Lexus RX: Designed To Beat The Odds


The Lexus RX is a compact luxury crossover SUV from 1998 – 2003 and a mid-size luxury crossover SUV from 2003 to present produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota since 1998 to present. It was first sold in Japan before being introduced in other markets worldwide coming in a 5-door SUV body style with front-engine, front-wheel drive, and front-engine, four-wheel-drive layout. The Lexus RX is a successor to the Toyota Harrier (XU60) coming in four generations from 1998 to date. This article concentrates on the detailed evolution of the Lexus RX throughout these generations highlighting key developments of the engine, features, and body style. 


Lexus RX: XU10

The first generation of the Lexus RX XU10 started its production in December 1998 through January 2003 coming in three engine options namely 2.2 L I4, 2.4 L I4, and 3.0 L V6: available in front-wheel drive (MCU10) and all-wheel drive (MCU15) in the RX 300 with 4-speed U140/F automatic transmission. 

Toyota equipped the Lexus RX with better traction under “Snow” mode, a standard 7-speaker Pioneer sound system, an optional Nakamichi customized sound system, an interior with Walnut wood and leather trim, two rows of seating, a rear cargo area, a central dashboard with LCD multi-information screen for audio, climate, and performance data along with an air conditioning system. The Lexus RX offers enough legroom for passengers and the driver, also, more cargo room can be generated once the rear seats are folded.

For security purposes, Toyota equipped the vehicle with driver and passenger front airbags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, five standard headrests, Vehicle Stability Control, front seat-mounted side torso airbags, and an optional electronic stability program. Toyota gave the 2000 model of the RX 300 slight adjustments by adding revised headlights and taillights, an interior with a DVD-based navigation system, additional exterior colors, and an engine replacement from the 2.2-liter 5S-FE to the 2.4-liter 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engine. 


Lexus RX: XU30

The second generation of the Lexus RX was produced between February 2003 and December 2008 under the Toyota K platform coming in its signature model RX 330 offering four different engine options namely 2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4, 3.0 L, 3.3 L, and 3.5 L V6 with 5-speed U151E/F automatic CVT (hybrid) transmission. 

The second-generation models come in a much sleeker body than the previous generation with new LED taillamps whilst the interior is nicely decorated with either Golden Bird’s Eye Maple or Walnut wood trim, dual-zone climate control, a 210-watt, 11-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, DVD-based navigation system with a backup camera, panoramic three-panel moonroof, and heated seats. 

To ensure full time safety and security of both the driver and passengers, Toyota equipped all RX models with standard eight airbags, Vehicle Stability Control, an optional Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) with HID headlamps and backup camera. Toyota launched the RX 400h in 2004 which in comparison to the two previous models featured a different front grille, round fog lights, new style LED taillights, new exterior colors, and an interior with hybrid information display navigation screen. The RX 400h models come in a 3.3 L gasoline V6 engine similar to that of the RX 330 powered by a 208 hp and 268 hp for the Lexus Hybrid Drive. 


Lexus RX: AL10

The third generation of the Lexus RX debuted from 2010 coming in the Toyota K platform body which also related to the Toyota Venza powered by a 2.7 L I4 and 3.5 L V6 gasoline engine, along with the 3.5 V6 gasoline hybrid engine with either 6-speed U660/F CVT or 8-speed automatic (F-Sport) transmission. The third generation of the Lexus RX entered the market in the RX 350 featuring a 3.5 L V6 engine producing 275 hp, a new Active Torque Control all-wheel-drive system, an Electric Power Steering (EPS) and to enhance the vehicle’s ability to handle cargo, is the double-wishbone rear suspension. 

This generation comes with a much-improved RX design offering an increased exterior dimension and cargo room, and an interior with SmartAccess: a keyless entry and start system, Bluetooth, power 10-way driver and passenger seats, sliding and reclining rear seats, multi-function display, VoiceBox Technologies with voice recognition system, a 15-speaker 330-watt Mark Levinson Surround sound system, a dual Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES), 19-inch wheels and heated leather seats. Toyota made sure to equip the new RX models with improved security features as well such as the standard twin-chamber front passenger airbags, side torso airbags, side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, active headrests, Vehicle Stability Control, and Hill Assist Control. 

Compared to the RX 300 and RX 400h, the RX 450h came as a more fuel-efficient vehicle by 20 percent which also became the facelift model in the 2010s after receiving new head and taillamps, new grilles, and new LED running lights. With the third generation, Toyota introduced the F sport coming with 8-speed automatic transmission and a sporty interior. 


Lexus RX: AL20

The fourth and current generation of the Lexus RX was introduced between 2016 and present coming in a Toyota K platform and a body related to Toyota Highlander (XU50). The Lexus RX  comes in three engine options namely 2.0 L turbocharged gasoline engine in the RX 200t/300 with a power output of 235 hp, 3.5 L V6 engine in the RX 350 with a power output of 295 hp, and the 3.5 L V6 hybrid gasoline engine in the RX 450h with a power output of 259 hp running under a 6-speed, 8-speed automatic, or the eCVT with sequential shift mode transmission.

The fourth generation of the Lexus RX comes with bolder Spindle Grille in a larger body than previous generations with an increased wheelbase and interior room. To give it a more sporty feel, Toyota equipped the new Lexus RX with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), an active anti-roll bar, twenty-inch alloy wheels, and a panoramic sunroof.

To purchase the latest or earlier model(s) of the Lexus RX, visit BE FORWARD.




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