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Toyota has chosen the Geneva Motor Show to unveil the new 2013 Lexus RX luxury crossover vehicle in both the hybrid RX 450h model and the base RX 350 (shown here). The mid-size SUV is the best-selling automobile in the Lexus portfolio, and dominates the competition when it comes to premium family transportation. As a result, the redesigned 2013 Lexus RX doesn't deviate too far from the brand's successful playbook, but it does offer a fresh styling take on the established RX visual cues, as well as a few mechanical tweaks to keep things interesting.
In an effort to revitalize a design language that has been criticized in the past for being too conservative, the 2013 Lexus RX gains the 'spindle' grill look that is slowly spreading across the entire Lexus lineup. The sharp angles and vaguely trapezoidal shape of the RX's new front fascia are a departure from the more rounded appearance of the 2012 model, and it adds a sense of urgency - and even sport - to the crossover's image. The 2013 Lexus RX joins the 2013 Lexus GS sedan as the standard bearers of this new design thrust. Also putting in an appearance are LED daytime running lights up front, which have become almost mandatory in every premium segment, and the availability of the Sport Appearance Package which installs a more aggressive front bumper as well as 19-inch wheels.
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The 2013 Lexus RX has not seen any dramatic changes made to its interior, although the steering wheel has been reconfigured in order to improve driver comfort, and new trim including aluminum and wood looks is now available. The Lexus RX continues to offer high end equipment such as a heads-up display, a navigation system, an OLED information display and of course the brand's Mark Levinson audio and entertainment system.
The status quo is respected under the hood, as the 2013 Lexus RX carries over the previous model year's engines largely untouched. The RX 350 model features a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 270 horsepower, sent to either the front or all four wheels (if optional all-wheel drive is selected) via a six-speed automatic transmission. The Lexus RX 450h Hybrid combines an Atkinson-cycle, 3.5-liter V-6 with a pair of electric motors to deliver 295 horsepower and 32-mpg in city driving when found in front-wheel drive trim, along with 28-mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive Lexus RX 450h models are gifted with an electric motor that is designed to exclusively motivate the rear wheels, a feature which drops around town fuel mileage by only two miles per gallon. The RX 450h is also capable of limited operation on battery power only when in EV mode.
New for 2013 is the addition of a Sport mode to the RX 450h (shown here), which is intended to give the hybrid crossover a bit more grunt when compared to the 2012 model. Selecting Sport mode sharpens throttle response and quickens the speed of the transmission gear shifts, and it also increases the amount of effort required to steer the SUV. The 450h additionally gains the availability of an F-Sport trim level, which grafts on black chrome, front air intakes, 19-inch wheels and a honeycomb grille. Although final details have yet to be released, output for the F-Sport RX is expected to match that of the standard hybrid, although the vehicle's suspension tuning might be tweaked in order to improve handling.
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