Reviewers got an early taste of the 2023 Lexus RX and, in general, they like what they see.
The new luxury crossover comes in six editions — each offering different types of powertrains and different levels of power. The most powerful model, the RX500h F Sport Performance, combines a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine and electric power to produce 367 hp.
Exterior-wise, the new RX is largely unchanged, with a commanding grille and sloping design that continues to be a crowd-pleaser.
A common complaint was the touch screen infotainment system. Its plethora of menus had many reviewers bogged down and frustrated, and leaves much to be desired as user-interfaces go.
Not all price points and specifications have been released. The 2023 Lexus RX is expected to hit showrooms by the end of 2022.
Here’s what else reviewers had to say:
“The front end is more upright with a pronounced nose between the enlarged headlamps’ L-shaped light signatures. The SUV retains its floating roof design, while a more raked windshield and muscular contours over the rear arches add a sporty flair. Bringing up the rear, the horizontal taillights now connect across the hatch to form a continuous light bar. Overall, the new RX is a good-looking SUV.
“The RX’s cabin is handsomely appointed and has a simplified design. Much of this redesign comes at the expense of physical controls — such as climate controls permanently located on the touchscreen — which is a bit of a user-friendliness bummer, but also comes with certain advantages for patient drivers.
“The cabin features an F Sport steering wheel, red or black sport seats, aluminum trim and F Sport-themed digital gauges, while the exterior can be had in F Sport exclusive Ultra White or Grecian Water blue paint. These changes won’t transform the RX into a canyon carver, but a little extra sport in this utility vehicle goes a long way toward a more enjoyable drive and a more athletic look.
“The new RX doesn’t stray too far from its established formula, but makes a few bold moves that mostly pay off. With varied and interesting powertrain options, smart technology that feels appropriately modern and possibly the most handsome design of any RX before, the 2023 model maintains its position as one of the top picks in the luxury crossover class it created.”
– Antuan Goodwin, CNET
“The non-hybrid RX 350, powered solely by an internal combustion engine, was the smoothest and quietest drivetrain. It delivered acceptable power.
“Despite Toyota’s dominance in hybrid sales, the internal combustion component of its hybrids tends to have a droning sound. That was true of both RX hybrids.
“The more powerful RX 500h hybrid has the best acceleration – 5.9 seconds 0-60 mph compared with 7.4 for the 350h hybrid and 7.2 for AWD models of the gasoline-only RX 350. It also has the highest top speed, 130 mph versus 124 for the RX 350 and 112 for the RX 350h.
“The RX’s ride is tuned for comfort more than handling. Even F Sport models of the RX 500h showed noticeable body roll when driven enthusiastically on curving, hilly roads.
“Lexus’ attention monitor is just annoying. Available on all models, its only purpose is to make sure the driver pays attention when using Lexus’ limited low-speed, hands-free driving system, called traffic jam assist.
“Like a nagging aunt, the (traffic jam assist) feature repeatedly beeped and flashed written messages telling drivers to sit up straight. It needs better tuning, and should only be active in conjunction with traffic jam assist.”
– Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press
“As with those luxurious electrified SUVs, your plug-in experience is only as good as you make it. If you have the ability to plug in at night after coming home from work, a good amount of your daily driving will be completely electric.
“When propelled only by EV power, the RX450h+ delivers enough acceleration to get you into traffic, but you’ll want the full hybrid system and its estimated 300-ish horsepower to make any passes. Good thing, then, that you can change it from EV to hybrid mode at the touch of a button. The plug-in didn’t feel quite as quick as the 366-hp RX500h, but we’ll have to test both 2023 RX variants to confirm.
“Aside from the blissful quiet with electric driving and the wonderful flexibility of a plug-in, our biggest impression with this prototype was a braking system we hope is tweaked before we drive U.S.-spec models.
“During our brief time with the car, we found coming to a smooth stop difficult, as the SUV stopped a little more abruptly than we expected as the system transitions from regeneration to mechanical braking—a common issue with some hybrids but not nearly as pronounced in the RX350h and RX500h.
“When the engine in this electrified RX is actually on, it sounds remote enough that you won’t think much of it. That leaves you free to enjoy the new cabin, which is just as luxurious as the other RX models’ and offers the quick-reacting 14.0-inch touchscreen.
“We think the RX has the most potential as a right-sized alternative to the slightly larger BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 competition. Those two SUVs will likely be quicker than the RX, but the RX will probably undercut at least the Volvo in price.”
– Zach Gale,