Fourth-gen Lexus RX launched in Malaysia, priced from RM389k to RM520k

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Originally launched in 1998 and designated only for the Japanese market, Lexus’ parents called it the Toyota Harrier. And it was a becoming SUV for a flourishing brand. A year after it was launched, the Harrier was adorned in Lexus badges that read the letters ‘RX’. Hence forth the moniker was born. The RX received phenomenal responses from buyers, especially the North American market.

Speaking of being well received and to further illustrate that point, Lexus has pushed over 2.2 million units out the door and into the arms of its adoring fans worldwide. Spearheading this fourth-gen RX on our shores is a job tasked to local importers and distributors – UMW Toyota Motor.

QUICK FACTS

NameLexus RX 200t PremiumLexus RX 200t LuxuryLexus RX 200t F SportLexus RX 350 F-SportLexus RX 350 LuxuryLexus RX 450h
Engine2.0L four cylinder twin scroll turbocharged engine3.5L V6, DOHC3.5L V6, DOHC with Electric Motors
Transmission6-speed automatic8-speed automaticE-CVT
Max Power235 hp @ 4,800 – 5,600 rpm295 hp @ 6,300 rpm308 hp (combined output)
Max Torque350 Nm @ 1,650 – 4,000 rpm370 Nm @ 4,600 – 4,700 rpm335 Nm @ 4,600 rpm
PriceRM388,800RM408,400RM422,990RM457,800RM486,300RM520,200

EXTERIOR

Lexus has claimed this new RX to be a much bolder and outstanding design and truth be told, we couldn’t agree more with them. RXs of past were rather understated and docile if that were a more apt description, but then again it was the design language at the time that dictated the look. Now though, Lexus have truly stepped up their game and brought to the fore a swarming range of cars that are as bold and sharp as the word itself.

This premium mid-sized crossover SUV features a host of design cues that’s rather reminiscent of its smaller sibling – the NX, such as the signature three-dimensional spindle grille upfront that’s a hair’s width away from the L-shaped LED DRLs with sequential signal indicators -a first for the brand. Couple that with flared out wheel arches and you get a really menacing RX – a word the previous generation model would never be associated with. Following this, the engineers have managed to design a floating roofline which is evident from the side rear view. Lexus has two words for describing the overall look of this all-new RX – ‘Mature Sensuality’ and we agree!Lexus-RX-Launch-12

Just like any budding brand, there is a ‘spicy’ flavoured variant to the model, and it’s none other than the F-Sport trims. They sport 20-inch alloy wheels painted to a dark metallic finish. Apart from that, the signature spindle grille gets a meshed design form that’s accompanied by black outer side mirror casings and not to mention roof rails for some sporting practicality, if you will.

INTERIOR

The true business end of any Lexus cars is the cabin experience, and this all-new RX is no exception to that rule. Lexus have done what they call a harmonious blend of luxury and functionality in this cabin. All driver and occupants are enveloped in top quality materials that we’ve accustomed ourselves to expect from cars of this calibre.

The hide-wrapped seats are quilted and ventilated, a feature that’s standard equipment on all trim variants. That being said, the newly redesigned interior while exuding a sense heightened luxury, also provides a spacious vibe all throughout the cabin. Part of the redesign is an expanded front field of vision for improved visibility which lends a hand towards better safety.Lexus-RX-Launch-25

The RX benefits from a redesigned instrument cluster that mimics the brand’s top dog- the LFA. The RX200t F-Sport comes with additional toys that reflect its sporting image, and the kit includes G-Ball and Boost gauges shown out of the 4.2-inch display. Aside from that, the F-Sport comes with a bucket-load of aluminium trim pieces with the words ‘F-Sport’ etched in.

The RX350 F-Sport and RX 450h both come with HUD or Head Up Display projected onto the windscreen. Measuring in at 240 x 90mm, it is the largest in any Lexuses thus far. Another Lexus feature that made its way to the RX is the RTI or Remote Touch Interface which allows the driver to control the MID (Multi-Information Display).

For audiophiles, two systems are on offer on the all-new RX, namely a 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio Surround System and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with a high-efficiency Class D amplifier. The system can even automatically adjust each song to the right volume, but this feature is unique only to the RX 350 and RX 450h variants. Here’s a world’s first for you – the depth of the cupholders varies depending on your beverage.

PERFORMANCE

Also new to the RX moniker is a 2.0-litre twin scroll turbocharged engine that makes 235 hp from 4,800 to 5,600 rpm with a torque figure of 350 Nm from just 1,650 to 4,000 rpm. This is thanks to the 17psi of boost from the turbo and extractor exhaust manifold. This four-banger variant is over 27 percent more efficient than the previous 2.7-litre engine in the RX 270 model. The RX 200t comes with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The RX 350 variants continue with the tried and tested 3.5-litre, direct injection V6 lump that churns out a respectable 295 hp at 6,300 rpm with 370 Nm of torque. The V6 powertrain is hooked up to the company’s new fast-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox which had its ratios optimised for low-end grunt and better fuel efficiency at higher speeds.

The V6 mill in charge of powering the RX 450h is a slightly different version of the unit above. This hybrid variant utilises an Atkinson-cycle engine with newly designed intakes ports and combustion chambers. The result of which is a lump that will make 258 hp and 335 Nm of torque. Not much you might think, but once paired up to the Lexus Hybrid Drive System, total system output is measured in at 308 hp. Not too shabby for a green-thumb SUV.

SAFETY

Lexus made it a point to enhance the safety level and rating of the new RX starting with the F-Sport variants and the top-spec Hybrid which features something called VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management). In short, VDIM is a next-gen stability control system which integrates the brakes, power control and steering into one for greater control dynamics. VDIM also works in tandem with the AWD and suspension systems.Lexus-RX-Launch-10

All RX variants come with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). It is a clever bit of kit that alerts the driver when there are cars fast approaching the RX’s tail by providing a loud beep followed by a warning light on the side mirrors. RCTA also works with Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) which employs radar technology to scan the roads around you.

WHAT ELSE?

All variants come with 10 SRS airbags scattered around the cabin. These consist of dual-stage and dual-chamber unit drivers and passenger airbags. There is a total of eight exterior colours to choose from, and all purchases of the new RX will come with a 3-year or 100,000km factory warranty programme. The RX 450h on the other hand, will get an additional 8-year with unlimited mileage warranty period.


IMAGE GALLERY


Nicholas Raj

Nicholas Raj

This author was born with an undying love for cars. As the mantra goes, the faster, the better. A hotelier-cum-entrepreneur, he soon gave up the life in pursuit of joining the brinks of the local automotive industry. He spends his days, aside from writing obviously, plotting and scheming his plan ever so carefully in the hopes of bagging a Porsche 991 Turbo in white with the Martini racing colours.
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