2014 RX 450h New Car Test Drive
The Lexus RX lineup of sport utility vehicles gets facelift for the 2013 model year and a sporty new RX F Sport joins the lineup. The new 2013 RX 350 F Sport features an 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters and a sport-tuned suspension for quicker handling response.
The 2013 Lexus RX models look boldly different than the 2012 models, thanks mainly to the new spindle grille that has become the Lexus marque's new styling signature. Light clusters, wheels, option packages, and interior details have been updated for the 2013 model year as well.
Lexus RX seats five.
The 2013 Lexus RX comes in RX 350, RX 350 AWD, RX 350 F Sport, RX 450h, and RX 450h AWD versions. The RX is a crossover SUV, with front-wheel drive standard.
All-wheel drive comes on the RX 350 F Sport, RX 350 AWD and RX 450h AWD, helping them cope with winter weather. The RX 350 uses a light-weight all-wheel-drive system that operates through an electronic coupling on the rear differential, eliminating the need for a center differential. The comes standard with all-wheel drive. The RX 450h AWD uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels so no mechanical connection between the axles is needed.
RX 350 models come with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic multi-mode transmission. The RX 350 beats the fuel economy ratings of the Acura MDX, Mercedes ML 350, and BMW X5 xDrive3.5i. The 2013 RX 350 is EPA-rated at 18/25 mpg City/Highway; the 2013 RX 350 AWD is rated 18/24 mpg; RX 350 F Sport is rated 18/26 mpg. Lexus says the RX 350 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds with front-wheel drive, 7.8 seconds with all-wheel drive, so there's little loss in performance with all-wheel drive.
The RX 450h hybrid gets better mileage yet, especially around town and in stop-and-go traffic. The RX Hybrid is very clean, achieving a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV II) certification in California, and a Tier 2-Bin 3 emissions rating in all other states; that's good, by the way. The 2013 RX 450h is EPA-rated at 32/28 mpg City/Highway; RX 450h AWD is rated 30/28 mpg. The 2013 RX 450h includes a new Sport mode that changes the steering effort, throttle mapping and transmission shifting. Acceleration performance is comparable to that of the gasoline-only versions. With its electric motor, the 2013 RX 450h AWD comes off the line more quickly than the RX 350 models do. Lexus claims 0-60 performance of 7.4 seconds for the 2013 RX Hybrid with all-wheel drive (7.8 seconds with front-wheel drive).
Overall, the Lexus RX models are comfortable and practical, easy to operate and ride more softly than other SUVs. Buyers who find the ride too soft may consider the RX F Sport model. The RX models are more fuel-efficient than many of their competitors. Drivers who need off-road capability would be better with a Lexus GX.
The 2013 Lexus RX 350 comes with front-wheel drive ($39,310) or all-wheel drive ($40,710). The RX 450h offers front-wheel drive ($45,910) or all-wheel drive ($47,310) and comes with a bit more standard equipment. Both come with fabric upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, AM/FM/6CD with nine speakers and a luxury level of standard equipment. 2013 RX models come standard with a power rear liftgate.
The optional Premium Package for the 2013 RX 350 ($2,260) consists of leather seats; three-position memory for the driver's seat, steering wheel, and mirrors; power glass sunroof; power-folding electrochromic outside mirrors; rear armrest storage with lid; and roof rails. The Luxury Package ($5,020) includes all the content of the Premium Package, plus power front seat cushion extenders, heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel, illuminated scuff plates, smog-sensing automatic interior air recirculation, headlamp washers, and 19-inch wheels with Superchrome finish. The Comfort Plus Package ($1,340) adds heated and ventilated front seats and rain-sensing wipers. The expanded Generation 7 HDD Navigation system ($2,775) includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone and automatic phonebook download capabilities, Lexus Enform 2.0 with Safety Connect including Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assist Button, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Destination Assist, eDestination and Enform App Suite; Lexus Insider; Remote Touch Navigation controller; HD Radio with iTunes tagging; advanced voice command casual-language voice recognition system; and SiriusXM radio with NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson Audio system ($995) is available. Another package ($4,920) bundles navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Similar packages are available for the RX 450h.
The RX 350 F Sport AWD ($47,000) features a sport-tuned suspension, 8-speed paddle-shift transmission, 19-inch Dark Graphite wheels fitted with 235/55R19 tires, and special exterior trim. Black leather seats are highlighted with white contrast stitching, pedals are perforated aluminum, and all features from the Comfort Plus and Premium packages come standard.
Other RX options include a Heads-Up Display ($1,200), Heated/Ventilated Front Seats ($640), 19-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels with All-Season Tires ($770), Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge Headlamps ($515), Blind Spot Monitor ($500), and Intuitive Park Assist ($500).
Safety equipment includes front airbags; front-seat mounted side airbags; roll-sensing front and rear side-curtain air bags; driver and front passenger knee airbags and side airbags; active headrests for front seats; force-limiting seatbelt pre-tensioners for driver and front passenger seats; three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners for all rear seating positions (3); direct-type tire pressure monitoring system; four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Brake Assist; enhanced VSC (Vehicle Stability Control). Optional safety features include Pre-collision System, a Blind Spot Monitor, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is now exclusive to the hybrid and the F Sport model. Like all Lexus vehicles, the 2013 Lexus RX comes with Smart Stop Technology, which automatically reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.