2023 Lexus RX Review: An Elegant New Take on an Old Favorite

  • 2023 Lexus RX ($48,550 – $62,750)
  • “Top Safety Pick” – IIHS
  • Pro: The Lexus RX is completely redesigned and soldiers on with an impeccable build quality and a host of luxurious amenities.
  • Con: The RX still doesn’t have the most engaging driving dynamics.

The Lexus RX was completely redesigned for the 2023 model year. However, those familiar with the luxury brand, or the RX models from years past, will find a lot of familiar touches in this new version. The 2023 Lexus RX features the same tried-and-true formula of a soft, upscale interior with bold exterior aesthetics. We spent some time in the 2023 Lexus RX 350h and came away impressed with its new updates, but we also felt like we were hanging out with an old friend.

2023 Lexus RX 350h near some trees
2023 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

What’s new for 2023?

The 2023 Lexus RX 350 now rides on the GA-K platform, making it 198 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. It’s also more rigid, lower, and longer, and its suspension has been revised for a more comfortable ride. Lexus revised the RX’s exterior and interior extensively but kept the same overall appeal. Additionally, a new RX 500h F Sport model joins the trim lineup.

Which 2023 Lexus RX trim level is right for you?

2023 Lexus RX 350h side view
2023 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Shopping for a 2023 Lexus RX could be quite the task, as there are 10 different trim levels to choose from:

  • RX 350: $48,500
  • RX 350h AWD: $50,150
  • RX 350 Premium: $50,550
  • RX 350h Premium AWD: $52,150
  • RX 350 Premium +: $53,150
  • RX 350h Premium + AWD: $54,750
  • RX 350 Luxury: $56,550
  • RX 350h Luxury AWD: $58,150
  • RX 350 F Sport Handling AWD: $57,750
  • RX 500h F Sport Performance AWD: $62,750

The 2023 Lexus RX 350h model that we tested for a week was the Luxury trim. It was a pre-production unit, which meant that it had a few kinks to work out, but it was still indicative of the brand’s exceptional build quality and attention to the finer details.

The 2023 Lexus RX sports a familiar but updated new look

2023 Lexus RX 350h front end
2023 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Looking at the 2023 RX from front to back, it’s clear the Japanese automaker didn’t want to stray too far from the original formula. There’s no longer a “spindle” grille upfront; it has been replaced by a more integrated version that looks like a cheese grater. It’s far less offensive than the one from years past, but it still stands out.

There are bold rear wheel arches that give the car an athletic profile, and the “floating roof” design gives the roof a disconnected look at the C-pillars. In the rear of the car, there’s a wraparound taillight that’s also seen on the smaller NX model.

Is the Lexus RX comfortable?

Yes, the interior of the 2023 RX is a comfortable place to spend time. The cabin is spacious, and there’s plenty of room in both rows for passengers taller than six feet. Gone is the nearly useless third row, which leaves a lot of room for cargo. The rear seats are also reclinable now, and there are HVAC, heated/ventilated seat buttons, and USB ports for occupants back there.

The front seats are comfortable and hug you in all the right places. All of the buttons on the center console are easy to reach as well, and the visibility out of all four corners is excellent. There’s also a new Prius-style shifter, which takes a little getting used to – but once you do, it’s intuitive.

How’s the tech in the Lexus RX?

The 2023 Lexus RX has plenty of new tech features. Thankfully, Lexus did away with the touchpad controller on the center console to toggle through the infotainment system. A 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now standard, and a 14-inch unit is available. Our test car came with the latter, and we appreciated its clear graphics and easy-to-use interface.

There’s also a volume knob and two climate control knobs, which are within easy reach, but we would have liked to see a tuning knob to make changing radio stations easier. The other downside is that many of the features need to be adjusted on-screen, including the different drive modes (sport, comfort, etc.).

Fortunately, the system is equipped with a voice-controlled assistant, so saying “Hey Lexus” and then a command will make certain features easier to access. Other standard tech features include a 7-inch digital instrument panel, wireless Android Auto/Apple Carplay, HD radio, satellite radio, a 12-speaker sound system, six USB ports, and Bluetooth.

Stepping up into the higher trims will unlock more features like a 21-speaker premium sound system, wireless phone charging, and a moonroof.  

How does the Lexus RX drive?

The 2023 Lexus RX has a smooth and steady ride that stays composed over road irregularities and sharp dips. Its cabin is quiet, and its steering is comfortable, if not a little numb. That said, the RX is not a “driver’s car,” and that’s OK. Most buyers won’t care about its lack of steering feedback anyway.

When it’s time to stop, the RX’s brakes provide plenty of stopping power, although the brake pedal feels vague in its operation. We mainly equate that to our tester’s hybrid nature, though. Speaking of the hybrid powertrain, under the hood is a 2.5-liter engine paired with an electric motor.

They work well together and provide plenty of low-end grunt to get the car moving up to highway speeds quickly. The hybrid system is also very fuel-efficient, as we were able to average around 32 mpg in mixed highway and city driving during the week we had the loan.

How much power does the Lexus RX have?

2022 Lexus RX 350h engine
2022 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The new RX 350 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that produces 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, and it is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to U.S. News, “It enables quicker off-the-line acceleration, thanks to the engine’s plentiful low-end torque, and it confidently zips the SUV around town.”

The RX 350h models are powered by the aforementioned 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, which produces 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque. It’s available in either a front or all-wheel drive configuration.

The RX 500h is what Lexus calls a “high-performance hybrid” as it matches a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine matched to a Power Control Unit, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission. There’s an 80-kW motor between the rear wheels, which provides instantaneous torque to the rear wheels.

Together, the system produces 366 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is a monstrous amount of power for a luxury crossover. Additionally, the RX can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

How safe is the 2023 Lexus RX?

2023 Lexus RX 350h rear view on a mountain road
2023 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated the 2023 Lexus RX as of this writing. However, the RX comes with a host of safety features to protect its occupants. Some of the standard features include:

  • A rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Traffic-sign recognition
  • Lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Safe exit assist

Some of the available safety features include:

  • Blind-spot monitoring with a rear-cross traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Hands-free parallel parking
  • A rear-view mirror with a camera display
  • Surround-view camera
  • Head-up display

MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Lexus RX a score of 8.1 out of 10

2023 Lexus RX 350h on a dirt road
2023 Lexus RX 350h | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The editors at MotorBiscuit give the 2023 Lexus RX an overall score of 8.1 out of 10. We like the Lexus RX’s new exterior and interior styling treatments. Its new tech features are also welcomed; however, there is a learning curve regarding some of the infotainment features.

The RX’s ride and handling characteristics are very civilized as well. But we wish there was a little more power out of the mid-tier hybrid system. Otherwise, the car’s fuel efficiency and unrivaled comfort should make luxury crossover buyers put the 2023 Lexus RX high on their shopping lists.

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