The old basic V-6 is gone, replaced by a turbocharged four-cylinder that promises similar acceleration and improved fuel economy. There’s even new F Sport performance trim, while other powertrain options include both a Hybrid (available now) and a plug-in hybrid (on the way).
RX fans will be pleased to hear that some key features remain unchanged. The interior is still well appointed and luxurious, and if anything, it’s even better than before. Loyalists will also be delighted to hear the remnants of the calm and relaxing ride.
We recently sampled a few examples from the 2023 RX in various trims and found some notable improvements – but some other unwelcome changes. For an in-depth look at the 2023 Lexus RX, click the link above to read Joe Bruzek’s full review. For a quicker peek, read about five things we love about the 2023 Lexus RX and five things we don’t.
The things we love
1. Hybrid powertrain available
Since the V-6 is no longer available, the now available hybrid powertrain is the perfect fit in the engine lineup. By combining a 2.5-liter gas engine and an electric motor for a total of 246 horsepower, the hybrid feels more responsive than the base four-cylinder turbo engine — and it’s about the same speed. Even better is the estimated combined fuel economy improvement of 12 mpg compared to the base engine.
2. Inner quality
The old RX’s interior was nice enough, but some materials didn’t match the quality of others. With the redesigned model, the overall quality is more consistent, and everything you see and touch has an upscale feel. Beautiful details in the new cabin are available with suede door panel inserts, which create a unique look and are standard on the upper trims.
3. Improvement of the comment
The new platform helps make for a stiffer chassis, which combines with a more complex suspension system to give the RX better bump absorption and control without sacrificing compliant ride. Another advantage is the quieter cabin, with less highway noise than before.
The available adaptive adjustable suspension allows drivers to stabilize things a bit, but the RX still isn’t one of the sportiest in this class.
4. Goodbye touchpad
The standard 9.8-inch touchscreen and the available 14-inch touchscreen are a huge improvement over the old and dreaded touchpad interface, making for a much more user-friendly experience. Both screen options offer high resolution and vivid colors, and the frequently used climate and cabin controls are easy to see and use.
5. View below
Trick tech features include an under-vehicle camera that works with the central touchscreen to display an image of what’s underneath the RX. This feature was originally developed for off-road use, and can also be useful when parking in close quarters or in urban areas.
1. Missing V-6
We got the logic behind Lexus joining its rivals in using a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in place of the old V-6 to improve fuel economy. However, in this case, the key removes one of the RX’s nicer qualities, replacing the smooth, refined powertrain with a raspy-sounding 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Worse: inconsistent power delivery, with noticeable acceleration lag.
2. High cost to save fuel
Four new cylinders Do Fuel savings compared to the old V-6…but not all that much. A 2-mpg bump in combined fuel economy isn’t much to start with, but the new engine requires premium gas. With current fuel prices, this means that a new engine may cost buyers more at the pump.
3. Reduce head distance
The longer wheelbase is said to make the cabin more spacious, but that may depend on who you ask – and how the RX is equipped. The redesign reduces the overall height a bit; In addition to the available panoramic sunroof, which can intrude into the headspace of the rear passengers. Taller people in the back may find that they have to tilt the seat backs to avoid contact with the ceiling.
4. Switchable controls
New wrinkles that we’re not crazy about are the steering wheel controls that aren’t rated because they can be used for multiple functions if the car has an available head-up display. Instead, the current function is displayed on the HUD screen, which is not easy to see under certain conditions.
5. Monitor aggressive driver
The available Driver Monitoring system is designed to make sure drivers stay alert and sound an alarm if it detects behavior that could indicate a problem. It’s a good idea, but we found the one in the RX to be overly aggressive, beeping and beeping even when we were alert and attentive.