The Lexus RX has long been the standout vehicle for Toyota's luxury brand. One of the first midsize luxury SUVs when it debuted in 1999, the-then RX 300 continues to provide a genuinely luxurious experience because it's always been car-based. While it forgoes much off-road ability, it pioneered a widely replicated format.
2023 - Present Lexus RX 350 (5th Generation)
2023 marks a completely new generation of this crossover SUV. This new RX model features updated styling, high-end features to compete with other automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and an all-new plug-in hybrid model for this classic sport utility vehicle.
The new RX comes in six different trim levels: RX350, RX350 F Sport, RX350h, RX350h F Sport, RX450h+, and RX500h F Sport Performance. There are four different powertrains available with this new sporty generation. The base engine is a turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder putting out 275 horsepower. The hybrid version has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine that works in conjunction with two electric motors to put out 246 horsepower running through a continuously variable automatic transmission for better fuel economy. The F Sport Performance features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that is turbocharged and has electric motors, and puts out 367 horsepower. The plug-in hybrid model has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine putting out 302 horsepower. The all-gas powertrains are available in either FWD or AWD, while the hybrid versions come with standard AWD.
The new Lexus RX comes exclusively as a two-row, five-passenger SUV with the possibility of a three-row version later on in 2023. The interior design has been revamped to be more modern with less clutter, and the F Sport Performance version features black interior trim, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, and aluminum pedals.
The tech on the new RX includes a 9.8-inch infotainment touchscreen that can be upgraded to 14 inches with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Optional features include a head-up display, built-in navigation, and a Mark Levinson stereo. This new RX also comes with the Lexus Safety System suite, which includes things like airbags, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, lane-departure warning, and automated emergency braking.
2016 - 2022 Lexus RX 350 (4th Generation)
For 2016, the Lexus RX received a full facelift redesign and launched into its fourth generation with a bold new look. The exterior styling of this generation RX was aggressive in a fashionable and modern manner, with a large spindle grille and new taillights being the standout features. Longer than its predecessors, the 2016 RX 350 increases interior space for passengers while lowering driver height to provide a sportier position than the more minivan-like predecessor. But with these changes, cargo space took a hit, with only 56 cubic feet available when the rear seats were folded down. Interior materials received an upgrade for an even more premium feel.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine gets another boost to 295 horsepower, with all models mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Lexus Enform Safety Connect was also added as a standard safety feature that included automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button, and a stolen vehicle locator. A change in the infotainment controller to a trackpad drew criticism from some, but the whole system was vastly improved from the previous model.
Lexus added more standard safety features for 2017, including lane departure warning and intervention and forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic emergency braking. The 2018 model year did away with cloth upholstery in favor of simulated leather upholstery and came standard with a nine-speaker audio system.
Third-row seats finally came for 2019 with the more extended RX L models, putting Lexus' luxury SUV entry more in line with ever-popular. The small third row allowed the RX to carry up to seven passengers for the first time, albeit with small children in the rearmost positions.
For the 2020 model year, the all-new RX 350 received another round of styling revisions, updating the front and rear ends and a retuned suspension that provided more responsive handling. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also became available on all Lexus models, including the 2020 Lexus RX, as they updated the touchscreen infotainment system again.
This luxury crossover also came with the same 3.5-liter V6 powertrain from the previous generation. If you wanted to go with the higher-end RX 450h, this came with that same V6 plus two electric motors for better fuel efficiency, fewer emissions, and higher MPG for both city and highway.
In 2021, Lexus introduced the Black Line Special Edition for the RX 350 F sport, which included 20-inch wheels and blue stitching for the interior. The 2022 model year only saw slight changes in the form of three newly available colors: Cloudburst Gray, Iridium, and Grecian Water.
2010 – 2015 Lexus RX 350 (3rd Generation)
A sleeker, more modern body style defined the third generation of the RX, now known as the RX 350. This model added 25 horsepower to reach an overall power output of 275 horsepower and is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. New additions to the standard package included the safety feature of brake assist and features such as keyless entry and ignition and Bluetooth connectivity. The model was mostly unchanged for two years.
But for 2013, Lexus gave the RX 350 a round of styling updates, providing a sharper, more angular exterior complemented by a new grille and wheel design. Standard on all 2013 RX 350s were 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, foglamps, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, and LLexus'Safety Connect emergency communications system.
A new F Sport model added more aggressive styling with black exterior accents and darker wheels. At the same time, the 3.5-liter V6 engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the standard six-speed automatic on this model.
In 2015 Lexus added a rearview camera, and a 7-inch audio display screen was made standard equipment before a fully redesigned model was launched as the third generation.
2004 – 2009 Lexus RX 350 (2nd Generation)
Initiated with an upgraded engine, the RX 350 was introduced with a 3.5-liter 270-horsepower V6 engine, a 50-horsepower boost from the previous year's RX 330. The new engine was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel-drive as an option.
The first RX 350 came equipped with stability and traction control, as well as features including auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, reclining second row seats, and a power rear liftgate. As before, there was a comprehensive list of standard equipment and options from the RX 330, such as a navigation system.
Although the 2007 model did not have a significantly exterior design from 2006, the cabin continued to offer a luxurious feel, with most models getting leather upholstery and wood trim. While still supplying a luxurious driving experience, the RX 350 remained true to its function as an SUV with the capacity for up to 85 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. All models were strict five-seat configurations, with the Lexus not offering a third-row seat as many rivals were starting to.
The RX 350 did get some minor styling changes for 2008, in the way of a new grille and chrome door handles, while 2009 saw the introduction of an RX 350 Pebble Beach Edition, with custom floor mats, a unique badge on the grille, and standard chrome wheels and leather upholstery.
1998 - 2003 Lexus RX 350 (1st Generation)
The first generation of the Lexus RX debuted in the United States for the 1999 model year and was based on the Japanese Toyota Harrier. The Lexus RX 300 was designed to be both comfortable and high-performance, with a 3.0-liter double-overhead-cam V6 engine putting out 220 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque through a four-speed automatic transmission with either a FWD or AWD configuration. It was available as a 4WD model and had 75 cubic feet of cargo space, making it a unique vehicle that gathered the best of different categories.
The RX 300 featured leather trim on the interior as well as an LCD information screen that controlled the climate and audio as well as displayed performance information. These features, combined with the performance capabilities of the engine and suspension, made it a great choice for people who wanted the versatility of an SUV with the luxury of a sedan.
In 2000, the RX 300 got a refresh that included updated color choices, a new headlight design, and new options for the interior, like individually-reclining seat backs for even more cargo space.