2017 RX 450h New Car Test Drive
Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Lexus RX crossover adopts a more focused, fashion-conscious appearance. More curvaceous than before, this all-new fourth-generation RX is comfortable and refined, yet presents a more edgy tone.
The all-new 2016 Lexus RX delivers greater interior space, as well as a bolder, more lavish look than its jellybean-profiled predecessor. More driver-focused than before, the 2016 RX provides the quietness and comfort expected by owners of luxury crossovers.
The 2016 Lexus RX is the brand's most adventurous design for a crossover model. Nearly five inches longer overall, the 2016 RX rides a wheelbase that's gained almost two inches. Height and width have changed little. Long the brand's most popular model, the midsize premium crossover is a five-passenger SUV with just two rows of seats.
Two versions are available: The 2016 RX 350 is powered by a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6; the 2016 RX 450h has a hybrid gas-electric powertrain making 308 horsepower. Performance-oriented F Sport variants with all-wheel drive are offered for both models. All RX models use an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.
Up front is a particularly dramatic version of Lexus's spindle grille, flanked by triple-L headlights and LED foglamps, accompanied by LED daytime running lights. The floating roof design tapers near the back, above swooping, flared back fenders. More than most recent designs, this one fiddles with sheetmetal surfaces. Many observers herald the bold approach; others restrain their applause.
Suspensions are tuned to provide better responsiveness, without loss of ride comfort. The newly available Adaptive Variable Suspension (standard on F Sport) adapts both damper firmness and steering behavior. F Sport models get a Sport S+ mode with more aggressive settings.
Inside, the front compartment has been rearranged for an airier feel. The shifter has moved away from the instrument panel, which features a streamlined sequence of controls. An available 12.3-inch infotainment screen with full-size map may sit above the center stack. A new, bigger, more colorful head-up display is optional. Power folding is available for the 40/20/40 split rear seat.
A new rear-seat entertainment system is available, with 11.6-inch screens. The optional panoramic moonroof sits above front and rear passengers.
Gas-engine RX 350 and gasoline/electric RX 450h models are offered, with front-drive or all-wheel drive. F Sport variants have all-wheel drive.
Lexus RX 350 ($41,900) comes with leather upholstery, rearview camera, nine-speaker audio, eight-inch screen, HD radio, satellite radio, CD player, Bluetooth, 18-inch aluminum wheels. All-wheel drive adds $1,400.
RX 350 F Sport ($49,125) has all-wheel drive and features an Adaptive Variable Suspension, dark-mesh grille, more aggressive lower spoiler, heated/ventilated leather-trimmed F Sport seats, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, F Sport gauges, and dark-metallic 20-inch alloy wheels.
Lexus RX 450h ($52,235) is equipped similarly to RX 350, adding a moonroof, navigation, blind-spot monitor, and 12-speaker audio. RX 450h F Sport ($57,045) is equipped similarly to the RX 350 F Sport.
Ten airbags are standard, including driver's knee airbag and anti-submarining airbag for front passenger. Active-safety features are optional.