2016 Lexus RX Australian launch review filed by Joel Helmes.
Lexus has launched the 4th generation of its popular Lexus RX SUV in Australia.
Larger than the previous generation models with a wheelbase 50mm longer than the outgoing model and offering 26mm in increased rear seat legroom, the 2016 Lexus RX range welcomes the versatile Lexus/Toyota 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder engine, as found in other models such as the IS and NX.
The new engine, found in what is called the RX 200t, offers 175kW/350Nm with front wheel drive and a CVT transmission as standard.
Lexus also offer an improved, more fuel efficient and more powerful, 221kW/370Nm V6 petrol engine in the RX 350, while the RX 450h features the same V6 power plant mated to a hybrid drive system, the end result is a 230kW output. Both the RX 350 and 450h are all-wheel drive.
While to help the RX continue to find large numbers of Australian buyers in the cut-throat mid-size SUV market, Lexus has loaded the model range with a stack of standard features, including:
- Reverse camera
- 20” alloys (all model grades)
- LED Headlights
- 12 Speaker stereo
- Push-button ignition
- 8” colour infotainment display
- Auto park brake
- Wireless phone charger
- Electric tailgate
- Heated and ventilated front seats.
Priced from $73,000, Lexus Australia boss, Sean Hanley, told the gathered media at the 2016 Lexus RX Australian launch that the new model is the right vehicle at the right time for the brand.
“The RX is a very important model for Lexus in Australia and we feel that the engineers have really improved on what was already a great product.
“Not only is the new model more efficient across all three engine choices, it also drives better, has a roomier cabin and I know we can’t be beaten on value.”
2016 Lexus RX On The Road Review:
We got to test drive the new 2016 Lexus RX on a drive from inner-Sydney to the southern extremities at Bundeena, around an hour and a half total drive time each way.
I was initially a passenger in the new Lexus SUV and felt that the ride was quite reasonable and the cabin quiet enough. Investigating the cabin, I noticed that I couldn’t quite open the glovebox completely when in the passengers seat as my legs got in the way.
The seats, quite comfortable, though I thought the bases were perhaps a touch short for taller passengers/drivers.
On the drive back I got to pilot a Lexus RX 350 and for those who know the Royal National Park and surrounds in Southern Sydney, you will know that there are some excellent and quite challenging bends.
This is where I was most impressed by the new Lexus. In the earlier presentation Lexus engineers stressed that the new model has a much stiffer body shell and I could really feel this in the bends. Coupled with newly reworked suspension, the RX really handles better than you might expect from a mid-size luxury SUV.
The 2016 Lexus RX steering, excellent!
The V6 engine gets the RX moving along alright, though I couldn’t help but think, especially given the near 13.0L/100km that I averaged on my leg of the journey, that the spritely 175kW four-cylinder engine would be well worth a test drive.
As observed from the passenger’s seat, the suspension does a great job, the 55 Series tyres (which are standard on all RX grades), don’t do a great job of helping you get over cracks and bumps without their presence being felt.
Lexus also made a point of mentioning that the new model has slimmer A Pillars than previous generation models and this was quite obvious, visibility from the driver’s seat is very good.
An impressive turning circle was also a welcome feature in the Lexus mid-size SUV.
Speaking of features, Lexus has given all RX models a powered tailgate, with this one though you can open the rear lift-back by simply hovering your hand over the rear Lexus badge. Another good feature on this new system is that you can lock all the car doors from the tailgate control button found on the bottom of the door.
Very good legroom front and back, reasonable enough cargo area (though the slopping tail-gate costs space) and plenty of well-placed, and even one secret storage spot (somewhere in the centre console), are just some of the highlights.
I am also glad to report that the somewhat frustrating mouse pad control system for the infotainment system, as found in the smaller Lexus NX, does not feature in the new Lexus model. Instead, there is a more conventional toggle switch system and this is a welcome inclusion.
On the trip back from Bundeena I also got a chance to play with Lexus Lane Control Assist system, easy to use and very helpful, especially on longer trips, well done Lexus.
Summing it up: I have at times been disappointed with Lexus products, not so with the new RX. The looks will divide opinion, but the standard features and on-road manners should help Lexus continue to find many thousands of Australian buyers.
We look forward to a more intensive test drive of the new Lexus RX range in the not too distant future.
The new 2016 Lexus RX range is now arriving in Australian Lexus dealerships.