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The Lexus RX lineup of sport utility vehicles gets facelift for the 2013 model year and a sporty new RX F Sport joins the lineup. The new 2013 RX 350 F Sport features an 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters and a sport-tuned suspension for quicker handling response.
The 2013 Lexus RX models look boldly different than the 2012 models, thanks mainly to the new spindle grille that has become the Lexus marque’s new styling signature. Light clusters, wheels, option packages, and interior details have been updated for the 2013 model year as well.
Lexus RX seats five.
The 2013 Lexus RX comes in RX 350, RX 350 AWD, RX 350 F Sport, RX 450h, and RX 450h AWD versions. The RX is a crossover SUV, with front-wheel drive standard.
All-wheel drive comes on the RX 350 F Sport, RX 350 AWD and RX 450h AWD, helping them cope with winter weather. The RX 350 uses a light-weight all-wheel-drive system that operates through an electronic coupling on the rear differential, eliminating the need for a center differential. The comes standard with all-wheel drive. The RX 450h AWD uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels so no mechanical connection between the axles is needed.
RX 350 models come with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic multi-mode transmission. The RX 350 beats the fuel economy ratings of the Acura MDX, Mercedes ML 350, and BMW X5 xDrive3.5i. The 2013 RX 350 is EPA-rated at 18/25 mpg City/Highway; the 2013 RX 350 AWD is rated 18/24 mpg; RX 350 F Sport is rated 18/26 mpg. Lexus says the RX 350 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds with front-wheel drive, 7.8 seconds with all-wheel drive, so there’s little loss in performance with all-wheel drive.
The RX 450h hybrid gets better mileage yet, especially around town and in stop-and-go traffic. The RX Hybrid is very clean, achieving a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV II) certification in California, and a Tier 2-Bin 3 emissions rating in all other states; that’s good, by the way. The 2013 RX 450h is EPA-rated at 32/28 mpg City/Highway; RX 450h AWD is rated 30/28 mpg. The 2013 RX 450h includes a new Sport mode that changes the steering effort, throttle mapping and transmission shifting. Acceleration performance is comparable to that of the gasoline-only versions. With its electric motor, the 2013 RX 450h AWD comes off the line more quickly than the RX 350 models do. Lexus claims 0-60 performance of 7.4 seconds for the 2013 RX Hybrid with all-wheel drive (7.8 seconds with front-wheel drive).
Overall, the Lexus RX models are comfortable and practical, easy to operate and ride more softly than other SUVs. Buyers who find the ride too soft may consider the RX F Sport model. The RX models are more fuel-efficient than many of their competitors. Drivers who need off-road capability would be better with a Lexus GX.