The mid-size SUV from Toyota’s luxury arm is all set to get a major upgrade for 2023. According to the reports published by Creative 311 and Magazine X, Lexus has decided to revamp the powertrain options that it offers with its much sought-after RX SUV along with the possibility of a plug-in hybrid option. The current-gen Lexus RX is based on Toyota’s old K platform that the automaker has been using since the early 2000s. Magazine X also states that the upcoming RX lineup will be based on the newest TNGA architecture and will share its underpinnings with the Lexus ES and NX. The new RX is expected to make its way into the United States in the second half of this year.
Lexus plans to ditch the 3.5-liter normally aspirated V6 that it currently offers with the RX, instead, the 2023 model will share the NX 350’s 2.4-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that makes 275 horses and 371 lb-ft of torque. However, it’s expected to make more power in the upcoming RX. It will also share the NX’s 8-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel-drive system. Moreover, there will be only one non-hybrid model on offer called the RX 300.
Interestingly, there are talks about Lexus offering 3 different hybrid powertrain options. The most powerful and the top-spec variant of the RX hybrid lineup will be called RX500h and will replace the current RX450h. It will reportedly be a plug-in hybrid and will come equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. Next up, the RX450h+, the variant that sits below the RX 500h, will be powered by a 2.5-liter normally aspirated 4 cylinder engine paired with a similar electric motor. Lastly, the base hybrid variant, the RX 350h will be equipped with the same powertrain as the RX450h+ but in a different state of tune. Both these powertrains will be shared with the current NX 450h+, but as mentioned earlier, these engines are expected to make more power in the RX. The official power figures for the upcoming RX aren’t out yet but the current-gen NX 350h makes about 240 horses while the NX 450h+ makes about 304 horses.
While Lexus continues to push more hybrids to market, it also has plans to drive in all-electric models. The brand recently unveiled an all-electric crossover SUV, the RZ, based on the e-TNGA platform that is also shared by the Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra. The RZ will be the third vehicle to be based on this architecture. Sources also suggest that the new all-electric RZ 450e crossover SUV, being a larger vehicle, will be equipped with more powerful electric motors than the bZ4x and Solterra which use a dual-motor setup and deliver about 215 horses. On the outside, however, the RZ bears resemblance to the RX and both the SUVs are pretty similar in size and shape.
Furthermore, there are rumors that Lexus has plans to ax its 3-row crossover, the RX L which was just an extended, 3-row version of the RX SUV lineup. There always have been complaints about the RX L’s third-row being way too cramped, rendering it practically unusable. Perhaps that’s the reason why Lexus plans to replace it with an altogether new 3-row SUV. According to a report by Car and Driver, Lexus has filed for trademarks on the TX 350 and TX 500h monikers which could be the replacements for the RX L lineup.
It is interesting to see how Lexus is trying the middle ground with its hybrid lineup. While the demand for all-electric luxury crossover SUVs isn’t that high, there certainly is a class of buyers who would appreciate saving on fuel and cutting on expenses but also would not like to deal with the range anxiety that all-electric SUVs bring in. For buyers like these, a hybrid crossover SUV just makes sense. With 3 different hybrid engines on offer, Lexus is eyeing these very buyers. The automaker also believes that hybrids make much more sense than going all-electric in this segment, at least for now. They offer a good blend of power, performance, and practicality and that’s what Lexus wants to deliver to its buyers with the new range of hybrid SUVs.