2016 Lexus RX 350 Will Remain a Competitor
A funny thing about the overall reception of Lexus among those who write about cars. For a long time, it has been given the Toyota treatment, wherein there is no criticism about the quality, durability and reliability of the vehicles, but simply a blanket criticism of bland styling and the lack of driving dynamics.
Seems like the Toyota and Lexus people have gotten tired of hearing that. Now there is a situation wherein the styling of both brands is causing even the most skeptical of skeptics to have a bit of a jaw-drop, and certainly in the case of Lexus, with cars like the IS and the RC, this whole driving dynamics issue has been addressed, as well.
But then there is the bread-and-butter vehicle in the Lexus lineup, the one that really put the division in a place where the competitors—U.S. and German alike—weren’t, and which continues to be dominant in the segment: the RX.
Listen to Jeff Brackin, group vp and general manager, Lexus Div.:
“It was 17 years ago when Lexus saw an untapped opportunity in the market and ignited a category called luxury crossover when we launched the RX 300.
“Since then, the RX has dominated that segment, setting standards for style, function and luxury.
“And the RX quickly became a core model for the Lexus brand, driving both volume and loyalty over the course of three generations.
“In fact, RX is responsible for bringing over 2.1-million customers around the world into the Lexus family. It’s easy to see why others have entered this segment.
“Since 2005, the RX has maintained about 25% of the sales in the mid-size luxury crossover segment, even though the number of competitors has risen to 16.”
That last statement is nothing but astonishing. The competitors keep coming. The RX keeps competing.
By the end of the year the fourth-generation RX will be launched.
It will come with a bigger wheelbase (~2 inches), a 300-hp engine and eight-speed transmission or as a hybrid, a suite of safety technology that’s probably more important to most of the people who buy an RX than how wheel it can carve the corners at Willow Creek, and the edgier styling that is now a characteristic of the brand.
And no doubt with all of the quality, durability and reliability that it’s always had.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Hyundai's product onslaught continues with a new compact that's bigger, more stylish and more efficient than its predecessor. And its development cycle is faster than the competition.
Hyundai enters the American market with a new parallel hybrid system that uses lithium-polymer batteries and the same six-speed automatic found in non-hybrid versions of the 2011 Sonata.