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Lexus RX

The pioneering luxury crossover.

HYBRID

Ever since it debuted as the RX300 in the mid-1990s, the Lexus RX has been a sales home run. Today, it’s still the best-selling Lexus model, and it’s not hard to see why. Many sedan buyers have decided that they prefer a slightly higher vantage point and the all-weather traction of four-wheel drive, and the RX gives them both while providing essentially the same driving experience as you’d get in a luxury sedan. The 3.5-liter V-6, seen also in the ES350, is smooth and quiet. The ride is cosseting, luxury features abound, and space is generous for four or even five — but there is no third-row seat. Don’t expect much in the way of driver involvement, although somewhat amusingly there is an F Sport model that includes a slightly firmer suspension and shift paddles. Its engine is the same 270-hp unit as in the base model. The F Sport comes standard with all-wheel drive; the standard RX350 and the RX450h Hybrid offer front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Hybrid gets much better gas mileage (particularly in the city), and the system works almost imperceptibly. Alas, it’s some $6000 more expensive, so for most people, it will take many years to recoup the Hybrid’s price premium and start seeing any savings. Saving the environment, though, starts right away.

COMPETITORS

Audi Q5

Cadillac SRX

Lincoln MKX

Volvo XC60

new for 2013

An F Sport model is new. In addition to its firmer suspension, shift paddles, and standard all-wheel drive, it gets an eight-speed automatic and a more-aggressive-looking front end. All RX models get a bit of a nose job this year to accommodate the brand’s new “spindle” grille. The cabin is revised, as are some options packages.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; a backup camera; adaptive front lighting; and stability and traction control are standard. The optional adaptive cruise control includes precollision warning and braking. A blind-spot monitor is optional. Lexus’s Safety Connect telematics system includes collision response and a one-year subscription.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 18–32

HWY 24–28

PRO

Smooth ride

Quiet and refined

Hybrid gets good gas mileage

CON

No third row available

Lacks driver involvement

Base Price Range: $40,205–$48,205

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: RX350, RX350 F Sport, RX450h

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 3.5L V-6, 270 hp, 248 lb-ft

3.5L V-6/electric hybrid, 295 hp

TRANSMISSIONS: 6- or 8-speed automatic, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 100.9 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 3500 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 40.0/80.3 cu ft

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