Friday, November 6, 2015

New Lexus RX (L20/L25)

2016 Lexus RX

Lexus' luxury crossover, the RX, is now on its fourth-generation (in world market terms anyway) and for its regeneration, the new RX wants to upset the opposition with its radical new design inside out as well as its new tech features suitable for a luxury SUV fit for those who want to mix business with pleasure. Performance-wise, it's not what you called wise, but anyway, let's dig first on what the new RX looks like.

2016 Lexus RX interior

In the eyes of an observer, the new RX's design looks more of a departure from the predecessors' designs which dates back to the first-generation Toyota Harrier, the SUV that was sold to the world market as the Lexus RX until now. Take note that today's Toyota Harrier shares nothing in common with this new Lexus RX, in case any one of you spill the beans. Anyway, in Toyota's eyes, the new design promises to be a more radical approach to today's crossovers, but in my opinion, that design is far too many. One thing that will scare most of us is the incredibly horrid LED sequential turn lamps which behaves like today's Ford Mustang do. Those sequential turn lamps are too scary and if you see one approaching, better not to look at it because it will be like seeing a man with his full moon.

Get inside and everything's well-organized like a well-organized desk, well sorta. On the driver's side, you feel busy because you have all the buttons at your disposal and while on the wheel, feels like you have little time to fiddle with the audio and sat-nav unless if you're at a set of lights, similar to a game of yacht with your pals. On the back, that's where the delightful part comes in because there's an available rear seat entertainment system where no one can argue which movie they want to watch while stuck at traffic. The boot space wasn't so bad even though the new RX has a sloping roofline that resembles a coupe-like silhouette.

2016 Lexus RX

Now, onto the performance side and for the new RX, there has been a shift in the lineup because the previous model's RX270 and the RX350 are removed for this generation and in return, the only petrol engine available for the new model is the 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine sourced from its little brother, the NX. The 8AR-FTS engine develops a power output of 238PS, 350Nm of torque output, and when mated with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, fuel economy is expected at 11.8km/L. Doesn't sound much but it has enough gusto to squeeze in.

Of course, the hybrid variant, the RX450h, is carried over from the previous model. Of course, it still has the same 2GR-FXE petrol engine but the new model featured new electric motors featuring a 123kW 6JM motor on the front, and for 4WD variants, a 50kW 2FM motor on the back. Combined, the maximum system power output is 313PS, 13PS more than the previous model and fuel consumption has been improved to 18.8km/L based on JC08 Mode standards. That sounds like a lot but like all good Japanese-made hybrids, it's stuck with the CVT gearbox so don't get too excited here. This is still like a polar bear asking what he wants with the other relatives, probably a grizzly bear and a panda bear of some sorts.

In F-Sport variants, the ride and handling has been improved slightly thanks to the addition of NAVI AI-AVS (Adaptive Variable Steering) as well as improved suspension setup for better dynamics. Yes, it maybe a sport utility vehicle but it handles like a luxury saloon. May not be as good as any European luxury crossovers but the new RX tries to keep its character running in a way a barista gets jolted with electricity.

2016 Lexus RX

For the new RX, it has learned two things straight from its bigger brother, the LX, and the recently facelifted Toyota Crown; first is the Lexus Safety System +, which features a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection Function, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, and Radar Cruise Control. Second is the ITS Connect and it uses Japan's ITS frequency to receive and share data between external infrastructure and other cars via vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (Right-turn Collision Caution, Red Light Caution, Signal Change Advisory) and vehicle-to-vehicle communication (Communicating Radar Cruise Control, Emergency Vehicle Notification).

The new RX starts from 4,950,000 to 7,425,000 Yen, which is utterly expensive for a Japanese crossover of that magnitude but when compared to its rivals like the Audi Q5 or the BMW X3, that is where the smart value for money kicked in. So what's to like about it? Its value, tech, interior, and the improved dynamics fit for a luxury car. What I don't like is its hybrid variant not too enthusiastic for the driver, turbocharging too mellow, the loss of the 3.5L V6 variant, and overall...get those stupid LED sequential turn lamps off my face.

Available colors: White Nova Glass Flake, Sonic Quartz, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sonic Titanium, Graphite Black Glass Flake, Black, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Amber Crystal Shine, Sleek Ecru Metallic, and Deep Blue Mica.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

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