The striking new Lexus RX scales greater heights with F-Sport model

<i>Image: Cornel van Heerden</i>
<i>Image: Cornel van Heerden</i>
Cornel van Heerden

Premium, modern and exquisite are just some of the words used to describe the latest iteration of the Lexus RX.

Now in its fourth generation, the RX has a proud history of innovation, not least in being the first vehicle in the luxury segment to offer the choice of a self-charging hybrid powertrain - the RX 400h back in 2005.

Under-the-skin refinements

With a revised chassis, better handling and filled with cutting-edge technology, the newcomer flies the flag high. All models come standard with 20-inch wheels and an electrically-operated sunroof.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post attended the launch, look out for her driving impressions early next week.

WATCH | New Lexus RX makes its world debut

Sharper headlight design, a three-dimensional 'L' shape grille and re-sculpted front bumper bring forth the exterior. All models in the range boast an LED adaptive high-beam system, AHS with BladeScan technology, a ground-breaking world-first. It uses the reflection of light off the mirror to increase high-beam brightness and expand its reach down the road.

Lexus RX

                                                                 Image: Cornel van Heerden

Buyers can choose between Sonic Titanium, White Quartz, Graphite Black, Morello Red, Amber, Opulent Blue and Black body paint There are also two new shades to the range - Ice Ecru and Terrane Khaki.

The 'cherry on top' version, the  F Sport, comes with exclusive Heat Blue Contrast and White Nova colour schemes.

Interior delicacy

Interface is taken care of by a 12.3-inch central display featuring touchscreen functionality. Multimedia functions can be operated using a new trackpad version of Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface or via voice control, replacing the old button-activated system.

Connectivity can be done via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Voice control is enabled via Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant if using an Android device. This is complemented by an additional four USB ports.

Customers can take things up to the next level with the RX 350 F Sport. It boasts polished black 20-inch wheels and sport seats, a black headliner, a perforated leather–trimmed sport steering wheel and shift knob, plus aluminium pedals. The LFA-inspired digital gauge cluster provides real-time information such as G-force metrics and power distribution.

The MyLexus feature gives access to connected services via a dedicated app, while also boasting an on-board WiFi hotspot with an initial complimentary 15GB data plan.

An ambient lighting package, wireless charger, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system (available in F Sport & Hybrid trim) and Head-Up Display bring the interior features full circle. In terms of colour and trim options, there’s Black, Ivory and Noble Brown. Newly-added colours include Ochre as well as Rich Cream that’s exclusive to the hybrid SE model. The F Sport is available in two colour trims; Black and Flare Red.

Performance and safety

There are two engine options. A 3.5-litre V6 engine is responsible for the power producing 221kW and 370Nm or 216kW and 358Nm. It is mated to a quick-shifting eight-speed transmission for optimal performance. The RX450h uses the 3.5-litre, V6 engine paired with powerful electric motors for a combined 230kW.

lexus rx

                                                                    Image: Cornel van Heerden

It is equipped with the most sophisticated safety features as well. In addition to the 10 airbags, it comes with Active Cornering Assist, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. A pre-collision safety system and autonomous emergency braking, is now standard for F Sport and Hybrid models.

The entire RX range boasts a Lexus best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. The warranty on the hybrid battery is 8 years/195 000km.

Trim levels and pricing

Compiled by: Robin Classen

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