No fooling. Lexus has confirmed plans to pull the covers off the fourth-generation RX crossover at the New York Auto Show on April 1.
While the Lexus RX has never been seen as a particularly compelling product among the automotive media, it is a darling of upscale consumers who have made it the market’s most popular mid-luxury utility vehicle.
The new version is expected to deliver a little more passion in its design, in keeping with the mantra set by parent Toyota Motor Co. CEO Akio Toyoda. And the teaser image seen here supports recent reports that the 2016 Lexus RX will adopt a sort of floating roof design.
First introduced 17 years ago, the RX quickly become a popular alternative with soccer moms who just couldn’t imagine themselves being seen in a minivan. Minus the sliding doors, however, Lexus aimed to deliver much the same level of functionality and features commonly found in today’s vans, including flexible seating, rear-seat entertainment to keep kids occupied on a long trip, and a long list of safety features.
Expect to see that list grow even longer with the 2016 Lexus RX with additions such as rear cross-traffic alert and more advanced forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and auto braking, as well as still more infotainment options. That should include the latest Lexus Enform system with its new laptop-style touchpad controller.
The floating roof design is quickly becoming a CUV alternative to the coupe-like designs that have become so dominant in the sedan market. Nissan adopted a similar look when it launched the 2015 Murano, for example.
Lexus will also likely adopt an updated version of its signature spindle grille, in line with the face of the smaller NX crossover recently added to the luxury maker’s line-up. To better differentiate the two models, the new 2016 RX is expected to be slightly larger than the outgoing model.
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The current powertrain line-up is expected to continue over into the Gen-4 RX line-up, including a small, mileage-oriented V-6, as well as a hybrid. Some early reports have suggested a compact turbo package might be added to the powertrain mix.
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In its effort to win over younger, hipper buyers, Lexus added an F Sport version to the outgoing RX line, and that is also likely to hold over. As before, the emphasis will largely be on appearance, rather than performance.
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Pricing is expected to again start in the mid-$40,000 range and move upwards towards $55,000 or higher with a loaded 2016 RX F-Sport. The new model is expected to reach U.S. showrooms by mid-autumn.