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2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

The grandfather of luxury crossovers

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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2015 Lexus GX 460 - Driven

2015 Lexus GX 460 - Driven

The Lexus GX 460 feels like a dinosaur on the road. Much of its underpinnings are shared with the 4Runner and have been around for more than a decade. The second-generation SUV debuted in 2009 with a new and more powerful engine as well as some revised suspension and equipment pieces, but it still retained the same body-on-frame chassis that the model debuted with way back in 2002. For 2014, Toyota has taken the second-generation machine and slapped a new coat of paint on it with some small visual tweaks and the new family “spindle” grille. Our 2015 model carries on with no major visual changes, but adds some new interior technology to the mix.

With modern crossovers dominating the market, is there room on the sales floor for an old-school, 5,000-pound SUV with legitimate off-road prowess? America’s love affair with the classic SUV has long since died, but after a week with this gigantic bruiser I couldn’t quite figure out why. With a true four-wheel drive system capable of tackling the tough stuff, a solid three-ton tow rating and seating for seven, the Lexus GX ticks off every box on my list.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2015 Lexus GX 460.

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2014 Lexus RX 350 - Driven

2014 Lexus RX 350 - Driven

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and has stuck to the same basic concept of a compact to midsize crossover with a peppy engine, decent fuel economy, and luxury to boot. The RX’s first generation established the vehicle’s reputation as a swanky alternative to larger, body-on-frame SUVs. Bowing out in 2003 after a mild facelift in 2000, the RX moved into its second generation. The same story continued, with the then new RX’s debut in 2004, a refresh in 2007, and exit in 2009. Lastly, the third generation came about in 2010 with a refresh in 2012. Now two years afterward, the 2014 RX 350 still looks relevant though it’s appearance is much more subtle than other, more recent Lexus products.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of an RX 350 to get a feel of how this aging crossover is holding up.

While the it’s beginning to age in comparison to Lexus’ growing number of fresh products, the RX still holds it own. In a way, it walks softly but carries a big stick. It doesn’t command attention in the same way an Escalade does, but once within its cabin, a certain level of luxury is found. And while the RX and the Escalade aren’t direct competitors, they’ll likely be parked side by side at the local country club or golf course.

Click past the jump to continue reading about the RX 350

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2014 Lexus GX460 - Driven

2014 Lexus GX460 - Driven

The Lexus GX sport utility has been around since 2003 when Lexus added the midsize SUV to its lineup. Slotted between the smaller crossover RX and the larger LX platforms, the GX offered plenty of room for seven passengers and loads of rugged abilities that the then up-and-coming crossover segment lacked. A heavy refresh came in 2010 and included the 4.6-liter V-8 to replace the older 4.7-liter, a revised interior, and some slight updating to the exterior. Now for 2014, Lexus has reworked the GX460, giving it the corporate-wide Spindle Grille up front with HID and LED lighting, a reshaped rear bumper, and a new range-topping trim level. Lexus has also subtracted some stuff, namely the pricing. In fact, the base GX460 is roughly $4,700 cheaper than 2013 model. That said, the GX460 isn’t a cheap SUV, thanks to a starting price still touching $50,000.

The GX460 does offer a lot for that scratch, however, and it makes a solid case for itself when considering its heritage and capabilities as a true SUV — and one that can still haul seven people. It’s able to tow a 6,500-pound trailer, engage low range and hit the trails, yet still look at home parked at the county club.

I recently spent a week getting to know the 2014 GX460 with all its quirks and strong suits. The week was spent doing mixed driving, split pretty evenly on highways and city streets. Hauling passengers and hill climbing even happened on a few occasions.

Click past the jump for the full report

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2015 Lexus NX - First Drive

2015 Lexus NX - First Drive

Lexus has dominated the midsize luxury crossover market since its RX lineup debuted back in 1998. Its small size, fuel-efficient engines, and long list of luxurious amenities make the RX a hot seller. In 2013 alone, the RX sold over 103,000 units within the U.S. Lexus seems bent on gaining even more sales and growing its SUV lineup by offering a completely new product, the NX. Smaller than the RX and with striking features inside and out, the NX is poised to further solidify Lexus’ position as a luxury leader. The NX is all-new for 2015 and comes with two available powerplants, front- and all-wheel-drive, and room for five. Two separate models — the 200t and 300h — offer a wide range of choices and additional packages for customers looking to buy that just-right crossover.

Lexus says it only plans on selling roughly 36,000 units per year within the States, but if the RX and other crossover sales have any indication, the NX will easily surpass Lexus’ conservative estimates. The NX is also going global, selling in more than 80 markets worldwide. And while the official pricing hasn’t been released, the NX is estimated to undercut the RX’s price by some $5,000, meaning it will start in the mid-$30,000 range.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of the new 2015 Lexus NX in the rolling hills of Nashville, Tennessee. What I discovered was a competent-handling, fun-to-drive vehicle that makes the trade-offs of owning an SUV less impactful, while still retaining all the benefits of a utilitarian crossover.

Click past the jump for the full review of the all-new 2015 Lexus NX

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2014 Lexus LX 570 Supercharger

2014 Lexus LX 570 Supercharger

Just like the RX crossover, the LX full-size SUV has helped define the Lexus brand in terms of luxury and capability. And the recipe was pretty much simple, blending the off-road potential and reliability of the Toyota Land Cruiser’s platform with a sumptuous and comfortable interior and rounding things off with a commanding exterior design.

Sure, the third-generation LX is getting a little old compared to its rivals, but no serious manufacturer really wants to dismiss it just yet. Its more recent facelift came for the 2013 model year, which means we’re stuck with the current layout for another couple of years, but the company’s Kuwaiti dealer decided the LX 570 needs yet another update.

You might be tempted to think we’re talking about a more luxurious version of the SUV, with gold-plated cabin inlays and maybe some Swarovski crystals here there, but that’s not the case. The appearance changes were actually done in good taste, but the most important improvement took place under the hood, where a supercharger was fitted to increase output beyond the 400-horsepower mark.

It sounds exciting yes, but don’t start dreaming just yet. This special edition LX isn’t likely to come to North America. However, that didn’t stop us from having a closer look at the vehicle and highlight all of its brand-new features.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus LX 570 Supercharger.

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2014 Lexus GX 460

2014 Lexus GX 460

The Lexus GX 460 is fresh for 2014 with a far deeper facelift than the LED and spindle grille applied to the Lexus LX 570 last year.

The smaller GX 460 SUV is just as tough and trail ready as its big brother, and now has a striking front grille design and huge rear fender flares like a baja race truck.

Clear LED taillights bring up the rear of the GX, which looks much more familiar in profile than it does from up front with this extreme L-finesse grille treatment. The GX is still not the sleekest SUV out there, and prides itself on its global heritage as the hugely popular Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

As one of the few remaining off-roaders with real survival skills in harsh and barren climates, the body-on-frame GX V-8 has never been quite as popular among U.S. crossover shoppers as the firms lighter-duty haulers, like the RX. A truck-like demeanor is still evident the moment the GX starts to move, despite layers of Lexus leather and sound-proofing to make this SUV as quiet inside as an ISO tank.

A final treat on this revamped seven-passenger SUV? A price cut of about $5,000 for 2014, despite additional technology and safety equipment included as standard.

Versus the new seven-seat Range Rover Sport and Mercedes-Benz GL, the Lexus certainly still has dozens of advantages when the going gets life-threatening. But in a dwindling market for real off-roaders with $3,000 metallic paint jobs: is all the GX 460’s unstoppable off-road equipment still enough of a selling point?

Click past the just for the full review of the 2014 Lexus GX 460, with high-res images of the new exterior styling and interior features.

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2013 Lexus LX 570

2013 Lexus LX 570

The Lexus LX 570 is an important model that’s reaching near-icon status by delivering a blend of luxury and off-road ability that sets it apart from other $80,000 full-size SUVs. It helps define the brand and add some much-needed cool points based on its redesigned exterior and massaged features for the 2013 model year.

It is easy to dismiss the LX 570 as a big player on the super-SUV scene that also includes the Audi Q7, Infiniti QX56 and the Land Rover Range Rover. After all, the core Lexus high-dollar models like the LS and LF-A make up an increasingly slim portion of sales for the luxury heavyweight, as prices ratchet ever upwards and the competition grows increasingly fierce.

In fact, the biggest, toughest Lexus has a strong global following in high-dollar markets as diverse as Russia, North Africa and the Middle East region. The reasons are easy to fathom: unstoppable off-road, a seriously opulent interior, and the hard-earned reliability of the LX’s Land Cruiser sibling all bolstering its image.

The LX has been a fixture since launching in the U.S. exclusively in 1996 as the LX 450, a true bruiser only slightly dressed up for the occasion. The most recent iteration has been around since 2008 and is on a bit of a sales up-swing to nearly 28,000 units globally in 2012. The United States only accounted for 18 percent of that number, but remains a trend-setting market among international consumers.

As such, the 2013 model features heavily updated styling to bring the LX into the latest “spindle grille” and “arrowhead LED” styling themes embraced by the rest of Lexus line. Dozens of detail tweaks also help the LX 570 stay current with the leading luxury off-roaders.

Click past the jump for the full review of the legendary Lexus LX, plus a mega photo gallery of the new exterior and interior and a video from INKAS Armored about their bullet-proof LX 570.

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