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The facelifted Lexus RX adds up to far more than the sum of many small improvements

27 Jun 2012

THE RX SUV is a vital part of the Lexus sales volume holy trinity, along with the IS executive sedan and CT200h hybrid hatch.

This mid-life facelift will no doubt cement its position in the range as it comes with hefty price cuts, improvements to standard equipment and a new front-drive, four-cylinder entry-level variant to provide a competitor – at least on price – against the smaller BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

As well as the new Lexus corporate face and the addition of performance-oriented F-Sport variants, the RX has received numerous small improvements – but is this enough for Lexus to remain relevant in the high-stakes luxury SUV arena?

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 June 2012 to 1 October 2015

Previous model


Released: March 2009
Ended: June 2012
Family Tree: RX

THE third-generation Lexus RX was built on a new platform, with new rear suspension, transmission and all-wheel-drive system, plus new technologies such as adaptive cruise control and proximity-sensing keyless entry and start.

Its entry-level 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, producing 204kW and 346Nm, was a revision of the previous generation’s powerplant.

The hybrid RX450h – which replaced the outgoing RX400h – added front and rear electric motors to a 183kW/317Nm V6 petrol engine and automatic electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) to produce a combined 220kW and punchy performance.

At the time of its launch, the RX450h took the title of Australia’s most fuel-efficient luxury SUV with an official combined consumption figure of 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

Get the full story: Lexus has launched a sweeter RX350 in an effort to match the luxury German SUVs

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