The previous Lexus RX has been on sale in Singapore for six years, with a facelift halfway through its tenure. Making it look even older is the Lexus NX, a new youthful compact crossover.
Some of the NX's sporty design appears to have rubbed off on the exterior of the new RX, which remains a sizeable vehicle. Its interior space is even more generous than before, thanks to a wheelbase that is 50mm longer and a slightly larger body.
The boot area is roomy, too, and the tailgate can be opened by placing a hand over the Lexus emblem. More useful than this interesting "hands-free" feature for the boot are the upgrades in the cockpit.
The layout of the switches is tidier than before and the amenities are better. For instance, the top-of-the-line version gets a stylishly integrated 12.3-inch infotainment monitor, with attractive graphics and quick responses to "mouse" inputs from the improved Remote Touch system.
Other improvements include an electric parking brake and a lasercut wood trim. The optional F Sport package comes with aluminium accents, a funky LCD instrument cluster and shapelier, more supportive front seats.
SPECS/LEXUS RX200T; RX450H
Price: To be announced
Engine: 1,998cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged; 3,456cc 24-valve V6 hybrid
Transmission: Six-speed automatic; continuously variable transmission with manual override
Power: 238bhp at 4,800rpm; 263bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1,650-4,000rpm; 335Nm at 4,600rpm
0-100kmh: 9.5; 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 200kmh
Fuel consumption: 8.4; 5.7 litres/ 100km
Agent: Borneo Motors
On the move in the 2-litre turbo RX200t and 3.5-litre petrol-electric V6, the quietness of the new car is obvious. There is negligible tyre patter from the fender areas and no wind noise is noticeable from the windows when travelling on the freeways. Those windows are silent even while being lowered or raised.
Visibility from the driver's seat is very good, helped by the larger window panes at the base of the A-pillars and a variety of cameras/monitors.
The RX200t is a lot less urgent than the NX200t with the same turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder because the RX weighs at least 200kg more.
In the RX, the cabin is better insulated from the engine. Its six-speed automatic transmission also shifts more slickly.
The new RX450h offers a much tighter drive than the old one. Yet, the new model is able to travel 3km to 4km farther on every litre of petrol in mixed city-highway driving.
The acceleration is significantly stronger, accompanied by smoother powertrain transitions between the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motors. The car also reacts more positively to driver inputs made through the steering wheel, throttle pedal and paddle shifters.
When taking a corner, the RX resists lateral body movements with surprising success for a sport utility vehicle of its disposition and weight (1,965-2,105kg). Credit for this goes to the vehicle's active stabilisers, called Roll Skyhook Control by Lexus. It works well.
Working well, too, is the optional Adaptive Variable Suspension, which adjusts the damping force automatically to keep the ride unruffled, be it on perfect tarmac or broken bitumen.
Even without this, the suspension is well balanced. Overall, the ride quality seems a little worse off for rear occupants.
Lexus' latest SUV is expected to make its Singapore debut in December, initially with the RX200t and RX350, followed by the RX450h next year.
• The writer is the editor of Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.