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Lexus RX

Lexus RX

Overview
The Lexus RX is a crossover sport utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

 (SUV) sold since 1998 by Lexus
Lexus
is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus marque is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has...

, the luxury division of the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. Three generations of the Lexus RX have been produced to date, the first being compact
Compact SUV
Compact SUV is a class of small sport utility vehicles with a length roughly between . This class should not be confused with mini SUV, which refers to smaller vehicles.- Background :...

 in size, and the latter two classified as mid-size. Prior to the third generation model, Japanese sales occurred under the name Toyota Harrier (トヨタ・ハリアー) as the Lexus brand had yet to be launched in Japan.

In the Lexus model lineup, the RX sits below the company's other SUVs, the GX
Lexus GX
The Lexus GX is a mid-size sport utility vehicle sold in North American and Eurasian markets by Lexus. The first generation GX 470 was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2002 as a 2003 model, and subsequently became the third SUV to enter Lexus' lineup. The 4.7 L V8...

 and LX
Lexus LX
The Lexus LX is a full-size sport utility vehicle sold by Lexus since 1996. Three generations of the Lexus LX have been produced, all based heavily on the long-running Toyota Land Cruiser series of SUVs. The first generation LX 450 debuted in 1996 as Lexus' first entry into the SUV market. Its...

, but remains the brand's only crossover model.
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Encyclopedia
The Lexus RX is a crossover sport utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

 (SUV) sold since 1998 by Lexus
Lexus
is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus marque is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has...

, the luxury division of the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. Three generations of the Lexus RX have been produced to date, the first being compact
Compact SUV
Compact SUV is a class of small sport utility vehicles with a length roughly between . This class should not be confused with mini SUV, which refers to smaller vehicles.- Background :...

 in size, and the latter two classified as mid-size. Prior to the third generation model, Japanese sales occurred under the name Toyota Harrier (トヨタ・ハリアー) as the Lexus brand had yet to be launched in Japan.

In the Lexus model lineup, the RX sits below the company's other SUVs, the GX
Lexus GX
The Lexus GX is a mid-size sport utility vehicle sold in North American and Eurasian markets by Lexus. The first generation GX 470 was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2002 as a 2003 model, and subsequently became the third SUV to enter Lexus' lineup. The 4.7 L V8...

 and LX
Lexus LX
The Lexus LX is a full-size sport utility vehicle sold by Lexus since 1996. Three generations of the Lexus LX have been produced, all based heavily on the long-running Toyota Land Cruiser series of SUVs. The first generation LX 450 debuted in 1996 as Lexus' first entry into the SUV market. Its...

, but remains the brand's only crossover model. As one of the earliest luxury crossovers on the market, the Lexus RX has inspired similar competitors from rival marques. Based on the unibody front-engine, front-wheel drive multi-model platform used by the Lexus ES
Lexus ES
The Lexus ES series is a family of mid-size luxury sedans sold by Lexus since 1989. Now in its fifth generation, the series has been consistently built on the Toyota Camry platform with a V6 engine, automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive...

, the RX is designed to combine the functional characteristics of an SUV with ride and features of a luxury sedan. Its commercial success as the best-selling Lexus model has been partially attributed to the strong reliability reputation held by Toyota and in turn Lexus. The success of the RX has been particularly strong in the United States where it has been the best-selling luxury SUV since its introduction. Manufacture of the RX has occurred at the Miyata plant in Miyawaka, Fukuoka
Miyawaka, Fukuoka
is a city located in Fukuoka, Japan. The city was founded on February 11, 2006, from the merger of the towns of Miyata and Wakamiya, both from Kurate District....

, Japan since launch. However, the RX remains notable as the only Lexus model to be also manufactured outside of Japan, with North American market non-hybrid versions produced at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. is a Canadian automotive manufacturer and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation...

 plant in Cambridge, Ontario
Cambridge, Ontario
Cambridge is a city located in Southern Ontario at the confluence of the Grand and Speed rivers in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is an amalgamation of the City of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the hamlet of Blair.Galt covers the largest portion of...

 since 2003.

Currently in its third generation, the RX series has comprised both front-
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 and four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 configurations and offered several gasoline
Petrol engine
A petrol engine is an internal combustion engine with spark-ignition, designed to run on petrol and similar volatile fuels....

 powertrain options. Lexus fitted original RX series from 1998 with a 3.0-liter V6 engine
V6 engine
A V6 engine is a V engine with six cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of three cylinders, usually set at either a right angle or an acute angle to each other, with all six pistons driving a common crankshaft...

 and marketed this model as the "RX 300". The Japanese market Toyota Harrier also offered a 2.2-liter inline-four, later uprated to 2.4-liters. Lexus released the second generation in 2003 as the "RX 300" (3.0-liter V6) or "RX 330" (3.3-liter V6), depending on the market, although both variants were supplanted in 2006 by the more powerful "RX 350" (3.5-liter V6). Like the previous series, a 2.4-liter inline-four engine sold alongside the 3.0-liter V6 in the Japanese market Toyota Harrier. In 2005, a hybridized
Hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles , which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.-Power:...

 gasoline-electric version of the 3.3-liter second generation model was made available as the "RX 400h" in export markets and as the "Harrier Hybrid" in Japan. For the third and current iteration released in 2009, Lexus initially offered both "RX 350" (3.5-liter V6) and "RX 450h" (3.5-liter V6 hybrid) models, with an entry-level "RX 270" (2.7-liter inline-four) offered since 2010 in some Asian markets.

1998–2000


In February 1997, Lexus debuted the "Sport Luxury Vehicle" (SLV) concept, a prototype crossover SUV, at the Chicago Auto Show
Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show is held annually in February at Chicago's McCormick Placeconvention complex. It is among the largest auto shows in North America....

. This concept, which appeared close to production, combined the characteristics of an SUV, wagon, and sedan. In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, the SLV concept appeared in first-generation Toyota Harrier form in December 1997 (codename SXU10 and MCU10 for the front-wheel drive models, and SXU15 and MCU15 for the all-wheel drive models). Two engines were available, the 2.2 L 5S-FE I4
Straight-4
The inline-four engine or straight-four engine is an internal combustion engine with all four cylinders mounted in a straight line, or plane along the crankcase. The single bank of cylinders may be oriented in either a vertical or an inclined plane with all the pistons driving a common crankshaft....

 which produced 102 kW JIS
Japanese Industrial Standards
Japanese Industrial Standards specifies the standards used for industrial activities in Japan.The standardization process is coordinated by Japanese Industrial Standards Committee and published through Japanese Standards Association.-History:...

 and 191 newton metre, and the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 which produced 161 kW JIS
Japanese Industrial Standards
Japanese Industrial Standards specifies the standards used for industrial activities in Japan.The standardization process is coordinated by Japanese Industrial Standards Committee and published through Japanese Standards Association.-History:...

 and 304 newton metre. Both engines could be specified with either front or all-wheel drivetrains. All models came with an automatic transmission
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

. In Japan, the first-generation Harrier was a sales success, and many went to other right hand drive markets in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 as grey imports.

The Lexus RX 300 made its sales debut in America in March 1998 as a 1999 model following its premiere at the 1998 North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show is an annual auto show held in Detroit, Michigan at Cobo Center, usually in January. It is among the largest auto shows in North America.-History:...

, it was powered by an LEV certified 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 producing 220 hp SAE and 222 lbft of torque, mated to a 4-speed automatic in either front or all-wheel drive variations. On the exterior, the RX featured heated mirrors, automatic light-sensing headlights, a low step-in entry height, and an overall drag coefficient of 0.36 Cd. The front and rear lights were similarly styled, being mounted inside translucent housings, the rear liftgate had a top-mounted spoiler, and small quarter windows were located by the side-view mirrors. Ground clearance measured 20 centimetres (7.9 in). Anti-lock brakes were standard, while Vehicle Stability Control was optional. The first RX utilized a modified front-wheel drive sedan platform, derived from the Lexus ES
Lexus ES
The Lexus ES series is a family of mid-size luxury sedans sold by Lexus since 1989. Now in its fifth generation, the series has been consistently built on the Toyota Camry platform with a V6 engine, automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive...

, while having its own floorpan
Floorpan
The floorpan is a large sheet metal stamping that often incorporates several smaller welded stampings to form the floor of a large vehicle and the position of its external and structural panels....

. Upon release, the Lexus RX was an immediate hit, and sold over 370,000 units in five years.

The RX 300 interior included leather seats, wood trim, a multi-level center console with storage drawers, and individual reclining and sliding rear seats. A shift lever mounted near the instrument panel freed up floor space for additional storage. A 240-watt, 7-speaker Pioneer
Pioneer Corporation
is a multinational corporation that specializes in digital entertainment products, based in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan. The company was founded in 1938 in Tokyo as a radio and speaker repair shop...

 sound system was standard, while a premium Nakamichi
Nakamichi
is an historic Japanese high end audio company most famous for its innovative and very high quality audio cassette decks.In 1972, Nakamichi launched its first Nakamichi-brand products, home audio gear that included the world's first three-head cassette deck...

 customized sound system was available as an option. All models came standard with front seat-mounted side torso airbags. The IIHS rated the RX 300 "Good" overall in their frontal offset crash test.

2000–2003


In 2000, for the 2001 model year the RX 300 was updated. Distinguishing features for the facelift version included "Altezza
Altezza lights
Altezza lights are vehicle tail lamp clusters consisting of one or more internal lamp units, covered with a clear acrylic cover made popular by Lexus...

" rear light cluster and larger wheels. This facelift version signified the introduction of the RX 300 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 for the first time; the front-wheel drive version was not offered in either Europe or Asia.

The Harrier continued largely unchanged until November 2000, when the 2.2 liter 5S-FE engine was replaced by the 2.4 liter 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engine, producing 117 kW JIS
JIS
JIS is a three letter acronym that can stand for:*Japanese Industrial Standards**JIS encoding**Shift JIS**Horsepower*Jakarta International School*Jeddah International School*Jerudong International School*Jabriya Indian School*Just in Sequence...

 and 221 newton metre. As before, the engine was offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The change in engine also meant a change in model code, which was now ACU10 for the front-wheel drive version and ACU15 for the all-wheel drive version. A small facelift was also performed on the Harrier.

In 2001, the RX gained a number of options, including a DVD-based automotive navigation system
Automotive navigation system
An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations...

, a wood and leather trimmed steering wheel, and tow hitch receiver. Cabin equipment options were grouped into new package offerings. For safety, Vehicle Stability Control became standard. In 2001, a limited edition "Silversport" was offered that included a monochromatic paint scheme in Millenium Silver or Black with an all black interior and perforated leather seats. Exclusively for 2002, Lexus introduced the limited RX 300 "Coach Edition
Coach (company)
Coach, Inc. is an upscale American leather goods company known for ladies' and men's handbags, as well as items such as luggage, briefcases, wallets and other accessories . Coach also offers watches and footwear.- History :Coach was founded in 1941, in a loft in New York...

," featuring perforated leather trim in the interior, honeycomb grille, Coach badging on the exterior and interior, and a set of Coach luggage. A burgundy exterior color, Venetian Red Pearl, was offered on 1999–2000 year models.

2003–2006


In January 2003, Lexus unveiled the second-generation model of its best-selling luxury crossover SUV at the North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show is an annual auto show held in Detroit, Michigan at Cobo Center, usually in January. It is among the largest auto shows in North America.-History:...

, featuring a newer, sleeker body style with a 0.35 Cd figure and new LED tailamps. The basic chassis was shared with the Highlander SUV, with underpinnings derived from the MC midsize front-wheel drive platform. The second generation RX, called the RX 330 for the North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern markets, began sales in March 2003. The RX 330, codename MCU33 and MCU38 arrived in the US as a 2004 model year vehicle.
In February 2003, the second generation Toyota Harrier (codename ACU30 and MCU30 for the front-wheel drive models, and ACU35 and MCU35 for the all-wheel drive models) was launched in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Mechanical specification was largely similar to the first-generation Harrier, with the same engine and drivetrain combinations (2.4 L and 3.0 L V6 with or without all-wheel drive). The main difference was a new 5-speed automatic transmission with +/- shift replacing the 4-speed item in the 3.0 L V6, the availability of "AIRS" air-suspension on the 3.0 L V6 models, and an optional Pre-Collision System (PCS).

The second generation Lexus RX launched in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 markets in early 2003 (including Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, where it succeeded the previously sold Harrier, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

). It was still the RX 300 and made in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Mechanical specifications were more or less identical to the 3.0 L V6 Harrier, with only the all-wheel drive version available, and air-suspension optional. All North American models were also built in Japan until September 2003, when RX 330 production began at the TMMC plant in Cambridge, Ontario
Cambridge, Ontario
Cambridge is a city located in Southern Ontario at the confluence of the Grand and Speed rivers in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is an amalgamation of the City of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the hamlet of Blair.Galt covers the largest portion of...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.
The RX 330 was powered by a 3.3-liter ULEV certified 3MZ-FE
Toyota MZ engine
The Toyota MZ engine family is a V6 piston engine series. The MZ series has an aluminium engine block and aluminium alloy DOHC cylinder heads. The cylinders are lined with cast iron, and is of a closed deck design . The engine is a 60 degree V6 design...

V6, producing 230 hp SAE and 238 lbft mated to a 5-speed automatic and was available in either front or all-wheel drive. Height-adjustable air suspension
Air suspension
Air suspension is a type of vehicle suspension powered by an engine driven or electric air pump or compressor. This pump pressurizes the air, using compressed air as a spring. Air suspension replaces conventional steel springs. If the engine is left off for an extended period, the car will settle...

 was again an option on the all-wheel drive models. The new RX interior featured genuine Golden Bird's Eye Maple or Walnut wood trim, a sliding multi-level center storage console, dual-zone climate control, tilt steering column, and eight airbags including a driver's knee airbag. Available options included a 210-watt, 11-speaker Mark Levinson
Mark Levinson
The company Mark Levinson, now owned by Madrigal Audio Laboratories specializes in high-end digital audio processors, integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, pre amplifiers, and CD players...

 premium sound system, DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

-based navigation system with backup camera
Backup camera
A backup camera is a special type of video camera that is produced specifically for the purpose of being attached to the rear of a vehicle to aid in backing up. Backup cameras are alternatively known as 'reversing cameras' or 'rear view cameras'....

, rear seat DVD player with wireless headphones, panoramic three panel moonroof, a new Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) with swivel headlights, Dynamic Laser Cruise Control system, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and rain-sensing
Rain sensor
A rain sensor or rain switch is a switching device actuated by rainfall. There are two main applications for rain sensors. The first is a water conservation device connected to an automatic irrigation system that causes the system to shut down in the event of rainfall...

 wipers
Windscreen wiper
A windscreen wiper or windshield wiper is a device used to remove rain and debris from a windscreen or windshield. Almost all motor vehicles, including trains, aircraft and watercraft, are equipped with such wipers, which are usually a legal requirement.A wiper generally consists of an arm,...

.
The world's first luxury hybrid, the RX 400h premiered at the 2004 North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show is an annual auto show held in Detroit, Michigan at Cobo Center, usually in January. It is among the largest auto shows in North America.-History:...

 in Detroit and went on sale in North America in April 2005, and the equivalent Harrier Hybrid went on sale in Japan on March 2005. The debut model was first offered in all-wheel drive, codename MHU38, and in 2006 a front-wheel drive version was added, codename MHU35. Europe and Asia also received the hybrid RX in 2006. The RX 400h featured Lexus Hybrid Drive
Hybrid Synergy Drive
Hybrid Synergy Drive is a set of hybrid car technologies developed by Toyota and used in the company's Auris, Prius, Highlander Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, Estima, Alphard, Lexus CT, Lexus RX 400h/RX 450h, Lexus GS 450h, Lexus LS 600h/LS 600hL, and Lexus HS 250h automobiles. Toyota also licenses its HSD...

, which combined a 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE
Toyota MZ engine
The Toyota MZ engine family is a V6 piston engine series. The MZ series has an aluminium engine block and aluminium alloy DOHC cylinder heads. The cylinders are lined with cast iron, and is of a closed deck design . The engine is a 60 degree V6 design...

 V6 engine and electric motors. The RX 400h's hybrid powertrain resulted in performance akin to a V8 with improved fuel economy and lower emissions, and greater passing power. VDIM replaced the VSC system on the RX 400h. The RX 400h featured styling differences with the conventional gas-powered RX, including brushed aluminum interior trim in place of wood, round foglights, and a different grille; after 2007, additional exterior hybrid signifiers were added.

2006–2009


In 2006 for the 2007 model year, the RX received a mid-cycle refresh consisting of a new 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 replacing the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 on non-hybrid models, updating the vehicle's name from RX 330 to RX 350, with new model codes GSU30 and GSU35. In 2007 for the 2008 model year, the RX received a revised grille, chrome door handles, available new seven-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, and new exterior choices.

Sales of the second generation Lexus RX continued the success of the RX series for Lexus. In 2006, the RX series sold over 108,000 units, making the Lexus RX the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.

2009–present


At the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show, the LF-Xh concept was unveiled, hinting at the styling direction of the next RX. Later in November 2008, the redesigned third generation RX premiered at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, appearing as the standard RX 350 (GGL10/GGL15) and hybrid RX 450h (GYL10/GYL15). The Japanese market Toyota Harrier was discontinued, with previous generation sales held for several months following the third generation's debut. The move to stop re-badging of Lexus models in Japan as Toyotas was because Toyota was starting to introduce the Lexus brand in Japan (prior to this, the Lexus brand was limited to overseas markets).

The redesigned RX 350 features a revised 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine producing 275 hp with a wider power curve, it remains ULEV-II certified and now uses a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift. A double wishbone rear suspension setup replaces the previous MacPherson strut
MacPherson strut
The MacPherson strut is a type of car suspension system which uses the axis of a telescopic damper as the upper steering pivot. It is widely used in modern vehicles and named after Earle S. MacPherson, who developed the design.-History:...

 design for improved handling and greater cargo space, while an optional Sports Package adds a performance-tuned suspension. Both non-hybrid and hybrid models continue in either front or all-wheel drive configurations, with the all-wheel drive system gaining Active Torque Control for greater efficiency, and all models are built off the new midsize flexible K-platform. American RX 350 sales began in February 2009 as a 2010 model.
In keeping with L-finesse design language, the new exterior styling includes a rear spoiler which hides the rear window wiper and radio antenna creating a less cluttered appearance. The drag coefficient
Drag coefficient
In fluid dynamics, the drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment such as air or water. It is used in the drag equation, where a lower drag coefficient indicates the object will have less aerodynamic or...

 on the latest RX 350 has been reduced to 0.33 Cd
Automobile drag coefficient
The drag coefficient is a common metric in automotive design pertaining to aerodynamic effects. As aerodynamic drag increases as the square of speed, a low value is preferable to a high one...

. Exterior dimensions are increased, with cargo room increased by five percent. Standard features range from SmartAccess
Advanced Key
Smart key is an electronic access and authorization system which is available as an option or standard in several cars. It was first used by Mercedes-Benz in 1998.-How it works:...

, a keyless entry and start system, to an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) instrument display. Options include the Remote Touch
Remote Touch
Remote Touch is a vehicle interface system developed by Lexus for use in conjunction with in-car information, configuration, and entertainment systems. The Remote Touch controller, which is similar to a computer mouse or joystick, allows the driver to operate an on-screen cursor on the vehicle's...

 controller, similar in function to a computer mouse, a heads-up display (HUD), XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio is one of two satellite radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It provides pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service includes 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional...

, a 15-speaker 330-watt Mark Levinson
Mark Levinson
The company Mark Levinson, now owned by Madrigal Audio Laboratories specializes in high-end digital audio processors, integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, pre amplifiers, and CD players...

 Surround Sound audio system and a dual-screen Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES). Safety features range from ten airbags to Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC), Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management is an integrated vehicle handling and software control system developed by Toyota. It involves an omnibus computer linkage of traction control, electronic stability control, electronic steering, and other systems, with the intent of improving responsiveness...

 (VDIM), Pre-Collision System (PCS), and backup camera
Backup camera
A backup camera is a special type of video camera that is produced specifically for the purpose of being attached to the rear of a vehicle to aid in backing up. Backup cameras are alternatively known as 'reversing cameras' or 'rear view cameras'....

 plus Wide-View Side Monitor.
The Lexus RX 450h, which went on sale in mid-2009, is equipped with a 3.5-liter 2GR-FXE
Toyota GR engine
The Toyota GR engine family is an open-deck, V6 piston engine series. The GR series has a 60° die-cast aluminum block and aluminum DOHC cylinder heads. This engine series also features 4 valves per cylinder, forged steel connecting rods, one-piece cast camshafts, and a cast aluminum lower intake...

V6 engine, now running on the Atkinson cycle
Atkinson cycle
The Atkinson cycle engine is a type of internal combustion engine invented by James Atkinson in 1882. The Atkinson cycle is designed to provide efficiency at the expense of power density, and is used in some modern hybrid electric applications.-Design:...

, which produces 245 hp; by incorporating a more powerful inverter and electric motors, total horsepower reaches 295 hp. Two additional systems are added to the RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, an exhaust-heat recovery system to reduce engine warm-up periods (optimizing engine start-stop times), and a water-cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation
Exhaust gas recirculation
In internal combustion engines, exhaust gas recirculation is a nitrogen oxide emissions reduction technique used in petrol/gasoline and diesel engines. EGR works by recirculating a portion of an engine's exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders. In a gasoline engine, this inert exhaust...

 (EGR) system to reduce engine pumping losses. A new ECO mode helps the driver improve fuel economy by controlling air conditioning and throttle inputs, while a driver selectable EV drive mode allows for electric-only propulsion at low speeds. Visually, the RX 450h receives a unique grille with modified front fascia, blue-tinted headlamps and tail lamps, hybrid badging, different wheels, and optional LED headlamps. In the US market the RX 450h went on sale in early June 2009.

In August 2010, Lexus began offering the RX 270 (AGL10), a front-wheel drive model with a 2.7 L 1AR-FE
Toyota AR engine
The AR engine family is a straight-4 piston engine series by Toyota, first introduced in 2008 for the RAV4, and subsequently for the Highlander, Venza, and Camry.The AR series uses a die-cast aluminium engine block and aluminium DOHC cylinder head...

four-cylinder engine, in Japan, China, and Russia. The RX 270 was a new entry-level offering for the RX lineup, produced with a lower base price and fewer emissions.

Starting in mid 2006 (2007 model year), and with updates to the navigation system after this date, the Lexus navigation system disables specific features, including access to the address book, when the car is moving. Lexus states this is a safety feature and offers voice access and a paid phone-in subscription service called Lexus Assist to allow the setting of the navigation system while moving, although the voice commands do not allow access to all features.

Awards

  • J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

     presented the Cambridge South Plant where the RX is built the 2010 Gold Plant Quality award to the employees of the best automotive manufacturing facility in North & South America.
  • 2009 Ward’s Interior of the Year gave the 2010 RX interior the Design Harmony award.
  • J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

     named the Lexus RX the best entry luxury SUV in its 2001, 2004, and 2005 Initial Quality Surveys.
  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2004 – Lexus RX 330.
  • R. L. Polk & Co., automotive marketing research firm, gave the RX series its Polk Automotive Loyalty Award in the Midsize Sport Utility Vehicle category in 2005 for customer retention. The RX series received this award again for 2006.
  • The Lexus RX was named most appealing luxury SUV by J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

     in 1998 and 2004.
  • Intellichoice named the Lexus RX the Best Overall Value in the SUV market over $30,000 in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
  • Australia's Best Cars competition named the Lexus RX as Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2003 and 2004.
  • Kelley Blue Book
    Kelley Blue Book
    Kelley Blue Book, headquartered in Irvine, California, is the United States' largest automotive vehicle valuation company. The company's website is a source for new and used vehicle pricing and information...

     gave the RX its Best to Hold Value Award in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
  • Money magazine named the RX 300 the Best Deal on the Road in the SUV class in 1999.
  • The RX 300 was Motor Trend
    Motor Trend
    Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

    magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year
    Car of the Year
    Car of the Year is a phrase usually considered to have been invented by Motor Trend magazine in the 1950s for their annual award for best American automobile...

     for 1999.
  • The Lexus RX came 3rd in the Top Gear Satisfaction Survey 2005, beaten only by the Lexus IS
    Lexus IS
    The Lexus IS is a series of entry-level luxury cars / compact executive cars sold by Lexus since 1998. The IS was introduced as an entry-level sport model slotted below the ES in the Lexus lineup...

    , and the Honda S2000
    Honda S2000
    The Honda S2000 is a roadster that was manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It was launched in April 1999 and was created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The car was first shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, following which it was launched in...

    .

Sales figures


Sales data in United States for the Lexus RX are as follows, sourced from manufacturer yearly data:
Generation (chassis code) Model no(s). Calendar year Total sales, U.S. (hybrid)
MCU10/MCU15
RX 300 2000 89,864
2001 77,426
2002 72,963
2003 92,366
MCU33/MCU38 RX 330 2004 106,531
MCU33/MCU38/MHU33 RX 330/400h 2005 108,775 (20,674)
MCU33/MCU38/MHU33/MHU38 2006 108,348 (20,161)
GSU30/GSU35/MHU33/MHU38
RX 350/400h 2007 103,340 (17,291)
2008 84,181 (15,200)
GGL10/GGL15/GYL10/GYL15 RX 350/450h 2009 93,379 (14,464)
2010 95,790

External links