At the New York Auto Show, Toyota’s silk purse brand unveiled their completely redesigned 2016 Lexus RX350 & RX450h luxury crossover SUV, a model that defined the segment nearly 20 years ago.
The RX350 and RX450h Hybrid get bold new styling overtures that bring it deftly inline with their latest design DNA, right down the the sharply angled headlamps available in LED and deep mouth grilles that vary from mild to wild depending on the model.
The rear end gets equally severe LED tail lights and a more planted stance. And from the side, the roofline takes on a floating form with a side glass silhouette extending through the C-Pillar in a way that does look a bit pasted on. But, there are functional windows there.
The F Sport trim grade has the most aggressive style with the big-mouth mesh grille and sharply angled lower fascia inlets and driving lamps. 20-inch wheels now come along with the package, up from the current 19-inch size.
While the 2016 RX is largely built upon an update of the current platform and chassis, it gets stretched about 2-inches wheelbase and nearly 5-inches in overall length. This contributes to its lower slung and less blocky appearance overall.
Inside is where Lexus moved the ball forward quite a bit. The interior is of course all new and handsome in its forms, a bit less angular than the last couple new Lexus products. Here you will find more rounded forms, a new steering wheel design, and even more detail in the material trims.
Finely crafted Yamaha trim elements can be optioned as well as a new 12.3” wide display screen for infotainment, navigation, audio and other vehicle details. Best of all, the long loved infotainment console puck remains, and not the new touchpad found in the IS and NX.
New for 2016 is Lexus Safety System + which is a all-encompassing suite of driver assistance, crash avoidance, and alert features that have been available in the past. But now they all come together in a single affordable option package.
These include lane departure warning and keeping, forward collision alerts and auto braking, blind spot warning, a rear panoramic view monitor and several other features that previously came spread across various separate packages.
Under the hood for 2016 is a uptuned version of the 3.5 liter V6 which offers 300 horsepower, up from 270 in the 2015 model. An eight speed-transmission comes here now and the powertrain is expected to offer equal or better fuel economy to the current model.
If fuel economy is your hot-button, the RX450h Hybrid will continue to be available now with 300 system horsepower, taking advantage of some of the engine refinements given to its Atkinson Cycle 3.5 liter V6.
Suspension is largely carried over from the 2015 models however a new Adaptive Variable Suspension will be available which automatically and continously adjusts dampers depending on driving conditions.
On F Sport models, tuning the drive mode knob to Sport+ stiffens the dampers up extra tight and also comes with standard active anti-roll bars for extra flat cornering.
As before, both RX models will be available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive. The F Sport package is only available with all-wheel drive, but this year will for the first time be also available on the RX450h Hybrid.
The new 2016 Lexus RX350 and RX450h Hybrid will start production late this year. Pricing and fuel-economy figures will be announced closer to that time.