The 2016 Lexus RX got quite a facelift this year and it’s now an edgy crossover that does not blend in with the pack. It starts with that huge spindle grille up front and lots of angles that say this crossover means business. Yes, it’s a luxury car with all the amenities and style that image conjures, but it has a hefty dose of performance that makes it a joy to drive.
We had the opportunity to take the new Lexus RX for a spin during a media test drive in beautiful North Carolina. The weather did not cooperate with a gray sky and showers, but that couldn’t dampen our excitement at getting behind the wheel of the RX.
You have your choice of several different models, each focused on a different driver. It all begins with the RX 350 at a starting price of $41,900. That price is notable because it’s an incredible deal for a luxury crossover. Sure, there are cheaper cars, but if you want to get into a luxury crossover, this is a great price.
The RX 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower so this little crossover moves. You can get as sporty as you like with the Drive Mode Select button. Choose Eco for a more reserved and fuel efficient drive, Normal, or Sport for the most fun. This is the mode you want to use on those twisty, turning back roads.
The RX 350 achieves fuel economy of 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23 mpg combined, but if that’s not good enough, then you can opt for the RX 450h hybrid. Starting at $52,235, the hybrid has a gas Atkinson-cycle V6 with a Lexus Hybrid Drive that gets a combined 30 mpg. Save money at the pump and do some good for the environment at the same time.
Both models are also available in the performance-focused F Sport. You want power? You want handling? You want to feel like you’re driving a sporty car as you take the kids to soccer practice or head out with the hubby for a night on the town? The F Sport is the model for you.
Since this is a Lexus, every trim is luxurious with beautiful, soft leathers, and wood and metallic accents. The car is comfortable, luxurious, and wonderfully quiet. There are lots of cubbies for storing gadgets and one of our favorite completely unnecessary but fabulous features – adjustable cup holders.
At the touch of a button, the bottom of the cup holder raises and lowers to accommodate any size drink. They’re independent from each other, too, so you can put your small water bottle and your gigantic convenience store soda next to each other and they’ll both be secure.
Technology is more important than ever in our increasingly connected lives and Lexus has you covered. The Lexus Enform App Suite features apps for all your needs from music to restaurants to news. There’s also an available navigation system with voice activation that includes 3D city views that make it much easier to find your way through tangled city streets.
The whole thing can be controlled through the Remote Touch system which features a little square toggle that operates like a computer mouse. It rests where your hand sits when you put your arm on the center console. This year, they’ve added little enter buttons on either side of the toggle and they make the system even easier to control.
Entertainment includes an available 15-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system which sounds fabulous. No matter where you sit in the car, the sound is rich and full and fills the cabin space with music. Little passengers in the back aren’t forgotten with an available dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system. A single remote controls the LCD screens on the backs of the front headrests which can show DVDs and CDs or be used as a game console screen through input jacks. This is a lifesaver on a long road trip.
Another lifesaver is a new convenience feature that will help when you’ve got your arms full and can’t quite reach the latch to open the trunk. There’s no foot waving required. Instead, hold your hand over the Lexus emblem on the back of the trunk and it opens right up. It also works for your shoulder, your elbow, and your head. Yes, we tried because we simply had to know.
Safety features with the latest technology help keep you and your loved ones safe. These include numerous airbags, lane-keep assist, and an available Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. The system will detect objects like cars and pedestrians and automatically hit the brakes if you aren’t paying attention.
The 2016 Lexus RX offers a little something for everyone in the market for a luxury crossover. You can opt for the base 350 or try the hybrid if you’re more environmentally conscious and want better fuel economy. If you want a little more kick to your drive, then try out the F Sport. No matter which model you choose, you get Lexus luxury, style, and elegance in a beautiful package.