In 1998, the Lexus launched its luxury crossover SUV, the Lexus RX (also sold as Toyota Harrier). The RX series is offered in multiple V6 and hybrid-powered models including the RX 300, RX 330, RX 350, RX 400h, and RX 450h. All the models are offered as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Until now, the world has seen the production of six generations of Lexus RX either as a compact or mid-sized body style. Since its appearance in the American market, the Lexus RX has been ranked as one of the best-selling luxury SUV and one of the best-selling luxury vehicles. The RX Lexus is offered simultaneously in Japan as well as in international market. The North American model, RX350s is assembled and produced at the Cambridge plant located in Canada.
In 1997, the Lexus RX made its first appearance as Lexus concept. However, the production model of the Lexus RX was first revealed at the North American International Auto Show in 1998. The second generation Lexus RX appeared in American markets in 2003 followed by a redesigned version, RX330 soon after. The first and second versions of Lexus RX were marketed in the Japanese market as Toyota Harrier up to 2008. The first luxury hybrid was added to RX lineup in 2006 as the RX 400h. In the first quarter of 2009, the third generation model of the Lexus RS was introduced. In the same year, the second generation hybrid version of Lexus RX, the RX 450h was also launched.
Being one of the earliest luxury crossovers in the market, the Lexus became a source of inspiration for many of its competitors from rival models. The RX shares the unibody front-engine, front-wheel drive multi-model platform with the Lexus ES. The idea behind designing the RX was to bring the functional traits of an SUV together with the characteristics of a luxury sedan in one single vehicle. The strong reliability and longevity are the key factors that make the Lexus RX being the best-selling luxury SUV. The Lexus RX is the Lexus’ only produced crossover which is available as an equivalent to the GX crossover.
The Lexus RX has won many rewards since its first appearance such as: it remained the best entry level SUV for the year 2001, 2004, and 2005 by J.D. Power and Associates in Initial Quality Survey. The vehicle has also won the Australia’s Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive for the year 2004 as Lexus RX 330. The car has also ranked as the Best Overall Value in the SUV market over $30,000 in 2003, 2004, and 2005 by Intellichoice. It also won the Australia’s Best Luxury Four Wheel drive for the year 2004. In the Top Gear Satisfaction Survey 2005, the Lexus RX stood third in the list.