So, you probably don’t need us to tell you that the Lexus RX is a very popular luxury crossover. As a matter of fact, it’s spent most of the 20+ years since it first debuted, dominating the sales charts as the best-selling luxury vehicle, period. Needless to say, this all-new 2023 RX is a really big deal, which is why we were excited to go to Santa Barbara California a few weeks ago to fully test it out for the first time. So, is this the best RX ever made? Keep reading to find out!
What’s New for 2023
- Totally redesigned from the interior to the exterior, and to the driving dynamics as well
Versions: 350, 350h, 450h+, 500h
Note: Specs have yet to be released about the 450h+, so it will not be included in this article.
- RX 350: Standard -> Premium -> Premium+ -> Luxury -> F Sport Handling (based off Premium)
- RX 350h: Standard -> Premium -> Premium+ -> Luxury
- RX 500h: F-Sport Performance (based off F-Sport Handling)
The most obvious changes to this all-new Lexus RX can be found by looking at the exterior of the vehicle. The RX is sporting an all-new design, taking the signature Lexus “spindle grille” to a new level, as it fades into the top of the grille as if it were sheet metal. The F-Sport models will add black mesh and a more aggressive fascia design to emphasize its sporty appearance. LED headlights and fog lamps will be standard, with triple beam headlights as an option as well.
Heading to the side of the RX, you will find each trim level with a different set of wheels, starting with 19-inch alloys on the Base and Premium trims and 21-inch alloys (with varying designs and colors) on the upper trims. These wheels will cover 13.4-inch vented disc brakes in the front and 13.4-inch vented discs in the rear. Upping the ante on the F-Sport, you will be greeted with 15.7-inch, six-piston, vented brakes in the front, and 13.4-inch in the rear. Up to the mirrors, you should expect to find power folding, heated, and auto-dimming mirrors on most trims, with black mirrors on the F-Sport trims. The side retains a similar, yet more refined design from the last generation, measuring in at 192.5-inches. Buyers of the 500h will find that the lower body trim elements will be body colored. The rear of the car has also seen quite the redesign, with a floating roof design and “Lexus” spelled out across the rear. Newly designed LED taillights will be standard on all trims, and despite the F-Sport trims having a more aggressive rear diffuser, no models with have exposed exhaust. Towing is rated at 3,500lbs when equipped with the towing prep package.
The RX will be equipped with Lexus’s long-lasting 4 year, 50,000 mile basic warranty and a 6 year, 70,000 mile powertrain warranty. Additionally, owners will be happy to have their first and second maintenance appointments complimentary. The RX for 2023 will come standard with Lexus’ Safety System+ 3.0, including:
- Standard Adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and auto high beams.
- New features for 3.0 include curve management for adaptive cruise control and auto braking to avoid turning in front of oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
- Hands-free traffic jam assist for under 25 mph on highways is also available on all trims.
Next, we’ll head to the interior, where Lexus has continued their redesign.
To get inside this all-new 2023 Lexus RX, smart entry and push button start will be standard on all trims. Lexus’ Digital Key will also be available, with remote start via the Lexus App. When it comes to interior materials and seat design, all of the trims will find varying combinations as follows:
- Base/Premium: NuLux Leatherette | Black, Macadamia, Birch, Palomino
- Premium+: Leather | Black, Macadamia, Birch, Palomino
- Luxury: Semi-Analine Leather | Black, Macadamia, Peppercorn
- 350 F-Sport: NuLux Leatherette | Black, Rioja Red
- 500h F-Sport: Leather and Suede | Black, Rioja Red
The seats will be 8-way power adjusting for the base and 10-way power on the Luxury and above, with memory offered on the Premium trim and up. The interior trims will differ depending on trim, but will offer variations of open-pore wood, open-pore bamboo, and aluminum.
Specs: Legroom: 41.1-inches | Headroom: 39.5-inches (max)
The 2023 RX will have a standard 7.8-inch digital multi-function gauge cluster, with a heads-up display on the Luxury and F-Sport trims. Sitting in front of the gauges will be a power-adjusting, leather wrapped steering wheel and heating available on the Premium trim and above. The RX will come with a new electronic shifter with rain-sensing wipers are standard on all trim levels.
Technology will be plentiful within the Lexus RX’s cabin, with at least 2-zone auto climate as standard and wireless charging on the Premium trim and above. Heated seats will be standard as well, with ventilation on the Premium and above. The RX will come standard with a 12-speaker audio system, with a whopping 21-speaker Mark Levinson PurePlay audio system as an option. Other tech goodies include standard parking sensors on the Premium and up, with auto-park abilities and a 360-degree camera both as options as well. Ambient lighting is also standard in the RX’s new cabin, with a thematic lighting upgrade if you opt for the Premium+ trim or above. At the center of the RX’s cabin is a large 9.8-inch digital display on some trims, with an even larger 14-in display available on the Premium+/Luxury trims. All of the screens will come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a voice assistant and touchscreen capabilities. The rearview mirror will be auto-dimming with a camera mirror on every trim except for the base model. A standard sized moonroof is standard on all but the base trim, with a panoramic option available.
The rear seats will continue to allow plenty of space, with 37.4-inches of legroom and 37.0-inches of headroom. Heated and ventilated rear seats will be optional on the RX, with some outlets back there as well. The tailgate will be hands-free power opening on all trims, 29.6 cubic feet behind the 2nd row and 46.2 cubic feet as a maximum.
Powertrain & Driving Impressions
With such a wide array of versions for this new RX, Lexus has also provided a wide array of powertrains. Check out the specs below with the currently released information:
- 350 (FWD/AWD):
- 2.4L Turbo 4-cyl: 275 horsepower | 317 lb.ft.
- 0-60: 7.2s (w/ AWD)
- 8-speed automatic
- Fuel Economy:
- FWD: 22/29/25 MPG
- AWD: 21/28/24 MPG
- 350h (AWD):
- 2.5L 4-cyl + Hybrid System (nickel hydride): 246 HP | 233 lb.ft.
- 0-60: 7.4s
- Fuel Economy:
- 37/34/36 MPG
- 450h+ (PHEV AWD):
- Info will be released at later time
- 500h (DIRECT4 AWD):
- 2.4L Turbo 4-cyl + Hybrid System (nickel): 366 HP | 406 lb.ft.
- 80 kW e-Axle (aka more power engine and more powerful electric motor)
- Most powerful RX ever
- 6-speed automatic
- 0-60: 5.9s
- Fuel Economy:
- 27/28/27 MPG
We recently had the chance to hop behind the wheel of the 500h F-Sport Performance and boy does it live up that name! The driving dynamics are very refined, and it gives the illusion that you aren’t actually driving an SUV! Both F-Sport models will have an Adaptive Variable Suspension and the 500h will offer Active sound control AND rear steering. Lexus has definitely put a lot of effort into making the new RX the best it can be on the road. Check out the videos below for a full idea of what the RX is like to drive!
2023 prices have not yet been released for the new RX, but we would expect it to start around $46,995, the MSRP for the 2022 model.
Overall, this all-new Lexus RX continues to impress when it comes to practicality and value, offering the best of both worlds when it comes to utility and fun. This new design continues to build upon an already attractive and popular vehicle, and more standard features on the interior will be sure to give this car even more buyers than it already had before. Compared to the competition, the Lexus RX sure seems like a winner to us!