The top-tier 2023 Lexus RX 500h offers more tốc độ than any previous RX and all versions are redesigned this year, but the rest of the lineup remains a little slower than average. Lexus

The Lexus RX was the first one in and the last one out. It was the first hybrid luxury SUV in 2005 và 17 years later it’s the last vehicle in its class khổng lồ offer a hybrid option. Competitors have come và gone over the years, with many evolving into plug-in hybrids or fully electric vehicles. During that time, the RX has remained true to its mission of delivering efficient luxury & largely avoided other manufacturers’ performance wars.

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For 2023, the Lexus RX lineup gets a full redesign & this new fifth-generation mã sản phẩm sees big changes while maintaining its chip core personality.

There’s something admirable about being self-aware enough khổng lồ know where your strengths lie và capitalizing on them, but at the same time, it tends to narrow overall appeal. Nowadays, good enough isn’t good enough. We’ve been conditioned to lớn expect that luxury vehicles can’t just be comfortable, they have khổng lồ wow you with Nürburgring-tuned handling & hit 60 mph faster than DotCom-era supercars.

That’s not the 2023 Lexus RX. Lexus recognizes that not all drivers want or need gobs of power & acceleration that pins you to lớn the seat. Some people just want lớn cruise in quiet contentment. While that kind of honest assessment is appreciated, I contend that perhaps performance has been pushed too far back on the priorities list.

The 2023 RX’s design is clearly evolutionary relative khổng lồ previous versions, but it’s cleaner and more muscular looking than the angular outgoing version. Lexus

A Bronze Medal is Still Good, Right?

The new 2023 RX lineup is made up of the base RX 350, the RX 350h hybrid & the more powerful RX 500h hybrid. Lexus also plans lớn sell the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid in the U.S., but exactly when that will happen isn’t clear yet.

The RX 350 is now powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of last year’s V6. It makes 275 horsepower, đôi mươi hp less than its predecessor, but its 317 pound-feet of torque is a 50 lb-ft gain. That’s not enough to lớn noticeably improve acceleration, though, as Lexus estimates it will take 7.2 seconds lớn reach 60 mph with the all-wheel drive model (the front-drive version needs 7.5 seconds). These times are adequate, but far from impressive.

The RX 350h hybrid loses the turbocharger & adds a hybrid powertrain và a supplemental electric motor khổng lồ power the rear axle for all-wheel drive. Combined, they produce 246 hp và 233 lb-ft of torque và Lexus claims it’ll accelerate khổng lồ 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

You’d think that would also be as adequate as the non-hybrid RX 350, but it’s not. On most highway onramps, you’ll have to pin the pedal to the floor to confidently merge into the flow of traffic. Meanwhile, the engine moos lượt thích a recalcitrant cow as the continuously variable transmission (CVT) keeps the revs annoyingly high.

New lớn the lineup is the RX 500h, a more powerful variant that puts the turbo back on to increase output đầu ra to 366 hp & 406 lb-ft, enough khổng lồ propel it khổng lồ 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. That’s much more closer to the rest of the class và marginally faster than the Genesis GV80 2.5T or Mercedes-Benz GLE350, but those are the base models of those vehicles. Each offers options with much more power, as does the Acura MDX Type S.

The RX 500h’s rear electric motor is also different to lớn the one in the RX 350h và allows up khổng lồ 80 percent of power to lớn be biased back there where the 350h can only administer up to lớn a 50/50 split between front và rear axles.

Again, the RX isn’t about performance and not every vehicle has to be “fast,” but when everyone else is, you feel slow.

Lexus calls this màu sắc “Copper Crest,” and it makes the 2023 RX look drop-dead gorgeous, particularly coupled with the F Sport’s blackout trim. Lexus

Smooth Operator

When it comes lớn handling, I typically refer to an imaginary sliding scale with comfort on one end và performance on the other. The RX’s soft suspension tuning has it solidly on the comfort side of the spectrum. Potholes and bumps in the road are mostly shrugged off with barely any recognition. You’ll hear a muted thud but generally won’t feel much of an impact, & that’s one of the RX’s greatest strengths.

That softness does little for cornering confidence, though. Toàn thân roll is noticeable but not alarming. It certainly doesn’t encourage sporty driving in the way a BMW X5 does, and feels heavy và ponderous by comparison. On offset undulations, you’ll also feel some residual bouncing, but not enough lớn feel queasy. Softness also carries over to the brakes, which have a spongy pedal with lots of travel.

As the only traditional hybrid in the class, fuel economy is an important factor.

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The famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) “Spindle” grille offers a more harmonious shape than before, but it’s still likely to be controversial. Lexus

The front-wheel-drive RX 350 is estimated to lớn return 25 mpg in combined city & highway driving and 24 mpg with all-wheel drive. That’s an improvement of 1 mpg over last year’s V6. The RX 350h hybrid sees more significant gains và is estimated at 36 mpg combined, an improvement of 6 mpg from its predecessor và likely the most fuel-efficient midsize SUV on the market for 2023. (Not all the data is in yet). The RX 500h is rated at a very respectable 27 mpg combined.

By comparison, the entry-level BMW X5 40i is estimated at 23 mpg. Stepping up to lớn the X5 M50i reduces fuel economy to lớn 18 mpg. BMW does offer a plug-in hybrid, however, & it should deliver 31 miles of EV range & 20 mpg under hybrid propulsion. The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 and 450 are estimated at 22 mpg combined. The Acura MDX comes close at 22 mpg and 21 mpg for front- và all-wheel drive, respectively.

The dark finishes inside the RX are more convincingly high-end than light wood, but the interior is improved by leaps và bounds thanks to lớn the new infotainment system & its vast screens & more logical layout. Lexus

It’s Better Inside

The new RX’s interior also gets a full makeover with some notable improvements. The dash now features a large 9.8-inch standard touchscreen or a 14-inch upgrade. Thankfully, Lexus finally abandoned the previous generation’s trackpad controller which I consider the worst infotainment interface in the industry.

Most of the display is within reach of the driver và the large on-screen buttons are easy khổng lồ tap when driving. Lexus also points out that voice controls are improved, but these early pre-production vehicles had a tough time understanding my voice commands and responses were very slow.

Materials và build unique meet luxury SUV expectations, with a few exceptions. The dashboard is attractive & feels sturdy, but the center console can be a source of disappointment. The light-colored simulated woodgrain isn’t very convincing và reminds me of the plastic “wood” used on early-80s era TVs và VCRs. The darker trim choices are much more believable. Further back is a double-hinged armrest lid which can be accessed by the driver or front passenger with equal ease. The problem is that the hinge mechanism isn’t made to lớn tight tolerances và wobbles around.

On the plus side, the RX’s front seats are well-shaped for comfort. That’s good because there don’t seem khổng lồ be any available mas sa functions. The rear seats are notable for the amount of thigh tư vấn they provide. The seat cushions are taller lớn more evenly distribute passenger weight & there is also plenty of foot & legroom. That elevated cushion limits headroom a bit, but occupants under 6-feet tall should have plenty of space.

Behind those 60/40 split-folding seats is 29.6 cubic-feet of cargo space, a huge improvement over last generation’s 16 cubes and only a little less than the BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE, but off the pace compared to lớn most others.

The Acura MDX only has 18.1 cubic-feet with all the seats in place, but it has three rows. With third row down it offers 39.1 cubic-feet & opens up lớn 95 overall, more than double the RX’s 46.2 cubic-foot maximum. The RX’s liftover height is rather tall too, requiring more effort to lớn load heavier & bulkier objects.

The new RX gets 29.6 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is a big increase over the old model and plenty for a family of four, but it’s still short of many midsize rivals, particularly three-row machines. Lexus

You Could bởi Better

I expected more from the redesigned 2023 Lexus RX and so should you. It earns points for fuel economy figures and overall comfort, but it falls well short of the mark mix by other luxury SUVs in terms of performance và interior quality. The RX 350h is dreadfully underpowered while the RX 350 và RX 500h are merely average.

I also experienced frequent false alarms from the driver attention warning system and had to lớn hunt through the touchscreen menus to lớn disable that function, which is perhaps the worst indictment for safety-related features. The lane-keep assist was also poor at keeping the RX centered. With any luck, these problems could be addressed before the RX goes on sale at the kết thúc of 2022.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but if it’s similar to the previous generation, the RX would be a relative bargain compared khổng lồ the pricey BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. As an alternative, consider upgrading khổng lồ plug-in hybrids such as the Volvo XC60 and XC90 or step up lớn the growing menu of luxury and non-luxury electric SUVs.

Lexus provided lodging, meals and travel lớn enable us lớn bring you this first-person report. Although Wheels sometimes participates in manufacturer-hosted events, our coverage is independent, unbiased & aimed at offering consumers an objective view of every vehicle we test.