Lexus began with a premise: that a Japanese luxury brand can make cars to compete with the world’s (read: Germany’s) finest. From the critically-praised and financially successful Lexus LS sedan, the brand has branched out into all avenues of the high-end car market, from hybrid hatchbacks to sports coupes to supercars.
Practically from scratch (and with the backing of now the world’s largest automaker), Lexus built up its brand promise primarily on reliability and service. Among its current lineup, Lexus’ most successful catetory is probably its SUVs. Now spanning a lineup of five distinct models, from compact urban runabout to true offroader.
UX: Born as a city vehicle
The smallest and yet perhaps the most enticing is the UX compact SUV. The UX was conceived to entice newcomers to the Lexus brand, or perhaps those who are craving a more personal luxury experience. The UX was born as a city vehicle, with superb maneuverability thanks to a tight 5.2m turning radius.
Behind the UX’s mean-looking schnozz is a 2.0-liter DOHC gasoline engine. Equipped with VVTi, it generates 168hp and 205 Nm. 0-100kph time is 8.9 seconds.
UX’s interior includes a 10.3-inch multi-information display that enables connectivity to phone-based audio and mobile calls, as well as driving information. The instrument cluster is based on a 7-inch Optitron meter with large color head-up display. Seats are trimmed in Sashiko-quilted leather, a uniquely Japanese take on a plush interior. The UX is built like a Lexus, with high-tensile steel platform and precision laser screw welding.
NX: One of the safest SUVs around
One small step up from the UX is the NX, formerly the smallest SUV offering from Lexus. The NX was one of the first vehicle to embody Lexus’ new angular styling, its sheet metal slashing its way from bumper to roofline. Complementing the modern styling are touches like triple wide-angle LED cornering headlamps and taillights.
The NX likewise has a large 10.3-inch screen mounted high on its dashboard, for easy visibility and control. Loading cargo is easy thanks to the available hands-free power tailgate. The NX is one of the safest SUVs around, with parking assist and wide cornering lamps.
The NX 300h is powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, good for 153hp and 210 Nm. It’s paired with two motors, with a total system output of 194hp. EV drive mode allows silent and zero local-emissions driving. The NX 300 features a 2.0-liter engine with twin-scroll turbocharger, putting out 235hp and 350 Nm. 0-100kph is rated at 7.1 seconds, with a 200kph top speed.
RX: Heart of the Lexus SUV lineup
The heart of the Lexus SUV lineup is the RX, the first luxury crossover from the brand. The midsize SUV is well-endowed with a 3.5-liter quad-cam 24-valve V6, good for 296hp and 370Nm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 0-100kph is 7.7 seconds, with a 200kph top speed.
The RX has several variants to cater to a wide market segment. Available are a seven-seat long-wheelbase version, for when a minivan just isn’t good enough. There’s also a hybrid variant capable of 17.5 km/liter mileage , thanks to dual electric motors with 308 hp total system output.
There’s the RX F Sport, which adds a sporty mesh grille trimmed in satin chrome, sport seats and pedals, perforated leather trim to match with your favorite chronograph strap, and F Sport instrument cluster with digital display and illuminated needles. The RX’s audio unit is based on an available 12.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
GX: Leather-trimmed seating for seven
If no road is your preferred road, Lexus has at the ready its GX luxury midsize SUV. The GX is built on a body-on-frame, offroad platform, the only one in its class. It’s powered by a 4.6-liter V8 with 292hp and 438 Nm paired with a six-speed transmission.
A Torsen limited-slip center differential with electronic differential lock helps the GX power its way out of muddy situations. On board is a Multi-Terrain Select system that allows the driver to choose settings ideal for mud, sand, rock and dirt. An adaptive variable suspension can raise the vehicle for additional clearance offroad, and adjusts shock damping while driving, ensuring that the GX delivers a smooth ride on road as well. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System helps with stability on the road, while allowing front and rear stabilizer bars to allow full suspension travel in off-road situations. A panoramic view monitor enables the driver to take in a 360-degree view of the surroundings. The GX hasn’t forgotten luxury, with leather-trimmed seating for seven.
LX: Flagship SUV
Then there’s the ultimate Lexus SUV, the flagship LX. Built on an off-road platform proven to be capable on nearly any terrain, the LX is is powered by a 5.7-liter V8. Its 362 hp and 530Nm drives all four wheels full-time via an eight-speed automatic. Adaptive variable suspension, high-strength chassis, and multiple drive modes are some of the features that will help keep the LX going no matter what’s underneath the 18-inch tires. A Crawl Control system allows the SUV to automatically maintain a slow and steady pace over terrain.
Lexus describes the interior as opulent, with such touches as a sculpted wooden steering wheel and Shimamoku light and dark wood veneer trim. Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel with memory feature, four-zone climate control, HD entertainment screens for the rear passengers, and power folding rear seats head a long list of standard equipment.
With one of most extensive and diverse lineups in the luxury SUV segment, Lexus has nearly all adventurers covered.