What Does RX Stand for in the Lexus RX? It’s Not “Prescription.”

In 1999 Lexus launched its RX 300 SUV. At the time, auto manufacturers were switching from wordy names to names that were made up of letters and numbers. Lexus was one of the first manufacturers, too, that has never had a word as a name for a model, instead they’ve all been acronyms. Really, The RX for Lexus means something more, and it’s not “prescription.”

What does the Lexus RX stand for?

White 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance AWD. Does this look "radiant" to you?
2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance AWD | Lexus

Though Lexus may have had the prescription to create a best-selling SUV, that’s not what RX stands for. Instead, RX stands for “Radiant Crossover,” and it always has, according to Lexus of England. The idea was that it represented Lexus’s future near the start of the millennium.

When the RX came out, it was radiant. It was the first luxury SUV that was based on a car. In this case, Lexus took the Camry platform and added a taller suspension and all-wheel drive to build the first RX 300 SUV. Since then, it’s sold radiantly, too, in that it’s the best-selling Lexus SUV.

What do Lexus names mean?

A dark grey 2022 Lexus NX 350 luxury SUV driving. Does this look like a Nimble Crossover?
2022 Lexus NX 350 | Lexus

Almost all Lexus vehicles are acronyms. The swoopy LC? Luxury Coupe. The LS? Luxury Sedan.

While those two names are pretty self-explanatory, what about the ES? When Lexus launched the brand in 1989, the slightly-smaller sedan was the ES, or Executive Sedan. The small and spunky NX, however, is named to be the Nimble Crossover, while its Urban Crossover counterpart became the UX. The RC has a more ambitious name: it’s the Radical Coupe.

There’s a new RX for 2023

Since the RX is the brand’s best-selling SUV, any update has to be taken very seriously. Drive through nearly any suburb and you’ll see dozens of Lexus RX SUVs, which isn’t a surprise. Lexus redesigned the RX for 2023 and added the new Lexus Safety System Plus 3.0, a new F Sport handling package, and updated styling.

It comes standard with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with front- or all-wheel drive. But, you can order it in hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The new model has a longer wheelbase, which should help with stability, but it’s the same length as the previous version, which should help with parking.

How much is a 2023 Lexus RX?

Front Cockpit 2023 Lexus RX Luxury SUV
Front Cockpit 2023 Lexus RX Luxury SUV | Lexus
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The new 2023 Lexus RX trim levels include the familiar RX350 gas-powered version, the RX350h hybrid, and the new 450h+ plug in hybrid as well as the top dog RX500h F Sport Performance version. Pricing hasn’t been released for the 2023 Radiant Crossover yet, but the base RX350 should start at about $49,000. Top trim levels, like the RX450h+ and the RX500h, should be close to $60,000.