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Lexus builds new RX from the ground up

The 2022 Lexus RX SUV has been revealed, which has been redesigned inside and out, and is available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time

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The all-new fifth-generation RX SUV has been unveiled, and will be available as either a regular hybrid or a plug-in hybrid model.

Built on the same platform as the smaller Lexus NX SUV, the new RX is slightly longer, wider and lower than the previous model. It’s also 90kg lighter than its predecessor, as part of an effort to make the SUV’s handling more agile in tight corners.

Though the 2022 RX has a similar exterior silhouette and window surrounds as the model it replaces, the new model takes a few design cues from the recently revealed all-electric RZ SUV, with rectangular headlights sitting above new-look air intakes in the front, and one elongated rear light panel extending across the width of the tailgate.

The pattern of the front grille differs across the range, with a specific design for each powertrain option. Among other options, the RX can be ordered with wheels up to 21 inches in diameter.

In the cabin, the new RX comes with the brand’s new 14-inch infotainment system as standard, with navigation software that offers live traffic and road condition updates. The cubby below the infotainment touchscreen has wireless charging for your phone, and you can control the car’s functions using voice commands.

The standard model is fitted with heated and ventilated seats, which are trimmed in vegan synthetic leather – as is the steering wheel and gear shifter. Ambient lighting is present throughout the cabin, with 64 different colour settings.

The lead-in model in the new RX range is the 350h – powered by a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid unit that has a small electric motor that can only provide enough power to drive the car at low speeds for short distances. Lexus says this system is comparable to that found in the last-generation RX 450h, but with lower emissions and a lower output of 245hp.

Likely to be the most popular variant in the new RX line-up is the 450h+, which is a 2.5-litre petrol plug-in hybrid model that utilises a 18kWh battery to produce 306hp and an all-electric driving range of around 40 miles.

At the top of the new range sits the RX 500h – a performance-focused model that uses a turbocharged 2.4-litre hybrid engine to produce 371hp and 0-62mph sprint time of six seconds flat, which is two seconds quicker than the RX 350h.

The 2022 Lexus RX 450h+ and 500h also come with the brand’s ‘Direct4’ four-wheel drive system, which constantly balances the power and torque between the front and rear axles in any driving situation, so that the SUV has more poise and balance at speed.

There is no word on pricing as of yet – more information will be released closer to the RX’s arrival later this year.

Until then, the older fourth-generation Lexus RX SUV is still on sale, praised for its build quality, comfort and refinement, but criticised for its driving dynamics. It currently holds an Expert Rating of 63% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.