2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport
2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2013 Acura RDX
Test Drive: 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i
Test Drive: 2012 Infiniti FX35
Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTec

Manufacturer’s web site
Lexus Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2013 Lexus RX

For 2013, Lexus is making big changes. Already released this year were the all-new GS models and, more recently, the brand new ES lineup. Completing the trifecta of new entries for 2013, Lexus plans to introduce an all-new flagship LS sedan this fall. Not done yet, Lexus has also taken the LX sport utility and RX crossover into the design studio for a styling refresh. Why is Lexus on such a revamp mission? Well, one, to keep their models current; and two, to incorporate their new design language for a consistent look across their lineup.

For years, Lexus vehicles had a certain anonymity to them that allowed the majority of the lineup to get lost in the crowd. Furthermore, the fact that not all of the styling followed the same design language hurt Lexus in terms of brand identity—there is a reason all BMWs look alike. But for 2013 things have changed. Lexus will roll out their new design language, L-Finesse, on five of their eight model lines, all highlighted by the trademark ‘Spindle’ grille. This new look began with the Lexus LF-LC concept car and will eventually find its way onto all new Lexus models. For the rest of the year, Lexus hopes to build on the momentum it has gained during the first half of 2012. Compared to last year, sales of the hybrid CT 200h are up 59 percent, GS sales are up a whopping 600 percent, and LX sales are up 136 percent.

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport
2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. Click image to enlarge

Lexus recently invited us to test drive a few of the new 2013 fleet at an event in North Toronto. Besides the usual marketing spin, like calling Lexus customers ‘guests’, I had a chance to learn more about two of the new models in depth: the 2013 RX 350 F Sport and the 2013 Lexus ES 300h. Although one is merely a mid-cycle refresh while the other is an entire redesign, both vehicles differ from their predecessors in more than just styling. In this review we cover the newly refreshed Lexus RX.

When the RX first appeared in Canada in 1998, it was a fresh, stylish take on the ‘Sport Utility’ craze, even if it was a crossover. Whenever one of these utes would roll down the street, there was no mistaking what vehicle it was. But 15 years and countless imitators later, the RX has kind of gotten lost in the crowd. For 2013, Lexus plans to change that. Being the second vehicle to adorn the L-Finesse styling, the RX is now once again ‘stand-out stylish’ and will better resemble its Lexus stable mates.

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport
2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. Click image to enlarge

Taking the styling theme to its ultimate destination is the newly introduced 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport. This new package adds an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, F SPORT–tuned suspension, unique sport front bumper and mesh grille, 19-inch split five-spoke wheels in a Dark Graphite finish, and other interior enhancements. The 19-inch rims wearing 235/55R19 tires look great. The new looks, especially on the F Sport, are a huge improvement over the outgoing model and really do help differentiate it from other mid-size luxury crossovers. There is a lot of chrome on the exterior of the F Sport, but it is tastefully done. I was left wondering where the exposed chrome exhaust tips were though. This is a sport model after all, right? Finally, two interesting items on the exterior of this vehicle are the small fins protruding from the taillights that help improve stability; these are also found on the new ES.

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