Lexus RX review - Interior, design and technology
The new RX is far from subtle, but it's exceptionally well built cabin and much improved infotainment system are up there with the best in this class
If you’ve never been a fan of Lexus’ design, then this RX is unlikely to be the car that wins you over. The fifth-generation model features the latest interpretation of the brand’s signature spindle grille now called the ‘Spindle body’ because of how it’s integrated into the look of the taller, more squared-off front end. It’s flanked by redesigned LED headlights retaining the model’s L-shaped light signature, while the lower section of the front apron looks sportier than before, with more imposing vertical air intakes.
In profile, the previous model’s black C-pillars have been carried over, giving a ‘floating’ look to the roof. The lines are more sweeping compared with the angular surfacing of the previous car, plus at the rear is a full-width LED light bar – a common feature on premium SUVs these days, including the mid-size Lexus NX. Wheels up to 21 inches in diameter are available, too.
It might not have the same interior wow factor as the recently updated Mercedes GLE or BMW X5, but there’s no faulting the RX’s materials or build quality. All the main touchpoints feel solid and things like the door handles and centre console openings are superbly damped. As you’d expect for a large SUV, there is lots of legroom for those in the rear seats, and despite the RX’s tapered roof, there’s plenty of headroom, too.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
A major flaw of Lexus cars until very recently was their infotainment system, but thankfully the new set-up in the latest RX, NX and fully electric RZ 450e is a big leap forward. The previous-generation model’s infuriating touchpad has been replaced by a large 14-inch touchscreen that responds immediately to inputs, either from the touchscreen itself or from buttons on the steering wheel. The user interface is also better than ever, but you might still prefer to use wireless Apple CarPlay or wired Android Auto to mirror your smartphone, which works well. The integrated sat-nav is a little hard to read at times, combining a white road with a light background.
The new infotainment system is joined by a small digital instrument cluster and a set of digitised climate control dials taken from the smaller NX. These are much easier to use than any touch-sensitive sliders we’ve used, although you still have to use the touchscreen to control the heated and ventilated seats.
Voice control is taken care of by the ‘Hey Lexus’ virtual assistant, and the new RX’s infotainment suite is now compatible with over-the-air updates for fixes and new functions.
In this review
- 1Lexus RX reviewThe new Lexus RX is more efficient than ever, with much improved technology on board, but it comes up short in terms of practicality
- 2Engines, performance and driveWith a choice of self-charging and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the latest Lexus RX is more refined than ever
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe plug-in hybrid RX 450h+ is our pick of the range, especially for business users
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe new RX is far from subtle, but it's exceptionally well built cabin and much improved infotainment system are up there with the best in this class
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceBoot capacity isn't the best, but there's plenty of room in the cabin
- 6Reliability and safetyThe RX has plenty of safety tech, and Driver Power results suggest the flagship SUV will be very dependable