May 2012

Vehicle Preview: 2013 Lexus RX

 
The updated and improved 2013 Lexus RX luxury crossover makes obvious the reasons the model has been one of the most popular vehicles in the segment for 10 years. The restyled 2013 Lexus RX features noteworthy improvements inside and out.
 
Eye-catching new style
 
 
Immediately evident are the updates made to the exterior styling of the RX. Following in the footsteps of the all-new 2013 Lexus GS sedan, the RX features the aggressive new “spindle” grille introduced on the sport sedan, and is further dressed up with a new front bumper, distinctive fog lamp bezels, LED daylight running lamps and restyled taillamps. Little changes add up, giving the RX an entirely new street presence. For the first time as well, the Lexus RX is now available with a Sport Appearance Package consisting of Superchrome 19-inch wheels, a package-specific bumper and halogen headlamps.
 
 
Upgrades inside
 
Subtle and incremental upgrades to the plush, elegant and quiet interior enhance the excellent driver and passenger environment that makes the RX such a leader in its class. The 2013 model gets a new steering wheel, redesigned for a more relaxing and comfortable grip. The list of available interior trim materials expands to include Ebony Bird’s-Eye Maple trim and a Saddle Leather interior with contrasting accent stitching.
 
Familiar luxury and amenities
 
The dynamic new exterior styling of the RX is joined by an enhanced interior that now offers many signature RX features and amenities as standard equipment. These include the power rear tailgate and USB iPod/MP3-player compatibility. The standard tilting/telescoping steering wheel automatically returns to its last position when the RX is started, and both 10-way power adjustable front seats come with power lumbar adjustment.
 
Every Lexus RX comes standard with the Lexus Premium Audio System, which includes voice recognition and Bluetooth technology – for hands-free phone usage and media streaming – SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a six-disc CD changer.
 
Selecting the available Hard Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system brings 12 speakers total, with HD Radio and iTunes tagging. The navigation system includes voice commands, Lexus Enform telematics with Safety Connect, phone app integration (like Pandora and iHeartRadio) and the intuitive Remote Touch Interface to help manage it all.
 
The ultimate in cabin sound comes in the form of the Mark Levinson Surround Sound System, a 15-speaker setup that pumps out 330 watts of essentially distortion-free sound evenly to all occupants of the vehicle.
 
Families with children will be happy to know that a two-screen rear-seat entertainment system is available, as is a backup camera that makes it easier to verify that the area behind the car is clear before reversing.
 
Regular or Hybrid power
 
Part of the success of the RX comes from its outstanding powertrains. For 2013, this story continues. The RX 350 models feature a smooth and powerful 3.5-liter VVT-i V6 that generates 270 hp. Power is channeled to the wheels via a six-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). Offering even greater driver control, the Multi-Mode Sequential Shift Automatic can be shifted manually if the driver places the shifter in “Sport” mode. Shifting is as easy as tapping the shifter toward the “+” or “–“ signs on the console. The RX 350 is available with front- or electronically controlled Active Torque Control all-wheel drive, a boon in all weather conditions, no matter how poor.
 
The Lexus RX 450h hybrid delivers all the niceties of the RX 350, but does so with an even lighter green footprint. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the RX 450h pairs a 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V6 with electric motors for 295 total system hp. A true “full hybrid” vehicle, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only, gas-only, or combined modes. The upshot is terrific fuel economy: 30 mpg (front-wheel drive). The system uses a separate electric motor/generator to power the rear wheels on the RX 450h AWD, and there’s also a “Snow” mode that alters throttle response to make driving in slippery conditions easier.
 
Safety always paramount
 
In addition to the available Safety Connect feature that’s part of the Lexus Enform telematics suite, the 2013 Lexus RX comes loaded with electronic stability control, traction control, and 10 standard airbags for occupant safety. Hill-Start Assist Control is included, and an available Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is also available.
 
Updated for the better
 
The 2013 Lexus RX arrives in showrooms this year with a new level of excellence that sets the bar that much higher for competitors. It was the best before, and it’s even better now.


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