Here’s your first look at the 2016 Lexus RX crossover, which Toyota’s upscale brand will unveil April 1, at the New York auto show.

What we see at first glance is a rakish, BMW X6-esque tail and flared rear wheel arches, cues that suggest Lexus might stray from the typical mid-size luxury crossover formula with this new design. That would be a daring move for a company that rarely takes risks, never mind with one of the auto industry’s top-selling upscale crossovers, and Lexus Canada’s best-selling vehicle.

We take away from this image a sense that, regardless of its shape, the new RX will be notably longer than the current model—but not too much longer: a sleeker RX would lend credence to rumours of a future three-row Lexus model to be positioned atop the brand’s crossover lineup. Those flares look a lot like those on the recently-introduced compact NX crossover, so it’s clear there will some family resemblance between the two.

Powertrain-wise, our best guess is the RX will stick with its proven 3.5L V6/six-speed automatic combo for the moment, despite the eight- and nine-speed autos fitted to many of the RX’s competitors. (We’ve been kindly reminded that the RX 350 F-Sport uses an eight-speed automatic; with that in mind, our bet is that transmission will become standard in the new RX, in order to help Lexus keep up with the rest of the field in a numbers-driven marketplace. —Ed.)

We’ll have more details for you as soon as Lexus pulls the covers off on April 1.


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