More a high riding station wagon than an 4WD the stylish Lexus RX is one of the forerunners of the upmarket SUVs that are dominating new vehicle sales these days.
Lexus is the upmarket division of Toyota and that company has many decades of all-wheel-drive vehicle engineering, particularly in Australia. There is some sharing of components between Lexus RX and its big brother, but these are chiefly in out of sight areas.
Lexus RX has been sold in Australia since 2003, The third generation Lexus RX was introduced in February 2009. It was virtually all-new and from this model onwards we are examining in detail in this checkout.
These make excellent people movers and later models are offered with five or seven seat capacity. And they have also told us the added luggage space because of their extra height.
However, the stylish slope of the rear window means that very bulky items may not fit. If you do plan to use one as a cargo carrier don’t forget to check the tail for size.
It received a modest facelift in July 2012. An important change was the introduction of a four-cylinder engine as well as 2WD (the front wheels) for the first time.
The fourth generation RX series in November 2015 and made further strides in its ability to provide smooth quiet riding with a minimum of fuss.
Lexus is famed for its refinement and quiet, smooth running. Upmarket materials and the quality of fit and finish inside was good right from the start, yet has reached even higher levels in subsequent models.
Most Lexus RXs are powered by a twin-cam V6 petrol engine, with a capacity of 3.5 litres which drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The company has long been strong in the petrol-electric hybrid field with all of its models having petrol-electric power. Look for a lower-case ‘h’ in the model name, for example Lexus RX400h. The engine doesn’t have a 4.0-litre petrol engine as its title suggests, it’s actually 3.3 litres, but Lexus calculates it has the performance of a 4.0-litre petrol engine due to the added torque which is such a feature in all electrically powered vehicle.
Australia Lexus dealers are mainly in metropolitan areas of capital cities and major regional and country locations. Should you need work done in other areas some top Toyota mechanics have been trained in Lexus work.
Service and repair costs are about average for an SUV in this upmarket class and we have heard of no real complaints about cost or availability of routine spare parts.
Insurance charges don’t vary significantly between major companies, but it may be worth shopping around.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
We suggest only buying a vehicle with a full service history as this (probably) means it has been driven by a sensible person.
High build quality means that troubles are unusual. But these are complex machines and we recommend a professional inspection after you’ve completed your initial basic checks.
Look for a smoking exhaust on a high-mileage engine. It will be at its worst when the engine is worked hard.
Check the automatic transmission is all but unnoticed in its actions unless you’re accelerating hard.
Look over the interior and boot carefully because the RX is popular as a mums’ taxi and the kids may have kicked things about.
Damage indicating off-road use is most likely to be on the bumper corners, sill panels and scratches on the doors. Have a look at the underbody if you see any of the aforementioned damage.
Expect to pay from $7000 to $11,000 for a 2009 Lexus RX 350 Sports; $12,00 to $18,000 for a 2012 RX 270; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2014 RX 270; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2014 RX 270; $21,000 to $29,000 for a 2014 RX 350 F-Sport; $28,000 to $37,000 for a 2015 RX 200t Luxury; $41,000 to $54,000 for a 2016 FX 200t Sports Luxury; $53,000 to $71,000 for a 2018 RX 300 Sports Luxury; and $72,000 to $97,000 for a 2019 RX 450 hL Sports Luxury.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/