Lexus has gained an unfortunate image of being the old man luxury car brand. It’s a place no automaker really wants to be, even if it’s making a lot of money, because appealing to geriatrics means that the customer base will start dying off.
One of the stalwart old-person models in the Lexus lineup has been the RX. That image is now gone with the reveal of the 2016 model. Now it has a sneering face and so many angular shapes slapped on its body that it could easily be mistaken for a set piece on the next Tron movie.
You could say the new Lexus RX looks sportier, but that’s probably a matter of opinion. The design is definitely polarizing; some people are going to love it, others will hate it. But Lexus and Toyota are riding high as they’re building a worldwide empire that’s head and shoulders above pretty much all other automakers. That kind of success means taking risks like this one is a luxury the company can afford.
Cars are like people: beauty isn’t only skin-deep. Under the RX’s creased sheet metal are a number of improvements. For the interior, buyers will be able to add laser-cut ornaments made by Yamaha, as well as a color heads-up display that projects onto the windshield. They will also be able to option for a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. There’s also more rear legroom than before and power-folding backseats.
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 packs a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which should put out about 300 horsepower. It works with an eight-speed automatic transmission. As for the RX 450h, it uses an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 that’s based on the other engine, plus an electric motor generator. The combined system output, oddly enough, is supposed to be about 300 horsepower. Lexus says it expects excellent fuel economy ratings for both models, but hasn’t released its own estimates.
You’ll be able to get either model in an F Sport version, which essentially adds some sportier visual tweaks, plus an active stabilizer system that keeps your Starbucks from spilling as you whip through turns.