Toyota’s luxury brand – Lexus, sells some sporty, fun-to-drive cars, but the 2022 RX isn’t one of them. Despite its aggressive styling and available F Sport model, the RX is a big softie that delivers a creamy ride and two fuel-efficient powertrain offerings. A 3.5-litre V6 is standard, but you can upgrade to a hybrid powertrain that makes 308 horsepower. The standard RX is a two-row, five-seat affair, but there’s also an extended-length L model that seats up to seven passengers across three rows.
Inside, the RX offers a plush cabin with plenty of technology features and premium finishes appropriate for this segment of compact luxury SUVs.If you’re looking for smooth-riding luxury with a practical twist, the RX is a great option.
The RX receives only minor changes for 2022, including newly standard fog lamps and a trio of new colours: Cloudburst Grey, Iridium, and Grecian Water. The Black Line special edition models return for 2022 with another 2,500 limited examples all sporting darkened exterior trim, black wheels, and a matching Zero Halliburton luggage set. Unfortunately for Kenya and East Africa, Lexus isn’t represented officially by a local distributor, so customers have had to contend with grey market imports, of which I must say the RX is one of most popular – just as its Japanese Toyota Harrier cousin.
The F Sport models look the coolest, with the lightly optioned RX350 F Sport. Of the RX’s many option packages, Navigation package which features a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display, in-dash navigation, a DVD/CD player, and a 12-speaker audio system, is a show stopper.
As aforementioned, buyers can have their RX in two distinct flavours. The popular models badged RX350 are powered by a 3.5-litre V6 while the RX450h comes with the V6 plus two electric motors. If you’re an urban dweller and probably go off the beaten track never so often, the best option is the RX350 with all-wheel drive. The RX450h is one of the segment’s few hybrids, but is also as popular as the former. Both offerings are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
What the RX does best is ride comfortably – it irons out rough stretches of road and delivers a compliant ride. The cabin remains quiet and well isolated from the road noise, making the RX an excellent long-distance cruiser. Fuel efficiency is where the RX450h shines, and not just because it’s offered with an optional hybrid powertrain. Both the RX350 and the RX450h will outperform their factory numbers so long as your right foot isn’t too heavy on the gas pedal.
Lexus never skimps on materials unlike its sibling, so for the RX’s interior, fine materials have been chosen, including soft leather, textured metallic or wood trims, with no or few soft-touch plastics. The driving position is comfortable and easy to settle into, with the infotainment system operated by controller just after the shifter. Luckily, Lexus adds touchscreen capability to the RX’s infotainment system.
While it’s not quite the cargo-hauling champion, the RX comes close when it comes to space for carry-on suitcases behind its rear seats. With its second row folded – a process done either from the side door or from the cargo area – the RX will manage to pack in the segment’s record of 24 cases, although folding the rear seats does not yield a completely flat load floor.
The Enform infotainment system is easy to tune and comes standard with many of the automotive world’s most modern and sought-after features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and onboard Wi-Fi are all included. An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard. Upgrading to the 12.3-inch display not only provides a wider viewing screen, it also adds in-dash navigation, a 12-speaker audio system. A nine-speaker setup is standard, as is a DVD/CD player, and access to the Lexus Enform App Suite. This collection of apps provides access to internet connectivity from the infotainment system.
A 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system is optional, as is a rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones and dual 11.6-inch monitors. It is wise to note that the grey market imports will differ slightly when it comes to these options so it is well advised to source carefully and wisely in order to receive all that you desire from the Lexus RX.
Standard driver-assistance features add more incentive to buy, but a more comprehensive offering of standard driver aids could move the RX higher in this segment. Key safety features include standard automated emergency braking, standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and standard adaptive cruise control.
The Lexus RX is surprisingly fuel efficient given the engine capacity, has plenty of standard safety technology and has a very comfortable ride, from its sporty appearance and aggressive styling. The fact is it’s slower, but one doesn’t buy the RX to win drag races, but to look great hauling kids from school, cruising on road trips and on your daily urban jaunt, all whilst in an eye-grabbing, efficient and luxurious state. Skip the L’s cramped rear row, the stock RX suits five well.
With age comes benefits. Lexus’ traditional spin on luxury motoring does, in many eyes, have its charm and makes for an alternative to the glitz-filled modernisms favoured by the German marques that the Japanese brand wishes to be measured against.
There’s also the Lexus mantra of continually honing and refining a model line throughout its lifecycle even if some of it is inconspicuous and somewhat hidden from plain sight, a sort of corporate ‘honour’ that its vehicles deserve a sense of innate solidity that lines such as RX have become renowned for.
Also, and quite importantly, buyers might be drawn to Lexus in search of value. Where Euro contemporaries like to charge extra – and handsomely so, for finery and frills, it’s something of Japanese hallmark to load in more kit for your coin as a measure of premiumness.
Visit any of the myriad of car yards that dot Nairobi and you’re sure to get a line into importing a recent or even brand new – zero mileage, Lexus RX.