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2012 Geneva Motor Show: Updates for the 2013 Lexus RX

Consumer Reports News: March 06, 2012 02:53 PM

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Shown at the Geneva Motor Show, now underway, the Lexus RX luxury SUV features a number of updates for the 2013 model year. The exterior has a new grille, front bumper cover, and headlamps and taillights. A Sport appearance package is new for 2013 and features a unique front bumper, halogen lights, and 19-inch chrome wheels. The new look brings the RX in line with the latest front designs as seen on the GS, LX, and CT models.

Inside, the steering wheel and center console have been redesigned. A power liftgate and USB iPod/mp3 control are now standard. A new interface for the touch screen is also available and Lexus claims it “is more intuitive in its design and use.” We hope this will address some of our criticisms with the current controls, as we found ordinary tasks took too much attention and the driver's eyes from the road.

The powertrains carry over. The 2013 RX 350 will have a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 270 horsepower.

The RX 450h hybrid features a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine with electric motors producing 295 horsepower combined. The RX 450h now features a Sport mode with revised steering and shifting control. Fuel economy for the hybrid is estimated at 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The all-wheel drive version earned EPA ratings of 30 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

In our tests of both RX models, we found the powertrains polished and the interiors luxurious and quiet. However, handling was lackluster and rear visibility and cargo volume impaired by the sloped rear styling. No word on updates in these areas.

The freshened Lexus RX hits dealerships this spring.

Liza Barth

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