The five-seat Lexus RX crossover has been refreshed for the 2013 model year with exterior and interior upgrades — and a new version. Joining the RX 350 and hybrid RX 450h is the sport-oriented RX 350 F Sport.
The RX competes with the Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.
Like all Lexuses have — or will have — the RX has adopted the brand's new "spindle" grille design and accompanying bumper, along with new headlights and LED daytime running lights. Around back, the taillights have also been tweaked. The F Sport has a mesh grille, distinct bumper and graphite-colored split-five-spoke 19-inch wheels. Eighteen-inch alloys are standard.
New paint options include Silver Lining Metallic, Claret Mica, Deep Sea Mica and Fire Agate Pearl, which replace Tungsten Pearl, Matador Red Mica and Cerulean Blue Metallic.
Interior changes for 2013 include a new steering wheel, a redesigned center console, new accents above the glove compartment lid and new ebony bird's-eye maple wood trim. A saddle leather interior is now optional.
Ten-way power front seats with cloth upholstery are standard. Leather trim and softer, semi-aniline leather are options. An optional leather- and wood-trimmed steering wheel is also available.
The F Sport version has standard black-leather seats with white perforations and contrast stitching. Other distinguishing characteristics include a black headliner, perforated-leather-wrapped steering wheel and aluminum pedals.
Entertainment features include USB and analog-audio inputs, Bluetooth wireless audio streaming and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a 90-day trial subscription. An optional backseat video system has dual 7-inch screens that can display different shows. A navigation system is also optional.
Under the Hood
The RX 350 is powered by a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The RX 450h is powered by a specialized version of the 3.5-liter V-6 that combines with electric motors and a high-voltage nickel-metal-hydride battery pack to produce a total of 295 hp. With optional all-wheel drive, an additional electric motor powers the rear wheels.
In combined city/highway driving, the RX 350 gets an estimated 21 mpg (20 mpg with all-wheel drive), and the RX 450h is rated 30 mpg (29 mpg with all-wheel drive).
The RX 350 F Sport version comes only with all-wheel drive and uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles in lieu of the regular six-speed. It also has a firmer ride and sportier handling.
The 10 standard airbags include knee airbags and seat-mounted side-impact torso airbags for the front and outboard rear occupants. In addition to a side impact, a sensor can deploy side curtain airbags in the event of a rollover.
Other standard safety features include active head restraints for the front seats, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and Lexus Safety Connect with a year's free subscription.
Safety options include a blind spot warning system, lane departure warning, precollision warning and a head-up display that helps keep driver's eyes on the road.
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