By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

The ever-popular RX350 hybrid enters 2023 with a bang, as in an almost all-new version. The Lexus is up in wheelbase by 2.3, front and rear track by 0.5 and 1.7 inches respectively. And most noticeable is that the previous 6-cylinder is now replaced by a 4, but with plentiful power to boost confidence in a driver.

Under the hood of the five-passenger luxury SUV now sits a 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine, mated to electric motor/generators, putting out 246 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 233 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. Drive modes include eco, normal, sport and EV. Up front is theMacPherson strut but the rear gets an all-new multilink suspension system.

The RX350h is fitted with a 259-volt nickel-metal hydride battery under the rear seat, which is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the continuous variable transmission-equipped car gets a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the batteries.

The most evident exterior feature of the RX350 is the exceptionally huge spindle grille flanked by triple Bi-LED headlights and daytime running lights. A walkaround the vehicle reveals a single-lens taillamp wraparound the body, flush window, door molding and rear spoiler. Step in to find the center stack angled toward the driver, making it easier to control buttons on the dashboard. The abundant sprinkle of black open pore wood and Ash Bamboo results in an eye-catching cabin. And we can’t forget to mention the ultra-suede door trim. The 10-way cooled/heated power front semi-aniline leather seats, three-spoke power tilt/telescopic leather steering column, push-button start, multi-zone a/c, 40/20/40-split recline/slide fold rear seat, gated shifter, 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, head-up display and power tilt/slide panoramic roof, hands-free lift gate come at no cost. Indeed, there is a new look and design for the central console box. The mammoth 14-inch infotainment touchscreen atop the dashboard is a standout.

Ten airbags, vehicle stability/traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, blind spot monitor, rearview camera, keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard. The updated Lexus Safety Sense 3.0 translates into a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, proactive obstacle anticipation/road sign/lane trace assists, lane departure alert and dynamic cruise control.

Looking for fewer stops at the pump in your luxury ride? With gas prices still above $3 a gallon, the RX350 hybrid makes perfect sense for a potential SUV buyer. Undoubtedly, this elegant and energetic Lexus with a purposeful interior is a best buy.


Tires: 235/50R21

Wheelbase: 112.2 inches

Length: 192.5 inches

Height: 67.3 inches

Width: 75.5 inches

Steering: rack and pinion electric power

Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons

City: 37 mpg

Highway: 34 mpg

Weight: 4,455 pounds

Base price: $58,150

Web site: www.lexus.com

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