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.

Third Generation: 2010 – 2015

Fueling Luxurious Comfort and Design 

With advanced available all-wheel drive, ample cargo space and an abundance of design flourish, the third generation of the Lexus RX was built and designed with precision to enhance the RX 350’s and 450h’s speed, control and fuel efficiency. While both models were equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine, the 2010 RX 450h was designed to deliver up to 295 total system horsepower. The hybrid model also boasted exhaust-heat recovery and cooled exhaust-gas recirculation systems, allowing for improved fuel economy and emissions compared to previous RX generations.

Throwback facts:

  • The third-generation Lexus RX 350 and 450h were the first RX models with a dual-zone cockpit design that effectively separated the space into a display zone (that provided information) and an operation zone (where controls were located).
  • The third-generation RX exterior featured an inverted-trapezoid front design, a horizontally integrated rear shape, and a pronounced shoulder that gave it a strong stance and powerful expression.

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 21, 2022

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