The Lexus RX is the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history, and with global sales of more than 2.1 million units so far, the mid-size SUV represents three out of ten vehicles ever sold by Lexus. Just imagine the size of the task and the pressure faced by the two men that were most responsible for the new version.

The new RX made its world debut at the New York show earlier this year. Now that it has smaller sibling NX to take care of the compact SUV market, the RX 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.

Project chief designer Gen Ikeda says that the new RX’s design concept was “Seductive Strength” and the SUV has bolder proportions via the increased wheelbase and bigger wheel size. The man with the pen says that it has “unmatched presence” – do you agree? Watch the videos and decide.

In NYC, the RX was revealed with a 3.5 litre V6 engine (RX 350) and a 3.5 litre V6 mated to a hybrid drive system for the RX 450h. Both deliver 300 hp. Last month in Shanghai, Lexus announced the RX 200t which replaces the RX 270. Adopting the latest 2.0 litre turbo unit from the NX, the entry engine for the RX makes 235 hp and 350 Nm, comfortably outgunning the old 2.7 litre four-pot’s 185 hp/252 Nm.

According to chief engineer Takayuki Katsuda, Lexus aimed for better ride and handling, as well as more power and fuel efficiency for its SUV. He said that the challenge was to bulid a breakthrough RX, yet one that’s true to the RX lineage.

“When we showed a preview to our dealers around the world, they agreed that ‘it has changed so much, yet it’s definitely an RX’ This is the greatest compliment that i could ever receive,” he said. “I believe this new RX will not only surprise new customers, but will also delight and satisfy our loyal customers, whose high expectations will be met by many new innovations.”

This one will be coming to Malaysia in the near future, and it’ll be an easier sell too, with the 2.0 turbo.

Lexus RX 450h

Lexus RX 350 F Sport