Lexus introduces updated RX for 2013

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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In 1997 Lexus introduced the RX, a model that helped pioneer the luxury crossover sport utility segment. Now, after three successful generations, Lexus has significantly revised the RX for 2013.

Like before, the 2013 RX is available as the RX 350, which features a conventional gasoline engine, or the RX 450h, which uses a hybrid powertrain. Exterior revisions include a new Lexus spindle grille, a revised front bumper with new headlights and LED daytime running lights, and updated styling for the taillights and the rear license plate surround, among other relatively minor changes. The classy crossover sits on standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and 19-inch aluminum-alloys are optional.

Inside, the revisions include metallic accenting on the glove box, a redesigned centre console, a steering wheel that's been redesigned for more comfort, and a choice of new ebony bird's-eye maple wood trim as well as available saddle leather.

Power for the RX 350 comes from a 3.5-litre V6 engine which churns out a stout 270 horsepower and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. For those who require four-wheel traction, the RX 350 AWD uses an Active Torque Control AWD system to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels depending on road conditions and driving dynamics.

The hybrid RX 450h uses a 3.5-litre V6 Atkinson-cycle engine as well as electric motors and a small power-control unit. The hybrid powertrain produces 295 horsepower and can be operated in electric-only mode or gasoline-only mode in addition to combining both the gasoline and electric powertrains. The RX 450h also features a Sport mode which changes the characteristics of the steering, throttle mapping and transmission-shifting priorities to "fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain" as Lexus puts it.

Though the 2013 RX is already laden with luxury appointments, optional luxury features include a 12-speaker audio system, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio system, an available hard disc drive navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system with two seven-inch screens, and a rear-view camera. Lexus says there's also a sport appearance package available for 2013 that includes halogen headlights, 19-inch wheels with a superchrome finish, and a unique front bumper.

Safety technologies include hill-start assist control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, vehicle stability control and traction control which, together with the power steering, are all controlled by Lexus's VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) software. To protect passengers in case of a collision, the RX comes standard with 10 airbags, including front seat-mounted side airbags, rear side airbags (for the outboard seating positions), knee airbags for the driver and the front passenger and side curtain airbags.

While no official Canadian sale date has been officially announced yet, the 2013 RX is expected to arrive across the country later this year.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Lexus, 2013, RX 350, RX 450h, Midsize,

Organizations: Lexus

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