|2016 RX 450h. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus unveiled the new fourth-generation Lexus RX at the 2015 New York Auto Show. The RX is the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history, with global sales of more than 2.1 million units—three out of ten vehicles ever sold by Lexus. Since 2005, the RX has maintained about 25% of the sales of the mid-size luxury crossover market, said Jeff Bracken, Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division. The new RX lineup—the RX 350 and the RX450h hybrid—feature safety technologies that include the Lexus Safety System+ (earlier post).
Under the RX 350’s hood is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V6 aiming to deliver 300 hp (224 kW) 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 also results in around 300 hp. All RX engines have been tuned in anticipation of high fuel economy ratings and low carbon emissions.
|2016 RX 450h Click to enlarge.|
Enhanced handling and straight-line stability. 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.
In the US, 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.
Lexus Safety System+. 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).
RX F Sport. 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. For the first time, the RX hybrid has the F Sport option.
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, a custom F Sport instrument cluster with a TFT Multi Information Display (MID) as well as a sport steering wheel, features 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 which helps keep the vehicle’s body flat through corners. 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.