The fourth-generation, 2016 Lexus RX 350 received more than a cosmetic makeover. What Lexus has put into the new vehicle’s drivetrain will have manufacturers continuing to chase this SUV, both on and off the road. A new engine build, transmission, and suspension highlight some of the new changes in the 2016 RX.
Changes to 2016 Lexus RX 350 Engine
Staying true to the previous generation, Lexus powers the RX with a 3.5-Liter, V-6 engine. Of course, this new SUV with it’s athletic and aggressive styling couldn’t just receive a transplant of the pervious RX’s engine. The Lexus engineers provided a little extra “oomph” to this V-6. Moving from a multi-port fuel injection system to a now direct injection fuel system brings an added heart beat to the new RX in both performance and fuel efficiency. An extra 35 horse has been created, giving drivers 295-horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque in the 2016 model without sacrificing fuel economy. In fact, 2-mpg have been added to the combined EPA fuel estimates in 2016 on both front-wheel and all-wheel drive models.
Changes to 2016 Lexus RX 350 Transmission
While the previous RX generation offered an available 8-speed transmission (on F-sport models), all 2016 RX 350 models will feature a responsive 8-speed transmission. The added gears offer better fuel economy, a harder punch off the line, and greater passing power on the 4th generation RX. The RX 450h will still receive a CVT transmission.
Changes to 2016 Lexus RX Chassis
The RX’s front-strut and rear double-wishbone suspension system has been optimized to provide greater steering response and ride comfort. Front and rear suspension balance enhances ride performance and quality. Modification of the vehicle’s engine mounts and an increase of rigidity in the front sway bars, front axle, and hub bearings change the driver’s experience, giving them enhanced steering feedback. Additionally, tire grip and traction were changed allowing the RX to respond more crisply and enhance overall agility. Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is now available as a premium option. AVS changes the damping forces according to road conditions and even responds to acceleration, steering, or braking; further enhancing ride quality.
To give more fidelity and responsiveness, the RX’s steering system was also modified. The newest Electric Power Steering (EPS) management system was adopted for wider control range or initial steer, return-steer and cornering. Drivers can choose a light and comfortable steering feel or sharpen response and feel “on the fly” with by using the now available Drive Mode Select system.
Using high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding the structural integrity and overall rigidity has been increased in the 2016 crossover. A new process called “annular frame construction” was implemented for strengthened frame sections within the vehicle around the front and rear doors. High-tensile strength steel is used in key areas such as the underbody cross members both A and B-pillars. These enhancements help increase handling and occupant protection while helping keep the cabin quieter.