Lexus RX Luxury Utility Vehicle for that Exquisite Touch

Lexus RX Luxury Utility Vehicle for that Exquisite Touch

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
08 Mar 2012

Featuring the new bolder, signature Lexus spindle grille and upgraded interior, the new 2013 RX will continue to be the most popular choice in the luxury crossover segment it created over 10 years ago.

The 2013 RX gets a fresh sportier look at the front with a new bumper, complemented with new headlamp design, LED daytime running lights and distinctive fog lamp bezels. The power back door and USB iPod/mp3 control are now standard. Tail lamps and the rear license plate surround get updated looks.

The luxurious and spacious RX receives numerous interior enhancements. The steering wheel has been redesigned for a more comfortable and relaxing grip. A metallic accent enhances the look of the glove box. The center console has been redesigned for versatility and easy accessibility. In addition to ECO mode, the RX 450h features a Sport mode with revised steering effort, throttle mapping and transmission-shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain. In Sport mode, the meter light changes to red.

The cabin of the 2013 RX also gets new Ebony Bird’s-Eye Maple wood trim and available Saddle Leather interior. To complement the available interior leather trim, a rich detailed contrast stitching is used on the seats, center console and door-mounted armrests. Four new exterior colors are available for the RX: Silver Lining Metallic, Claret Mica, Deep Sea Mica Fire Agate Pearl and, replacing Tungsten Pearl, Matador Red Mica and Cerulean Blue Metallic.

The Lexus RX 350 teams a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a six-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) for an output of 270 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is used to control both intake and exhaust camshafts independently; optimizing engine performance at many speeds and loads.

The RX 350’s six-speed automatic transmission yields quick shifting response with help from miniature high-flow linear solenoids that control transmission fluid line-pressure. The torque converter uses a low-speed lockup damper to enable lock-up from second to sixth gear to help improve the fuel economy.

The Multi-Mode Sequential Shift Automatic Transmission allows the driver to shift manually when desired by first moving the gated shift lever to the “S” slot and then pushing it forward ("+") to up shift and backward ("-") to downshift. An Intelligent Shift Control sets shift patterns based on the vehicle speed and throttle position and estimates road conditions and driver input to automatically control the shift pattern.

The RX 350 AWD model features an electronically controlled Active Torque Control AWD system. Active Torque Control AWD uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. When accelerating, or starting off on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, enhancing fuel efficiency.

The RX 450h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive features a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine, electric motors, a small and light power-control unit and other fuel-saving innovations. It offers V8-like performance, 295 total system horsepower and combined fuel economy similar to an average four-cylinder mid-size sedan. The Front Wheel Drive (FWD) model delivers EPA-estimated 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (30 mpg combined) fuel economy ratings, while the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) model earned EPA ratings of 30 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 29 mpg combined.

As a full hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only or gas-engine-only modes as well as a mode that combines both. Extended electric-mode operation during low-speed or stop-and-go driving conditions helps reduce fuel consumption. Under certain circumstances, a driver-selectable EV mode can allow the vehicle to be driven short distances using only the electric motors. The RX 450h achieves Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification in California (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states).

A compact 288V DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack fits neatly under the rear seat. A boost converter efficiently raises voltage to 650V DC, and an inverter converts this to 650V AC for the front-mounted 123-kW electric motor-generator. The boost converter and inverter are enclosed in the power-control unit, which also houses the condenser.

The RX 450h FWD model’s hybrid powertrain employs two motor-generators: MG1, the engine-driven generator, is a starter and can charge the battery pack or power other electric motors as needed; MG2 is the front-drive motor. Power from the gas engine and MG2 is distributed to the drive wheels via a planetary gear-type continuously variable transmission. MG1 controls the output speed of the transaxle through the planetary gear set, without clutches or a viscous coupling. MG2 delivers torque over a wide range for better response and smooth performance. When the RX 450h is coasting or braking, the electric motors function as generators, capturing energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and transforming it into electricity to recharge the batteries.

The RX 450h AWD uses a separate rear electric motor-generator to provide power to the rear wheels when road conditions or throttle response dictates. When accelerating, or starting off on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, enhancing fuel efficiency. For handling agility and control, the AWD system increases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s front tires start to lose traction and decreases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s rear tires start to lose traction. A SNOW mode slows accelerator-pedal response to help reduce the possibility of wheel spin.

Credits: wilswong

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