Lexus RX returns to black
Tom Cruise in Impossible mission couldn’t meet the kind of challenge Lexus has with their RX SUV.
You all know the RX. You should do it, it’s the best-selling luxury sport-ute in the United States. By a pretty huge margin. And he achieved this quite remarkable feat despite having changed little in the past six years.
And, I hasten to add, that sales supremacy continued despite the RX having a face that only a mother could love.
So how did this mid-sized sport-ute manage such a Impossible mission-style task? Let me count the ways.
First, Lexus essentially created the luxury SUV segment in 1998 with this first Camry-based model in the shape of a bar of soap.
And, since that initial release, it hasn’t stopped providing the interior with softer leather and fancy trims than a Coach handbag store.
Then there was the emphasis on quality and reliability, backed by the reliability and quality awards from JD Power and Associates year after year. Bulletproof doesn’t even come close to describing it.
And despite constant criticism, mostly from the automotive media, that the RX just wasn’t sporty enough, Lexus stuck to what it knows best: luxury and sophistication.
Another reason for the dominance of RX sales is that Lexus continues to give owners a reason to go back and buy a new one. Hybrid versions, stretched versions, F-Sport models and a flood of limited edition offers.
Everything from the Pebble Beach edition to the Thundercloud edition to the Silversport edition. And yes, there was a Coach edition in leather with a sophisticated Coach luggage set.
Fast forward to today and the latest RX Limited Edition is the F-Sport Black Line which is available on the RX 350 and RX 450h. The L models too. I just spent a week driving this 350 painted in a very jazzy shade of blue that Lexus poetically calls Greek water.
Nothing really exciting here. But just enough to distract a next-gen buyer from excellent rivals, like the formidable new 2022 Genesis GV80, Lincoln’s new Nautilus and Aviator, and Acura’s MDX.
With the Black Line RX you get unique body paint, 20 inch black painted alloys, gloss black surround for that polarizing ‘pin’ grille, and black paint for the ‘swoop’ along the bottom of the sides. doors. This is called an “appearance pack”
Slide inside and there are black Nuluxe leather seats with white accent panels and blue colored stitching, blue stitching around the steering wheel and shifter, and blue border for the carpets. They even threw in a few Lexus-branded Zero Halliburton rolling suitcases.
I know. It’s hardly worth the effort. But that’s another reason for the seller to call an existing RX customer after a three-year lease, or an owner switching from Lexus’ smaller NX model. Or someone who just wants a sportier RX.
For me, it was another chance to remind myself of all that there is good about this luxury family carrier that always sells well.
It is always so velvety and refined. While its competitors look to smaller, typically more frenetic, turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the RX sticks to its Teflon-like V6.
As before, the whispering 3.5-liter engine produces a meaty 295 horsepower, and mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, delivers swift performance with amazing levels of refinement.
All the reinforcements of the F-Sport chassis and adaptive variable suspension don’t make too much of a difference to the handling of the RX. The emphasis here is always on a smooth, mellow ride, undemanding steering and civilized handling. In other words, exactly what the target buyer wants.
But if you’re not looking to be the first to pull away from traffic lights or take turns like an Andretti, this F-Sport Black Line will give you all the excitement you need.
Lexus has actually just announced a new series of limited edition Black Line models, this time with the choice of White Pearl or Caviar – it’s gray paint. Although this time, alas, no free luggage.
The 2022 RX350 Black Line starts at $ 49,450 with the RX 450h AWD Black Line hybrid sticker for $ 52,150. The longer-wheelbase RX 350L Black Line starts at $ 52,030 with the hybrid kicking off at $ 55,290.
Go get them before they’re gone.