The last-generation RX was elegant and beautifully built on the inside and Lexus has improved on a winning formula by bringing it right up to date with modern features and technology. Typical of contemporary designs, the dashboard is topped by a large infotainment screen and the whole environment is modern and constructed of high-quality materials, with tasteful and subtle use of ambient lighting, colors, and textures. Thematic ambient lighting with custom themes is standard from Premium+ level and adds a bit of atmosphere to the elegant furnishings. F Sport models benefit from more heavily bolstered seats and other sporty touches. HVAC controls still use hard buttons, and not every possible function has been relegated to the touchscreen. Everything is pleasingly familiar, and all major controls are in the same place as before, just thoroughly updated and modernized. There are a few ergonomic glitches, though, with both the Prius-like shift lever and some touch-sensitive steering-wheel controls being tricky to master. General comfort is excellent, and the environment is tasteful - and hushed on the move.
The biggest news this year is that there are only five seats in the Lexus RX, as it's no longer offered in a three-row derivative with seating for seven. Granted, the third row of the previous RX-L was extremely cramped and probably only used by small children, but it was useful on the school run. Still, there is plenty of space in the front of the RX, with 41.1 inches of legroom and between 38.1 and 39.5 inches of headroom, depending on the roof option chosen.
But in the rear, the 38.5-38.6 inches of headroom and 37.4 inches of legroom are slightly less than one would expect, considering the wheelbase is longer this year - ostensibly to improve rear legroom. It's not cramped, but rear headroom is marginal for tall people and it's a missed opportunity to provide more space than its compact rivals. Rear-seat access is good, with not much of a duck required to get into the second row, despite the sloping roofline. There is enough seating adjustment for any driver to get comfortable, and sight lines are good, although the tapering rear and thick D-pillars restrict over-the-shoulder vision somewhat.
|Lexus RX Trims||RX 350||RX 350h||RX 350 Premium||RX 350h Premium||RX 350 Premium Plus||RX 350h Premium Plus||RX 350 Luxury||RX 350 F SPORT Handling||RX 350h Luxury||RX 500h F Sport Performance|
|Headroom Front Seat||39.5 in.||39.5 in.||38.1 in.||39.5 in.||38.1 in.||39.5 in.||38.1 in.||38.1 in.||39.5 in.||38.1 in.|
|Headroom Back Seat||38.6 in.||38.6 in.||28.5 in.||38.6 in.||28.5 in.||38.6 in.||28.5 in.||28.5 in.||38.6 in.||28.5 in.|
|Legroom Front Seat||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.||41.1 in.|
|Legroom Back Seat||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.||37.4 in.|
|Shoulder Room Front||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.||58.1 in.|
|Shoulder Room Rear||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.||56.5 in.|
|Hip Room, Front||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.||56.7 in.|
|Hip Room, Rear||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.||55.9 in.|
The RX 350 and RX 350 Premium have NuLuxe leatherette upholstery and the base car's interior is available in two color schemes - Macadamia/Black Cascade black/Black Cascade. The RX 350 Premium has access to four color schemes - Birch or black with black open-pore wood trim, or Palomino or Macadamia with Ash Bamboo trim. Moving up to the RX 350 Premium+, leather upholstery becomes standard but the available color schemes are exactly the same as those of the Premium. The RX 350 Luxury upgrades to semi-aniline leather upholstery and comes with a choice of three color schemes - black or Peppercorn leather with black open-pore wood or Macadamia leather with Ash Bamboo trim. The interior colors of the Lexus RX 350 F Sport Handling suit its sportier approach and it comes with either black or a striking Rioja Red NuLuxe leatherette, both with Dark Graphite Aluminum trim. The interiors of the hybrids mirror their corresponding gas trims and the RX 500h F Sport Performance mirrors the RX 350 F Sport Handling.
With a useful 29.6 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row, the cargo space in the Lexus RX is much improved and nearly double that of the old RX, which had only 16 cubes. You'll fit at least six carry-on cases in there, which should suffice for four or five passengers. The 40/20/40-split rear seat in the new RX doesn't fold completely flat, making for a trunk floor that slopes upward toward the front seats. With the seat folded, 46.2 cubic feet of space is liberated.
There are two cupholders in the center console to the right of the shifter for the front-seat passengers and the rear occupants get two pop-out cupholders in the fold-down center armrest. The front passenger compartment has a traditional glovebox and a special phone cubby under a sliding lid at the front of the center console as well; there is center-console storage, and door pockets in all the doors.
The interior of the Lexus RX is well-equipped even from the base model and the leatherette upholstery looks smart, even if it isn't the real thing. The front seats are heated and there is ten-way power adjustment for driver's seat and an eight-way power passenger seat. Standard features include keyless entry and push-button start, an electrically adjustable steering column, three-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, the new Lexus Interface multimedia system, and the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 driver-assistance suite that includes features such as pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, intersection support, adaptive cruise control, and road-sign assist.
Further up in the lineup, additional features become available, such as leather upholstery, thematic ambient lighting, a ten-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, heating and ventilation for both the front and rear seats, a power-folding rear seat, a wireless phone charger, and additional safety assists, such as a digital rearview mirror and a surround-view monitor.
The brand-new Lexus Interface infotainment system is a big advance on the old touchpad-based system and far easier to use, although it's still not quite as intuitive as we'd hoped. The base and Premium trims get a 9.8-inch touchscreen that offers subscription-based Drive Connect cloud navigation, a Hey Lexus assistant, and Destination Assist. Standard features include Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi capability, SiriusXM with a three-month Platinum subscription, voice commands, and a 12-speaker audio system. A wireless charging pad is optional on the base car and standard from Premium level.
A larger 14-inch touchscreen is optionally available on the Premium and F Sport trims and standard from Premium+. Standard from Luxury level and up - and optional on Premium+ - is a ten-inch head-up display. A 1,800-watt, 21-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system is available only on the Premium+ and Luxury trims and on none of the others.
With all five seats in place, the trunk of the Lexus RX holds 29.6 cubic feet of luggage. With the 40/20/40-split second row folded, 46.2 cu-ft of space is available.
Unlike the previous RX, the new 2023 RX is a five-seater, not a seven-seater. No third row is available, not even optionally. An upcoming three-row Lexus will fill this niche.
The RX has two cupholders in the center console next to the gearshifter for the front-seat occupants and two in the center fold-down armrest between the rear-seat occupants, for a total of four.