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2016 Lexus RX: New York Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2016 Lexus RX has been completely redesigned for the latest model year. Now entering its fourth generation, the RX boasts a new look inside and out, along with updated powertrains and a few new features.

The most striking change to the RX is its new styling, which brings the crossover’s look from familiar to futuristic. There’s an unusual D-pillar, now partially finished in black, along with a more aggressive spindle grille, narrow headlights and taillights, and far more angular styling that gives the SUV a bolder, more modern look. Much of the RX’s appearance is borrowed from the smaller NX crossover, which recently went on sale.

Things are dramatically different on the inside, too. The RX offers a totally updated cabin, with a new steering wheel, new center stack, revised dashboard and a standard 12.3-inch infotainment system. Unfortunately, the RX hasn’t added a third-row seat for 2016; it’ll continue to offer a 5-passenger seating capacity.

Under the hood, the RX sees modest changes. The gas-powered V6 that comes standard in the RX 350 now makes 300 horsepower, up from last year’s 270 hp, while the hybrid-powered RX 450h also sees a slight power boost to 300 hp. A new 8-speed automatic should help improve fuel economy figures, though exact numbers have not yet been announced.

As for new equipment, the 2016 Lexus RX offers a fair bit. The most important update is the brand’s new Safety System+, a massive safety-minded option package that lumps together lane departure warning, blind spot alert, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist and other systems.

How Much?

Although Lexus hasn’t announced official pricing, we don’t expect it will stray too far from today’s model, which starts around $42,000 with shipping for the gas-powered V6 and $48,500 for the hybrid.

When Can You Get It?

Late 2015

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The RX has long been the most popular Lexus on the market and one of the most popular luxury SUVs overall. Lexus looks to build on the RX’s impressive success and attract new buyers with some major updates to the latest model, including new styling, new transmissions, updated engines and new features. Although shoppers who need a third-row seat still have to look elsewhere, the RX offers many compelling reasons why it will likely remain one of the top luxury SUVs on the market.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Acura MDX — The MDX offers standard 3-row seating, a powerful V6, reasonable pricing and a lot of tech. There’s no hybrid powertrain option, but the MDX is still a highly compelling choice in the midsize luxury SUV world.

2015 BMW X5 — If you’re interested in a little more performance than the RX offers, consider the BMW X5. Prices are higher, but handling is sharper, and you’ll get unparalleled German-car build quality.

2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class — The M-Class offers similar sizing to the RX, along with more powerful varieties. You’ll pay a premium for the 3-pointed star on the grille, though.

Used Infiniti JX — The Infiniti JX (now called the QX60) offers many of the same traits as the RX, including a standard V6, an available hybrid powertrain and a wide range of modern technology. Its larger size and standard third-row seat means higher prices, however, so you may want to consider a used model.

Used Lexus GX — If you need a little more power and capability than the RX provides, consider the 3-row Lexus GX, which uses a standard 4.6-liter V8. New prices are much higher than the RX, however, so you may want to consider a used model.

See all 2015 New York Auto Show articles

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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