated outboard rear seats and a 60/40 power folding second row to enhance comfort and convenience. A newly available retractable power panorama moonroof enhances the RX cabin’s spaciousness and provides occupants with a refreshing open-air experience. The available rear seat entertainment system now includes 11.6-in. dual screens affixed to the back of the front headrests.

“Even while ensuring a high level of luxury and space within the cabin, the RX’s silhouette remains sleek and dynamic, while the interior has been designed for easy operation with luxurious execution,” said Gen Ikeda, Lexus RX chief designer.

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624699

Smooth, Powerful and Efficient Engines Under the Hood
Under the RX 350’s hood is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V6 aiming to deliver
300 hp with direct injection, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Based on this enhanced powertrain is the RX 450h’s Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6. When combined with the electric motor generator, the combined output results in around 300 hp. All RX engines have been tuned in anticipation of high fuel economy ratings and low carbon emissions.

Enhanced Handling and Straight-line Stability
When it comes to delivering precise, controlled handling, the new RX offers impressive dynamic capability. The entire chassis has been fortified to provide enhanced straight-line stability and control through turns. The vehicle’s body structure has been strengthened with added stiffness, helping to enhance its handling response while reducing engine and road noise in the cabin. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is standard, while Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is available on select models. Each system is designed to help recognize loss of vehicle control, and help mitigate potentially dangerous situations with automatic and often transparent adjustments to help the vehicle maintain optimal traction. The RX also is offered in All-Weather Drive to help the RX’s handling performance and control on dry and slick surfaces alike.

The RX’s fully independent suspension system, which consists of MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone setup at rear, has been tuned and reinforced to enhance handling while keeping ride quality remarkably smooth. Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is available on the RX for the first time. AVS electronically monitors and adapts the shock absorber damping and steering to help ensure optimal handling and ride depending on the driving conditions. The system is also designed to produce less body lean through corners, providing an engaging driving experience.

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624700

In the U.S., the RX is available with specifically designed Michelin Premier tires featuring EverGrip™ technology. EverGrip™ technology has a high traction compound, expanding rain grooves that widen over time and emerging grooves which open as the tire wears.

Safety is a Priority with Lexus Safety System+
Lexus has always stressed safety 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 the changes is Lexus Safety System+, which can help avoid or mitigate collisions across a wide range of vehicle speeds under certain conditions. Introduced globally, Lexus Safety System+ integrates several of the brand’s existing active safety technologies. These include the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that is designed to detect sudden stops initiated by the preceding vehicle and can engage automatic braking in certain circumstances; Lane Departure Alert (LDA), which issues an audible signal if it determines that the vehicle has strayed from its intended lane; and Automatic High Beam (AHB) that helps ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving. As part of a multi-faceted approach to active safety, the Lexus Safety System+ package utilizes a millimeter-wave radar that works together with a camera to help keep the RX in its intended driving lane via the Lane Keep Assist feature (LKA) and enhances target detection for the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop capability under certain circumstances. Other available features that can help the driver include Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624701

RX F SPORT
For those who prefer even more excitement and performance in their luxury utility vehicles, there is the RX F SPORT (AWD models only), which will be available with both models’ engine offerings for the first time. Lexus vehicles designated with the F SPORT badge are equipped with a number of special visual and performance features that set them apart from other versions. In the RX’s case, the spindle grille and lower center piece of the rear bumper incorporate an “F” mesh design, instantly giving the vehicle a sportier flair. New 20-inch alloy wheels with graphite finish, exclusive to the F SPORT, also help give the RX a commanding presence. Inside, the driver is treated to a custom F SPORT instrument cluster with a TFT Multi Information Display (MID) as well as a sport steering wheel, featuring perforated leather trim, an F SPORT emblem, and paddle shifters. Exclusive colors and trim pieces are also part of F SPORT.

The RX F SPORT’s performance on the road has been enhanced by an active stabilizer system whose cutting-edge technology helps keep the vehicle’s body amazingly flat through corners. The aforementioned AVS, which also helps keep the vehicle planted to driving surfaces through turns, is standard on RX F SPORT. The driver can select the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode, in addition to the standard Eco, Normal and Sport settings, on the Drive Mode Select control located on the center console.

The Luxury SUV Bar Has Been Raised Yet Again by the New RX
Whatever version of the RX you choose, one thing is perfectly clear: Lexus’ best-selling vehicle has dramatically raised the bar yet again in the mid-size luxury utility segment, flawlessly combining bold luxury styling inside and out, and engaging driving performance.

“The pioneering spirit of Lexus drives us to create new technology and gives rise to new ideas. It allows us to introduce new vehicles with leading-edge features. And indeed, we are committed to bringing ‘progressive luxury’ to the world. I believe this new RX will not only surprise new customers, but will also delight and satisfy our loyal customers, whose high expectations will be met by many new innovations,” said Katsuda.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: