While Lexus is trying to reinvent itself as a sporty and youthful, the current-generation RX shows that it still has a long way to go.
The RX is one of Lexus’ best-selling models, but its Highlander roots and forgettable demeanor don’t exactly help the brand’s image, and even seem to embarrass parent Toyota sometimes.
So with the fourth-generation 2016 RX, which will debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, Lexus will have to balance profitable boringness with satisfying excitement.
To do that, Lexus will likely stick with the Highlander base, but drape the new RX in more expressive styling, with a “spindle” grille and the sci-fi sculpting seen on other recent models.
If nothing else, the roofline glimpsed in Lexus’ teaser image looks fairly sleek, although it’s attached to what will probably be a fairly bulky vehicle.
Now that Lexus has the compact NX, which is actually close in size to the first-generation RX, it’s possible the new model will grow to further differentiate the two, and give passengers some extra interior space.
For powertrain options, expect adequately-powerful V6 and hybrid versions, just like the current RX. Don’t expect it to be a rocket ship.
It’s probably too much to ask that Lexus make its cushy crossover genuinely sporty, but it will at least have to improve styling, refinement, and tech for the RX to be viewed as a genuine rival to German luxury vehicles, and not just a rebadged Toyota.
The 2016 Lexus RX debuts at the 2015 New York Auto Show April 1. We’ll bring you all of the details live from the Big Apple.