By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 8/24/2012
The Lexus RX was the first mid-size luxury crossover vehicle when it debuted for the 1999 model year, and near-countless competitors have followed in the years since. Now in its third generation, the 5-passenger 2013 Lexus RX is the best-selling car for Toyota's luxury division, and it's easy to see why. The RX has the serene ride quality and superb interior craftsmanship long associated with Lexus sedans, yet has the storage capacity, seating flexibility and commanding view of an SUV. The RX model range includes a fuel-efficient hybrid gasoline-electric model and the new F Sport, which aims to inject a measure of sportiness in a model long known for its soft ride.You'll Like This Car If...
If you want the feel of a luxury sedan yet desire the cargo capacity and ride height of a mid-size SUV, the Lexus RX is an excellent choice. RX ownership is further enhanced by the Lexus reputation for quality and its lofty resale value.You May Not Like This Car If...
A corner-carver the 2013 RX is not, even with the firmer suspension of the F Sport. If driving excitement is your thing, look to the BMW X3 or Audi Q5. Those who need a luxury vehicle with off-road ability might opt for a Land Rover LR4 or Volkswagen Touareg.What's New for 2013
Like other Lexus vehicles, the RX's front end is now graced with the sportier "spindle grille," and LED running lights and a power rear liftgate are standard. The RX F Sport is a new trim level with stiffer suspension and 8-speed transmission.
Soft and smooth is the name of the game for the 2013 Lexus RX. The vehicle doesn't just roll over roads as much as it floats on them. Dynamic, sharp steering and snappy handling are not the RX's forte, though the F Sport model does feel a bit stiffer thanks to a firmer suspension. Like past RX models, visibility is very good, the driver's seat height is just right and cargo space is generous and found in unexpected places. The RX is not particularly fast but, with a zero-to-60-mph time of 7.7 seconds, it's not achingly slow. Front-wheel drive is standard in the RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid, with all-wheel drive standard on F Sport models and optional on the others. Hybrid models now have a "sport" button that enables livelier acceleration, and the RX F Sport boasts paddle shifters for those occasions you want to pretend you're in a race car.Favorite Features
POWER REAR DOOR
When you're juggling groceries, kids and keys, you quickly run out of limbs and digits for opening doors. For the 2013, a power opening-and-closing rear door is standard on the Lexus RX. If only those groceries would load and unload themselves with the touch of a button.
REMOTE TOUCH CONTROLLER
Think of this available console-mounted controller as a computer mouse for the car. With it, you can control commands for navigation and more on the center screen.
The RX's cabin is warm, polished and cozy, but not quite as sophisticated as some European rivals, such as the Audi Q5. Still, amenities abound, from the plush seats to the power tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Starting and stopping the Lexus is done with the press of a button, and even the base audio unit is impressive with its nine speakers. Rear passenger legroom is good, and the 40/20/40-folding rear seat is able to recline and slide to accommodate people or cargo. Likewise, the innovative storage bin up front slides and has dual power outlets. With the rear seats folded, cargo capacity expands to an impressive 80.3 cubic feet.Exterior
The 2013 RX takes on a more aggressive nature with its new grille, but the rest of the SUV is similar both to past designs and its many imitators. From the side, the Lexus is defined by its steeply-sloped rear window line. That sloping motif then extends to its nicely-angled rear. Hybrid models are distinguished with a subtle blue-hued L Lexus badge in front. The RX rides on 18-inch wheels, and F Sport models are on 19-inchers. It all adds up to a pretty if not cutting-edge profile, which should please the majority of buyers.Notable Standard Equipment
Even a base 2013 Lexus RX 350 boasts plenty of luxury touches and comfort amenities to make day-to-day driving easier and more enjoyable. Dual-zone automatic climate control, power rear door, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power driver's seat and 9-speaker premium AM/FM/satellite audio unit with 6-disc changer and auxiliary input are all included. F Sport models include heated and ventilated front seats, leather trim and roof rails. F Sport and RX 450h Hybrid models also feature the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system for improved traction control.Notable Optional Equipment
The Lexus RX can further be upgraded with packages that bundle items such as color LCD display, dual-screen rear entertainment system, navigation, backup camera, 12-speaker audio system and the Lexus Enform suite with apps for everything from streaming music on Pandora to making restaurant reservations with OpenTable. Leather seating is also optional, as is a heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel. Those who spend copious amounts of time crawling in traffic should consider the smog-sensing automatic recirculating climate system.Under the Hood
The Lexus RX 350 utilizes a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission that uses direct-downshift control to allow for quick shifting when needed (such as rapid acceleration) from sixth to third, or fifth to second, skipping gears for a more immediate response. The fuel-efficient RX 450h hybrid combines the same V6 engine with an electric motor for higher power (295 horsepower channeled through a continuously-variable automatic transmission) and efficiency (32 mpg in the city for the front-wheel-drive RX 450h, 30 mpg in the all-wheel-drive form). The RX 350 F Sport adds no horsepower but does have two additional gears in its 8-speed transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds for models equipped with the prep package.
270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD) 18/26 mpg (F Sport)
3.5-liter V6, 123-kW electric motor
245 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (gasoline engine alone; 295 total system horsepower))
234 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm (gas engine only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 30/28 mpg (AWD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base 2013 Lexus RX 350 with front-wheel drive is just over $40,000. All-wheel drive adds $1,400. Hybrid RX 450h models begin around $46,800, and RX 350 F Sport models start around $47,900. A fully-loaded RX can reach the mid-$50,000 mark. Competitors in this mid-size luxury crossover segment, which include the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Lincoln MKX, have similar pricing. The Acura RDX and Cadillac SRX, meanwhile, are less. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2013 RX. As for resale value, the RX is at the top of its segment, outpacing the Q5, X3, GLK and SRX in the long run.