The old Lexus RX had been on sale in Singapore for six years, with a facelift halfway through its tenure here. Making it look even older is Lexus’ own NX, a sporty and youthful compact crossover with a choice of hybrid or turbo power.
Some of the NX’s sportiness appears to have rubbed off on the exterior of the new RX. Design highlights include a collection of “origami” creases in the bodywork, blacked-out C-pillars that provide a “floating-roof” effect, and “flashy” LED turn signal lights that illuminate sequentially (like on current Audis).
The default wheel size is 18-inch, with the bigger option being 20-inch instead of the outgoing model’s 19-inch. The 20-inch alloy wheels come with a shiny chrome finish, like the surround of the car’s spindle grille.
Said grille, especially with the F Sport variant’s aggressive mesh treatment, is dramatic enough to scare kittens and kids.
But the new cabin will calm them down, and adults will be put at ease, too, because interior space has been made even more generous by the 50mm longer wheelbase and slightly larger body. The headroom is great and the rear legroom is comparable to that of Lexus’ long-wheelbase LS limousine.
The boot is roomy, too, with 519 litres of evenly shaped cargo space that can be tripled by folding down the backseats (with convenient powered operation).
Under the boot floor is additional storage space, and the floorboard comes with a classy chrome latch instead of the previous RX’s flimsy plastic latch.
The tailgate can be opened by placing a hand over the Lexus emblem – an interesting feature, but it’s neither easier nor faster than the usual method of pressing a button somewhere above the rear licence plate or on the remote key.
More useful than the unique “handsfree” feature for the boot are the upgrades for the cockpit. The layout of all the switches is tidier, the gearlever is nearer, and the standard equipment is superior to that in the recently retired RX.
For instance, the top-spec version gets a stylishly integrated 12.3-inch infotainment system, with slick graphics and quick responses to “mouse” inputs from the improved Remote Touch system.
Other improvements include an electric parking brake (instead of the old model’s foot-operated pedal), an actual clock (instead of the old model’s cheap “Casio” digital readout) and dual-depth cupholders.
The wood trim choices are nice, and not in an “uncle” sort of way, with the nicest being laser-cut timber supplied by piano maker Yamaha.
Revving up the interior is the optional F Sport package, which includes aluminium accents, a funky LCD instrument cluster, and shapelier, more supportive front seats.