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2016 Lexus RX Redefines Segment With Style, Ride Comfort And Luxury Utility

On Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Since the model’s launch in 1998, the Lexus RX has proved immensely popular with those needing the flexibility of a sport-utility vehicle combined with the driving comfort of a luxury sedan, all wrapped in an attractive, elegant package. The all-new RX’s mix of sharp creases and curves represents a bold evolution in the model’s styling, sharing the same design DNA with other recently-launched models in the Lexus lineup. Moreover, this perennial best-selling luxury crossover features hybrid and gasoline powertrains, sophisticated safety features, driver aids and welcome new convenience and technology features to make this one of the best Lexus luxury utility vehicles offering to date.

2016 Lexus RX

Exterior and Interior Design

The front view of the new RX is characterized by an emboldened version of the Lexus brand’s signature spindle grille, featuring a chrome-plated border and triple L-shape-LED headlamps. The available L-shaped LED headlight is accompanied by 18 individual LEDs that surround the headlights and act as turn signal indicators. A compact Bi-LED headlight is standard. Also, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) is available as part of available Lexus Safety System +. Intelligent High Beam helps ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving and automatically turns off the high beam headlamps when another vehicle is detected. When no other vehicle is present, the system turns on the high beams.

The spindle design theme of the front of the RX also defines its rear design, providing a high level of aesthetic balance and consistency to the vehicle’s overall demeanor. The LED rear combination L-shaped taillights envelope the tailgate while wrapping forward around the rear fender sections, resulting in a powerful and wide stance. Of particular note are the blacked-out C-pillars, which provide a floating-roof effect never before seen on a Lexus product. Other new exterior features are flush-fitting headlight washers, panoramic moonroof design, solid roof rails, redesigned SmartAccess door handles and convenient door handle illumination. Also, three new exterior colors have been added: Caviar, Autumn Shimmer and Nightfall Mica. All RX models feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat in the body paint, which uses a high-performance macromolecular polymer. The high elasticity of the material helps resist scratches, such as from fingernail marks around the door handles. The paint also possesses a high level of gloss retention to help enhance the initial gloss and color of the paint over a long period of time.

A choice of three distinct 20-inch wheels are now available with the RX.

Like the exterior, the interior of the new RX reflects an impeccable balance of functionality and opulence. Like virtually everything else on this exceptionally well-crafted and thoughtful redesign of the RX, there have been a number of enhancements to the interior trim. Available interior trims include Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim or Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum, emphasizing the RX’s peerless new design theme. For the Striated Black Trim, a glossy black is used for the base, and a three-dimensional embossed pattern is then applied to create a high-quality film design with a sense of depth.

With an interior space optimized for five passengers, the new RX’s lowered rear floor section helps provide seating position comparable to that of the rear-seat passengers in the flagship Lexus LS luxury sedan. The new RX features enhanced rear cargo space—larger than competing crossovers within the segment—with room enough to fit large items including up to four large suitcases or multiple golf bags. New for this model year is the available Touch-Free Power Rear Door, a Lexus first, which allows users to open the rear hatch by placing a hand near the Lexus emblem.

Lexus designers and engineers have given a great deal of consideration to the layout of the redesigned center console of the RX, which has led to enhancements in the usability of the switches and the accessibility of cup holders and storage areas. Based upon the concept of Lexus’ Human Machine Interface (HMI), an available Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel helps the driver to concentrate on the road ahead. The redesigned instrument cluster offers the driver instantaneous information with a quick glance at its large and easy-to-read gauge faces.

Powertrains and Drivelines

Adding to the versatility and capability of the all-new Lexus RX are several choices of powertrains:

  • RX 350: a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 gasoline engine (2GR-FKS) mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • RX 450h hybrid: a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 gasoline engine (2GR-FXS) and revised hybrid powertrain componentry.

3.5-liter Direct-Injected V6 Gasoline Engine

The available 3.5-liter direct-injection gasoline-powered V6 engine (2GR-FKS) brings impressive performance, fuel efficiency and reduced emissions while delivering prodigious power with smooth and highly refined operating characteristics in normal everyday operation. Power is rated at 295 hp at 6,300 rpm with 267 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm.

To enhance breathing and fuel efficiency, RX 350 uses an all-new cylinder head design with reshaped intake ports and combustion chambers for added efficiency in the engine’s combustion process, a D-4S fuel injection system that enables direct injection to the cylinders with high fuel pressure, and a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, whose close gear ratios have been tuned to provide excellent punch off the line and robust passing power while maintaining excellent fuel economy.

To maximize torque throughout the rev range, Variable Valve Timing with intelligence Wide (VVT-iW) has been included on the intake side, while the exhaust side features VVT-i. The inclusion of VVT-iW has enabled the adoption of the Atkinson cycle to further benefit fuel economy, without sacrificing engine start-up in extremely cold conditions and during Wide Open Throttle (WOT) driving.

The V6’s excellent power is delivered through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, whose close gear ratios have been tuned to provide excellent punch off the line and robust passing power while maintaining excellent fuel economy.

3.5-liter Direct-Injected V6 Hybrid Engine and Lexus Hybrid Drive

A paragon of efficiency with plentiful power when needed, the completely reengineered 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 hybrid engine (2GR-FXS) is an evolution of the base six-cylinder drivetrain, now producing a combined system output of 308 hp at 6,000 rpm with 247 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm.
The RX 450h also features newly shaped intake ports and combustion chambers that generate a high degree of tumble inside the cylinders and improve combustion.

The hybrid-powered drivetrain in the all-new Lexus RX is the latest, most advanced iteration of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Its key components and control systems have been enhanced and reengineered to deliver impressive fuel economy, low emissions and excellent on-road performance that will satisfy the most demanding driving enthusiast.

The transmission includes a hybrid front transaxle with new features including a transmission oil cooler for motor cooling, a pre-loaded differential for performance and enhanced control. The rear transaxle (for models equipped with AWD), which combines an electric motor with a reduction drive, features a new three-shaft configuration and aluminum case and cover to reduce weight. Thanks to these upgrades, the Lexus Hybrid Drive system achieves excellent driving performance, quietness and fuel economy.

Among other updates to the hybrid system are a design evolution of the Power Control Unit (PCU) and HV Engine Control Unit (ECU) that delivers enhanced energy efficiency; driver-friendly operation and refined performance; implementation of a lighter, efficient hybrid system coolant electric water pump; and packaging changes to the hybrid battery that result in a more compact design to save space. Also, the control functions of the E-Four rear drive electric motor (AWD models) have been enhanced for better response when accelerating during turns.

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