Like the cars it sells, Lexus Manila hosts events that are classy and relaxed. The already spiffy showroom is dressed up even more, a musical performance is staged, and delicious catered food is served. But last Thursday night, we noticed right away that the décor was extra special, the stage was a little more elaborate (there were two), and there were video walls all around the venue. Clearly, an extra-special model was about to be launched.
The importance of the RX was due to one simple fact: Prior to the arrival of the IS compact sedan, the RX had been the brand’s bestseller. And we’re not just talking about the local market: Over in North America, the RX is the choice of families and so-called soccer moms.
With the new generation, it’s clear that Lexus wanted to up the style factor of its popular crossover. Whereas its predecessor was conservative and safe in its design, the new RX announces its presence with a massive spindle grille, including a chrome-plated border and triple ‘L’ LED headlights. The turn indicators are actually 18 LEDs that surround the main lights, and they illuminate sequentially from the inside out when signaling a turn--a first for Lexus.
The LED taillights maintain the design consistency, including the sequential turning illumination. Another Lexus first are the blacked-out C-pillars, and they give the RX a floating-roof effect.
To cosset the passengers, cabin space has been improved by lowering the rear floor, giving the new RX comparable space to the flagship LS sedan. For better golf-bag storage, the cargo space has also been enhanced so that it can swallow four large suitcases. For easy access, the RX450h variant exclusively has the Touchless Power Back Door, which allows owners to open the rear hatch just by touching the Lexus emblem (which actually debunks "touchless").
Powering the new RX is either a 3.5-liter V6 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, or a 3.5-liter V6 hybrid engine. The regular V6 puts out 291hp and 360Nm, while the hybrid generates 308hp and 335Nm. As expected, airbags galore protect occupants from undesirable occurrences.
Naturally, the RX we want is the F Sport variant. It has impressive and striking quilted red leather seats, and smooth metal finishes. There’s a more daring vibe to the RX cabin, one that eschews the traditional look of the old one. There’s also a perforated leather shift lever and a three-spoke steering wheel with an F Sport badge. An eight-inch LCD screen stylishly serves as the instrument cluster, and this is characterized by a circular gauge that combines a tachometer with a digital speed indicator.
What driving enthusiasts should look forward to is the Adaptive Variable Suspension that controls the damping force of the shock absorbers at each individual wheel. The AVS can suppress body roll in accordance with the road surface.
So, are you hankering for an RX? Here are the prices of the three available variants:
* RX450h - P5,978,000
* RX350 F Sport - P4,938,000
* RX350 Premier - P4,068,000
We hear the first batch of units is almost gone, if not spoken for entirely. Time to drop by the Lexus showroom if you’re interested.
Photos by Dinzo Tabamo