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New 2022 Lexus RX plug-in hybrid flagship SUV unveiled

The hybrid-only SUV features the latest infotainment setup from the NX and RZ, and plug-in power for the first time

Lexus RX 450h+

Lexus is overhauling its SUV line-up, following the introduction of an all-new NX in 2021, and the fully electric RZ earlier this year. Now, the Japanese brand has revealed the latest version of its range topping model: the RX.

The new Mercedes GLE and BMW X5 rival uses the same GA-K platform that underpins the smaller Lexus NX. As a result, the new RX’s wheelbase is 60mm longer than the previous generation – despite being the exact same length of 4,890mm. The new model is also 25mm wider and 10mm lower, with a redesigned version of the brand’s signature spindle grille up front, and a full-width LED light bar at the rear.

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But, while the RX’s styling has been subtly updated, the full-size SUV’s cabin has a completely new look. More specifically, it’s been designed around the same principle used in the BMW X3-rivalling NX, which Lexus refers to as the ‘Tazuna’ cockpit. A 14-inch touchscreen is standard on all models, featuring physical controls for key functions like the climate controls. 

You also get a large digital driver’s display, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Built-in navigation features live traffic data and over-the-air update capability. There’s also a ‘Hey Lexus’ virtual assistant, 64-colour ambient lighting, plus the option of vegan-friendly upholstery. The RX is still a five-seater, but we’ve yet to hear if the seven-seater RX L will make a return to Lexus’ line-up. Boot space figures for the RX range have also yet to be confirmed. Either way, the redesigned seats, the extra wheelbase and improved packaging of the GA-K platform should improve cabin space over the previous RX.

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Things under the bonnet have also been upgraded. For starters, the Lexus’ flagship SUV is being offered for the first time with plug-in hybrid power. The plug-in RX 450h+ features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with an electric motor that drives the rear axle, and is fed by a 18.1kWh battery located under the floor. Combined, the RX 450h+ produces 302bhp and 572Nm; enough for 0-62mph in seven seconds. 

CO2 emissions stand at 24g/km, while Lexus claims the plug-in RX can return up to 257mpg. The Japanese brand also predicts the car will be capable of up to 40 miles of zero-emissions driving, with a top speed of 84mph in electric driving mode. 

The other two models in the RX line-up are the full-hybrids. The entry-level 350h uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, plus a compact battery and electric motor. This version produces 242bhp and 335Nm of torque, with 0-62mph in this front-wheel drive SUV taking eight seconds. Claimed fuel economy for the 350h is 42mpg, emitting 143g/km CO2. 

The top-of-the-range RX 500h uses a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Thanks to the addition of a 107bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle, the sporty hybrid SUV’s combined output stands at 366bhp and 645Nm, while 0-62mph takes just 5.9 seconds. Unsurprisingly, this is the thirstiest RX, claiming 34.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 189g/km. 

Order books for the new Lexus RX are now open, however, prices have yet to be revealed. We expect the RX 350h will have a similar price to the current model, which starts at £56,000, while the plug-in 450h+ is likely to start from closer to £70,000. First UK deliveries aren’t anticipated until early 2023.

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Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

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