- New 19-inch wheels
- Upgraded interior
- There's now an F-Sport version of the popular RX
The nose houses what Lexus calls a "spindle" grille with cinched-in sides, something that will be applied across the whole Lexus family. In this instance, it is complemented by a new 19-inch alloy wheel design. The cabin also receives an upgrade with a new instrument binnacle, new steering wheel (said to be more comfortable), new trim finishes and a greater choice of color schemes.
There's even the introduction of the second-generation Remote Touch Interface. This is an alternative to a touchscreen and does away with the need to keep the screen within reach. It's like a computer mouse crossed with a joystick, where the user moves it around to select and control various in-car functions. It even "pushes back" a bit to let the user know that the operation has been a success - the technical term is "haptic feedback."
The RX was the first crossover SUV to feature a hybrid drivetrain. This revamped 2013 version brings a new selectable mode to the RX450h's Normal, Eco and EV (electric vehicle) settings: Sport.
In those first three modes, the instrument panel is bathed in cool blue ambient lighting. Hit the Sport button and that illumination turns red as the drive system is re-calibrated to offer more performance. The throttle becomes more responsive, the steering is similarly sensitive to driver inputs, while the traction and stability controls provide more leeway before cutting in.
That doesn't seem to have been enough for the Lexus product planners, though, because they have also created a new RX version - called the F Sport. Distinguished by its more extreme spindle grille and darker alloy wheels, the F Sport also has its suspension re-tuned for greater agility and high-speed stability.
F Sport guise is only applicable to the RX350, whose 270-hp V6 engine remains unchanged. But the six-speed automatic transmission can now be actuated by steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
What it means to you: If you're looking for a Lexus RX, you may want to wait a few months for the newest facelift. There may be great deals available for the outgoing model, too.