New RX offers more spec and tech

New RX offers more spec and tech

Lexus is hoping that it’s newly launched fourth generation RX SUV will not only recapture current customers but also attract new ones from the three German luxury marques.

It may not be an impossible dream as the new model offers a comprehensive amount of tech and spec, particularly the Limited models which come fully loaded according to the distributor and offer best bang for buck.

New Zealand customers first saw the Lexus RX arrive in 2003 with the international launch of the second model generation, and it quickly became the most popular selling model here.

In 2009, the third generation RX model arrived with the addition of the hybrid RX 450h. There was a major upgrade for this third-gen series in 2012 with the addition of the new Lexus spindle grille and the introduction of the F Sport grade to the RX line.

The newly introduced fourth generation RX builds on the stand out chiselled look of its predecessor with a more integrated rendition of the spindle grille, and a distinctive rear pillar that creates a floating roof effect.

Low profile roof rails are a standard fit on all grades of RX and all models also feature new designed 20” alloy wheels with distinctive designs for each grade. Limited models come with an exclusive Sonic Titanium colour inserts with three other colour options available as an accessory.

The RX offers the new Lexus Safety System + on all grades that draw on a combination of radar and camera functions to detect potential hazards and assist with the appropriate action.

The system includes the Pre-Crash System, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam Headlights (Adaptive High beam on Limited grades), Lane Keep Assist system which when enabled will provide corrective steering assistance to stay centred in a lane and Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning.

A Panoramic View Monitor, an exclusive feature for F Sport and Limited grades, uses cameras to display a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings including a bird’s eye view for improved sight.

It works in conjunction with the Lexus Parking Assist sensors and monitor, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert for greater awareness that come standard across the range.

Signature Lexus sequential LED front and rear indicators, first seen on the LX, are adopted on the F Sport and Limited models for a premium aesthetic appeal.

The new RX offers a redesigned interior, lowering the shift lever to the flat section of the centre console contributing to ease of use and visual appeal.

Five new interior trim options on offer including Noble Brown, Topaz Brown, Rich Cream, F Sport White and F Sport Dark Rose, depending on the grade.

Lexus-first Laser-cut wood ornamentation developed by Yamaha provides a premium interior finish option for the Limited grade.

The Lexus-first 3D Film and Laser-cut wood are included in the five new interior ornamentation options in addition to Aluminium, Shimamoku and Bamboo, depending on the grade

For RX Limited buyers a panoramic moonroof, which uses a two-piece glass structure of open and tilt the front glass and fixed rear glass with an automatic extending wind deflector, adds another level of sophistication to the interior.

The front visibility in all models has dramatically improved from the previous generation with larger placements of fixed glass to minimise blind spots.

A longer deck achieves gains in the boot space by up to 16% with a cargo capacity offering of 514L in the RX 450h and 519L in the RX 350 with all seats in use.

The F Sport not only embodies its athletic reputation through the additions of aluminium and leather F Sport detailed interior, but it sounds it too. An air intake sound generator amplifies the engine noise into the cabin.

Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which features on the RX for the first time for F Sport models, helps keep the vehicle planted on the road. The driver can select Sport S or the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode, in addition to the Eco and Normal settings that are available across the range using the Drive Mode Select control located on the centre console.

On the F Sport, the Sport S and Sport S+ modes replace the Sport mode offered on the base and Limited models.

The RX 450h F Sport has an Active Stabiliser System –which minimises roll and ensures stability around bends– teamed with the highly responsive new Roll Skyhook Control which creates counter forces on uneven surfaces such as potholes or off-road terrain.

All RX models come with a siren alarm, engine immobiliser and intrusion sensor, leather-covered steering wheel with audio controls, leather gear lever, power tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column.

There is also rear privacy glass, smart card entry and starting, automatic rain sensing wipers, Automatic LED headlights, brake lights, front fog lights and signal lamps in the heated side mirrors, and dual zone climate control air conditioning.

Other standard features include dual chrome exhaust surrounds (RX 350 models only), extendable sun visors, 8-way power adjustable front seats with memory for the driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, rear seats with 40:60 split and one touch fold levers.

There is also a 12 speaker sound system with satellite navigation, front and rear sensors and reverse camera fitted as standard equipment.

The F Sport models feature a custom F Sport instrument cluster as well as a sports steering wheel featuring perforated leather, F Sport emblem and paddle shifters.

There are aluminium F Sport-specific pedals and interior trim, unique leather upholstery, vehicle dynamics integrated management, F Sport seats with rear seat heaters, Qi wireless phone charger, head up display instrumentation, subtle F Sport badging and the option of the Mark Levinson premium audio for an additional $3,000.

The Limited model features a wooden veneer for the heated steering wheel, centre console and dashboard ornamentation.

Front seat passengers enjoy 10-way power adjustable seats with memory and 4-way lumbar support while there are also rear seat heaters with power fold, head up display instrumentation, a Qi wireless phone charger and 15 speaker Mark Levinson premium audio.

Driving Impressions

We drove the RX 350 and RX 450h F Sport and Limited Models briefly from Auckland to the Coromandel and were impressed with the quiet on-road performance on offer from both power trains as well as the luxury and comfort offered by the cabins.

Despite the F Sport nomenclature, these cars are not out and out Sports cars, they are family-friendly SUV models, but offer a reasonable amount of safe and decent handling when pushed hard around the winding roads of the Coromandel.

With a price list running from $95,900 to $125,900 Lexus is not only aiming to recapture it’s current customer base, it is also out to conquest new buyers, particularly with the introduction of the RX 350 F Sport, which it hopes to attract from the three German luxury brands.

The proof of this strategy will be in the sales charts next year.

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