New Car Previews

Preview: 2016 Lexus RX

Lexus have just taken the wraps off its all-new 2016 Lexus RX at the 2015 New York Auto Show. When the RX launched 17 years and three generations ago, it spawned the luxury crossover segment and the RX has remained at the forefront of one of the most highly contested segments today. The 2016 RX aims to retain their status at the leading edge of the luxury CUV market.

Unmistakably Lexus, in and out, the new RX makes a strong visual first impression.

Unmistakably Lexus, in and out, the new RX makes a strong visual first impression. The sharp front end has been updated with a signature black Lexus bold grille with a chrome trim. The front fenders are wide and muscular. Recessed triple-L-shaped LED projector headlights with LED running lights enhance the grille's aggressive look. Redesigned fog lights with a chrome-trimmed triangular bezel integrate neatly with the grille, giving the RX a sharp, angular look that screams Lexus.

Sharp edges-a-plenty, the side profile shows off the aggressive character lines that run from the muscular front fenders all the way to the rear end. The swooping roofline ties it all together to give the RX a modern, sharp and aggressive stance. Aesthetics aside, the profile minimizes wind noise at speed, drag and decreases lift, while maximizing fuel efficiency, acceleration and stability.

2016 Lexus RX

The rear end maintains the sharp and aggressive character with blacked out C-pillars and L-shaped wraparound taillights give the RX a wider looking rear end. Chrome tipped dual exhaust tips, a black rear fascia with chrome insert adds a little bit of contrast to highlight the sharp angles and edges. 20-inch wheels replace the current model's 19-inch offerings.

The new cabin of the RX is as expected, chock full of luxury and convenience options. Specially-finished laser-cut ornamentation is available for those whom just need to have that luxury look and feel.

A large head-up-display (HUD) is the prominent feature in the driver's seat with a 12.3-inch display providing all the tertiary information off to the side. The shifter has been repositioned away from the front of the instrument panel to optimize space. The rear seats have been redesigned to allow more leg and knee room for passengers. For rear seat passenger convenience, heating and power recline functions are available and provide luxurious and comforting feel for your rear seat passengers. As expected, a large panoramic sunroof provides an open air experience for all passengers and ties the package together nicely.

More on NY Auto Show: Day One Highlights

Under the hood is a new, upgraded and more powerful 3.5L V6 mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. This combination is apparently good for 300 hp. Based on this improved powertrain is the hybrid model’s Atkinson-cycle 3.5-L V6 hybrid. When combined with the electric motor, the total output results in more than 300 hp. As always, RX drive trains have been tuned to achieve high fuel economy and a low carbon footprint.

Chassis-wise, the new RX is stiffer and stronger than the previous generations. The benefit to the strengthening is the added handling benefits associated with a stiffer chassis. The new RX is more stable, corners better and will feel more responsive. The downside to the chassis strengthening is the more than likely added weight penalty.

For better or worse, it's 2015 and electronic aids are mandatory and expected. New Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) systems help keep everything civil and safe. Each of the systems are designed to help recognize potentially dangerous situations and make automatic and often transparent adjustments to ensure the vehicle remains in control when entering and exiting corners too fast or in adverse conditions. Also, All-Wheel Drive improves the RX’s handling performance and stability on dry and slick surfaces alike.

The RX features a fully independent suspension system, consisting of MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone setup at rear. The new suspension has been tuned and reinforced to improve handling while keeping a good and smooth ride quality.

Exclusively available on all F Sport packages is the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). The AVS system electronically monitors and adapts the suspension and steering settings to ensure optimal handling and ride depending on the driving conditions. Put your foot down to the floor and charge up to a corner, the RX AVS robots optimize your setup for the upcoming corner.

Under regular driving conditions, the AVS will automatically make lightning-quick adjustments to the shock absorber settings, ensuring the smoothest ride quality possible. The system is also designed to produce less body lean through corners, providing a sporty driving experience.

The new, stiffer chassis increases the overall passive safety rating of the RX. Lexus Safety System+, helps avoid or mitigate collisions across a wide range of vehicle speeds and conditions.

Introduced globally, Lexus Safety System+ integrates several of Lexus' existing active safety technologies. These include the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that detects sudden stops initiated by the vehicle in front, warning drivers of potential contact with obstacles and pedestrians ahead; Lane Departure Alert (LDA), which issues an audible signal if the vehicle strays from its intended lane; and Automatic High Beam (AHB) that helps ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving. As part of a multi-faceted approach to active safety, the Lexus Safety System+ package utilizes a millimetre-wave radar that works together with a camera to keep the RX in its intended driving lane via the Lane Departure Alert feature (LDA) and enhances the target detection for the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. For even higher safety levels, Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) are available as optional equipment. Skynet is here.

2016 Lexus RX

For the first time, the RX Hybrid is available with the F Sport package. F Sport badged RXs are equipped with a number of visual and performance features that set them apart from other versions. The signature front grille and lower centre piece of the rear bumper possess an “F” mesh design. New 20-inch alloy wheels, exclusive to the F Sport, also help give the RX a commanding presence. Inside, the driver is treated to a custom F Sport instrument cluster as well as a sport steering wheel, featuring perforated leather and an attractive F Sport emblem, complete with paddle shifters. Exclusive colours and trim pieces are also part of the sport package.

Suspension wise, F Sport utilizies an active stabilizer system with cutting-edge technology helps keep the vehicle’s body amazingly flat through corners. The aforementioned AVS, which also helps keep the vehicle planted to driving surfaces through turns, is standard on RX F Sport. The driver can select the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode, in addition to Eco, Normal and Sport S settings, on the Drive Mode Select control located on the centre console.

Lexus has a pretty sharp looking luxury CUV on its hands here and we're looking forward to seeing how it stacks up compared to the previous generations.

No word on pricing yet but the RX is slated for sale starting in October of 2015.