Luxury can be bold and showy; but many luxury shoppers actually prefer a more practical, understated definition of luxury--and that's what the 2013 Lexus RX 350 represents from a styling and design standpoint.
The basic shape and silhouette of the RX hasn't changed all that much over this model's long model run--going back to the 1990s--and that makes it iconic in some ways. But fact is, the RX's styling still plays it safe, and we'd say that it's far more pleasant and innocuous than at all edgy.
Nothing about the relatively light cosmetic changes Lexus is introducing for 2013 changes that; although this year's updates are the first significant ones since Lexus redesigned the RX for the 2010 model year, they;re relatively minor altogether--limited to a new front-end look that matches that introduced for the new Lexus GS sport sedan, a somewhat crisper look in back to match, new LED running lamps, and new colors.
In its current iteration, the RX has become a little more blunt-nosed and high-shouldered, but it hasn't lost its design essence—with a tall roofline, handsome proportions, and smooth details. The new 'spindle grille' changes the way we see the RX from the front--and makes it look just a bit menacing, at first thought, but it remains a rather soft, elegant appearance.
Refinement remains the focus inside--along with a matching level of understated luxury. The interior of the 2013 RX continues with the same design that divides driver controls visually from the passenger zone—leaving a large swath of silver-painted plastic in place of the previous-generation's more subdued wood-grained look. Likewise, Lexus appears to have addressed a complaint of ours--that the current RX didn't feel as rich inside as before--by adding contrast stitching, and adding new Ebony Bird's Eye Maple and Saddle Leather interior options.
One other caution: Don't look for the RX 450h to call out your eco-conscious arrival. As in previous model years, there's very little visual differentiation between the RX 350 and the RX 450h hybrid, and for the latter it's really just a matter of badging, with the differences amounting to some hybrid logos and badges plus blue-lit gauges and a few other subtle differences.
New for 2013 is an available Sport Appearance Package that gets you a unique front bumper, halogen headlamps, and superchrome-finish 19-inch wheels.