Lexus RX Inline 1

Here it is, the new Lexus RX officially launched in Malaysia. Lexus Malaysia is bringing in the entire range of the fourth-gen SUV, and we get the RX 200t (in Premium, Luxury and F Sport trim levels), the RX 350 (Luxury and F Sport) and the hybrid flagship RX 450h.

First, an intro. The fourth-gen RX made its debut at the 2015 New York International Auto Show in April this year. Now that it has smaller sibling NX to take care of the compact SUV market, the best-selling model in Lexus’ 26-year history has been given freedom to grow – its wheelbase is up by 50 mm to make 2,789 mm. The exterior is as you’d expect from a modern Lexus – spindle grille, super sharp and edgy.

Chief engineer Takayuki Katsuda said that his team aimed for better ride and handling, as well as more power and fuel efficiency for its SUV. The challenge was to build a breakthrough RX, yet one that’s true to the RX lineage. See videos of the CE and chief designer explaining their creation here.

Lexus RX Inline 2

The RX 200t replaces the RX 270 variant of the previous-gen. It uses a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine that was first seen in the NX last year, and now available in the IS sedan, facelifted GS sedan and RC coupe.

The direct-injection 8AR-FTS utilises a twin-scroll turbocharger and Dual VVT-iW (Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) for maximum torque at low revs. It does 235 hp at 4,800 to 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,650 to 4,000 rpm here, which looks very good next to the old RX 270’s 187 hp and 252 Nm (at 4,200 rpm) from 2.7 litres, 27% more power and 39% more torque to be exact. The 160 kg four-pot is paired to a six-speed conventional automatic gearbox.

If the idea of a large premium SUV with a 2.0 litre engine doesn’t go down well, the RX 350 is available for the traditionalist. This variant gets a new 2GR-FKS 3.5 litre V6 engine with 295 hp at 6,300 rpm and 370 Nm of torque available from 4,600 to 4,700 rpm. This naturally-aspirated six-pot with VVT-iW (can switch between Otto and Atkinson cycle) and D-4S (pairs port injection with direct injection) is paired with a new eight-speed automatic ‘box. This engine does not come with auto start-stop, unlike the 200t and 450h.

Lexus RX 350 F Sport Launch 14

The RX 450h’s hybrid system combines a 3.5 litre V6 Atkinson cycle 2GR-FXS engine (with D-4S and fuel saving tech such as cylinder heads with enhanced exhaust gas cooling) with an electric motor, NiMH battery and E-CVT gearbox. The V6 alone does 258 hp and 335 Nm, but system combined output is 308 hp, or 230 kW. EV Drive mode is pure electric, zero emissions. The car has an electric air conditioning system so the cabin continues to be cooled when the engine is off.

The new RX range is big, and starts from the RX 200t Premium, which is priced at RM388,800 on the road with GST, without insurance. The entry-level variant is pretty well stocked. Included in the standard kit list are triple L-shaped LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps with cornering function, powered rear hatch, smart entry and push start, electric parking brake and 20-inch five-spoke alloys (235/55 rubber for the whole range).

Standard comfort features include dual-zone auto air con with rear vents, eight-inch central screen, rear window manual sunshades and semi-aniline leather for the seats. Safety wise, 10 airbags (including front knee bags, rear side bags), VSC, hill start assist, tyre pressure warning system, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) and rear view camera are standard.

Upgrade to the RX 200t Luxury and you’ll get (over the Premium) a moonroof, smart card key, Lexus’ EMV Remote Touch Interface, navigation, Qi wireless charger, powered 60:40 rear folding seats and a panoramic view monitor (bird’s eye) to help parking.

The car with the more aggressive face is the RX 200t F Sport. Besides the grille and front bumper, the F Sport gains multi-spoke grey wheels, aluminium roof rails and black wing mirror caps. Inside, the sporty trim comes with unique F Sport trim and leather, scuff plates, sport instrument cluster with digital speedo (with G-Ball & Boost meter in the MID), steering paddle shifters and black headlining.

The drive modes add on Sport+ and Customize to the regular Eco, Normal and Sport. Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is exclusive to the F Sport, as are performance dampers.

From L-R: Standard wheel design, F-Sport exclusive multi-spoke rims; both are 20-inch items

The RX 350 brings a unique way of opening the hatch. Touchless Power Back Door allows one to wave a hand at the Lexus emblem with the key in possession to open it. Choosing the V6 also brings a wider 12.3-inch central screen.

The RX 350 F Sport gets the 350’s goodies, while adding on the F Sport pack detailed above. The two extra items that come in at this level are a colour head-up display (HUD) and if you’ve been waiting for it – a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system (the non-branded system has 12 speakers). Finally, the RX 450h gets the RX 350 F Sport’s highest level of equipment, without the F Sport pack. Its blade-design rims are two-tone, body-colour coded by default, but this trim can be swapped to the colour of your liking as a future optional part.

Lastly, both F Sport models and the 450h get Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which integrates brake control, drive power control and steering control to improve dynamics, matched to the suspension and AWD. Lexus says that drivers won’t notice VDIM working in the background. Speaking of AWD, all RX variants get it and distribution ranges from pure FWD in regular driving to 50:50 when needed, automatically.

Eight colours are available, with one of it (White Nova) exclusive to the F Sport. Platinum Silver Metallic, Amber CS and Sonic Quartz are not available for the F Sport. The paint is a scratch-resistant, self-restoring coat. There are six interior colours including the new Noble Brown. F Sport variants get more aluminium trim, while the others get fine Shimamoku wood trim.

We finally come to price, which starts at RM388,800 for the RX 200t Premium. The RX 200t Luxury is priced at RM408,400 and the RX 200t F Sport RM422,990. The RX 350 Luxury comes in at RM457,800 and the RX 350 F Sport RM486,300. The RX 450h is yours for RM520,200. Prices are on-the-road with GST, without insurance.

The standard three-year or 100,000 km Lexus Malaysia warranty applies. The hybrid battery in the RX 450h has an eight-year warranty. Check out full specs for all six RX variants on CarBase.my.


Lexus RX 200t F Sport

Lexus RX 200t

Lexus RX 350 F Sport

Lexus RX 350 Luxury

Lexus RX official images