Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.
Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.

CAPE TOWN - You don’t see a lot of these on the road, but the Lexus RX continues to offer a distinctive option to those that want something a little different from the German norm. And now there’s an improved version, sporting some visual and under-the-skin refinements as well as a much needed infotainment upgrade.

Various improvements to the structure and chassis of the vehicle aim to deliver a better ride, reduced body roll and better noise and vibration suppression, while the exterior styling enhancements remain subtle. Among the most noticeable changes is a new grille pattern with 3D-effect ‘L’ shapes, while the headlights are a little slimmer and the front bumper has more rounded edges. Stylists also gave the back bumper a new look, while the taillights gain a new L-shaped pattern. All versions roll on 20-inch alloy wheels as standard.

The standard RX design is already quite striking in our book, but if you want to take things further, Lexus is offering an RX 350 F Sport version for the first time, which spices things up with unique alloys and bespoke F Sport treatment for front fascia, mesh grille insert, front-fender and rear valance.

Big changes inside

The big news in the cabin is the adoption of a touchscreen infotainment system in place of that clunky Remote Touch system that featured a control stick on the centre console. Lexus had to redesign the dashboard to bring the new 31.2cm screen within touching distance, and those that prefer the old system can still use a new trackpad version of the Remote Touch Interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is also part of the deal here, as is voice control via Siri or Google Assistant. A WiFi hotspot with 15GB of complementary data is also standard, along with the MyLexus app and connected services.

Picture: Cornel van Heerden via Motorpress.

The hybrid model comes with Head-Up Display as standard, while that and the F Sport also ship with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

Buyers can choose between three interior colour schemes - Black, Ivory and Noble Brown - while those opting for the F-Sport will choose between Black and Flare Red. Also setting the F Sport apart are sports seats, black headliner, unique steering wheel and alloy pedals.

A feature unique to the hybrid model is the company’s new BladeScan Type Adaptive Highbeam Headlight System, a world first feature that shines light onto a fast-spinning blade mirror and then to the road ahead via a lens. But what does that mean in the real world? According to Lexus, the Bladescan lights are more than 10 percent brighter than the adaptive LED headlights fitted to the rest of the range, and they extend the high-beam reach, of pedestrians situated in close proximity to a shaded vehicle, from 32 metres to 56 metres. 

As for practicality, Lexus has improved the third-row seating situation in the RX L model, which now features two different seating positions as well as increased leg room. Furthermore, the second row seats now have electric adjustment.

The engine line-up soldiers on as before with the conventionally-powered 350 variants motivated by a normally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 engine that features both direct and port fuel injection. Sending power to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, the motor produces 221kW and 370Nm. 

In the RX450h hybrid variant, the aforementioned 3.5-litre engine is paired with electric motors and a CVT transmission for a total system output of 230kW.

PRICES:

Lexus RX 350 EX - R1 012 000

Lexus RX 350 EX L - R1 087 000

Lexus RX 350 F Sport - R1 132 200

Lexus RX 450 h SE - R1 315 800

IOL Motoring