When it first debuted at the North American International Auto Show in 1998, the Lexus RX 300 was the world’s first-ever luxury crossover utility vehicle (CUV). By combining the best features of a luxury sedan and a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the RX ushered in a new standard of comfort, design and performance for manufacturers worldwide.
Approximately 42,000 RX 300s were sold that year alone, and CUVs have been growing in popularity ever since. Nearly a quarter century later, the fifth generation of the RX is now getting ready to go on sale later this year. Completely redesigned from the wheels to the roof rails, the all-new 2023 Lexus RX features some of the same luxury and performance-driven qualities that have always distinguished it from the rest: a comfortable and quiet in-cabin atmosphere, refined ride comfort, and excellent grip and drive force control.
Equipped with a new global platform, two all-new grades, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 and Lexus Interface Multimedia System, the 2023 Lexus RX is in a class all its own.
This series will look at the preceding generations and how the RX maintains a modern feel and design while staying true to the original RX 300 concept of seamlessly blending luxury and capability.
Fourth Generation: 2016 – 2022
Building on Greatness
The fourth-generation Lexus RX 350 and 450h offered upgraded luxurious features when they debuted in 2016. Thanks to increases in width and length by 0.4 inches and 4.7 inches, respectively, and a wheelbase lengthening of nearly 2 inches, the fourth-generation RX’s interior provided passengers with ample leg, head, and cargo space.
Its exterior benefitted from several design updates, including a new fascia featuring an emboldened spindle grille, sharp character lines that added an unexpected flair to the vehicle, and new LED taillights. The RX 350 and 450h were both powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, giving them more horsepower than the previous generation.
- The fourth-generation RX was the first Lexus to feature L-shaped taillights that wrapped around the sides and back of the vehicle, and, and glowed laterally from the body to the back door.
- This was also the generation that introduced a panoramic roof option on the RX, further enhancing the passenger in-cabin experience.
The Lexus RX continues to redefine the luxury crossover vehicle. The latest generation is no exception: Innovative computing, enhanced materials and high-stress performance testing have made the 2023 Lexus RX the best one yet.
Originally published November 28, 2022