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 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.
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.
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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