Posts Tagged ‘rx’

2016 Lexus ES Teased Before Auto Shanghai 2015

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Last week our first teasers for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2015 started rolling in. Our first teaser was for the new Nissan Lannia – a car developed exclusively for the Chinese market. Today’s teaser has a bit more international appeal… It’s a teaser for the new 2016 Lexus ES, which is scheduled to get a mid-generational facelift for the 2016 model year. Check out the teaser below:

2016 Lexus ES Auto Shanghai teaser

Just to give you a little background, the current Lexus ES is a full-size luxury sedan that’s about three years into its sixth generation of production. It’s one of Lexus’ most important cars in their lineup, and we’re sure it’s one of their hot sellers in the Chinese market. After all, the mid- and full-size sedan segments seem to be where it’s at for the Chinese business class… The Lexus ES is the perfect fit for that trend.

Lexus didn’t give us much to go on along with the teaser. In fact, they gave us literally three sentences’ worth of information, all of which you can find below:

“The Lexus ES established a unique and important position in the luxury sedan segment with its elegant styling, extraordinary quality, and Lexus’ best-in-class service when it was introduced in 1989. More than 1.7 million units have been sold globally over the past 25 years.

The new Lexus ES maintains its classical elegance while conveying a more dynamic experience and luxurious craftsmanship.”

Looking more closely at the teaser image, we can see a number of distinguishing design features for the 2016 Lexus ES facelift. First and foremost, we can see that the headlights have been restyled, most notably with that extra-prominent swoosh LED sitting below the fixtures.

We can also see that the pinched grille gets a thicker-looking chrome outline, and that it probably takes up a bigger chunk of the front clip as a whole. In fact, if you look closely, it seems that the horizontal bars that sit behind the Lexus logo on the grille will now extend all the way down the fender instead of stopping halfway down as they do in the 2015MY (which you can see above). That should serve to open up the design and present a much more aggressive, but fluid face for Lexus’ premiere midsize sedan.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Lexus RX

2014 Lexus RX

Unfortunately, there are no Lexus ES sedans up for auction in Japan at the time of this writing. However, this gives us an excellent opportunity to find a model that Lexus recently showcased in New York – the Lexus RX.

2014 Lexus RX rear

This is a 2014 Lexus RX, and as you can see it’s in excellent condition. Like the 2016 model year shown in New York, it has a crisp and clean design, however the 2014MY looks a little less edgy and angular than its facelifted successor. That’s a good thing for some drivers!

2014 Lexus RX interior

Of course, the real appeal for any luxury crossover is almost always going to be the interior, and the same holds true here. Leather seats… Plenty of space… A bright and vivid navigation display… What’s not to like?

For more information, get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2014 Lexus RX auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered August 2014, RX350 Version L model, AT, AAC, sunroof, original AWs, power steering, power windows, leather, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, wheels scratched, light scratches at left rear side and left front side, marks as per map”


2016 Lexus RX Cuts to the Chase in New York

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

2016 Lexus RX

This week we’re picking up right where he left off last week with continued coverage of the ongoing 2015 New York Auto Show. Today, our focus is on Lexus and their newest crossover – the 2016 Lexus RX. As you continue reading, you’ll learn all about the fourth-generation Lexus RX and what you can expect from the newest version of the premium automaker’s best-selling model.

2016 lexus RX interior

The Lexus RX is an impressive car by any standard. Lexus has sold over 2 million RX crossovers, making it the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history. For 2016, Lexus is looking to bring the RX up to speed with the rest of their lineup.

2016 Lexus RX interior rear seats

To do that, Lexus has completely redesigned the RX from the ground up to create a completely new model. Don’t get us wrong, this is still a Lexus RX and the fourth-gen model retains the old car’s primary selling point as an excellent all-around premium crossover. But, the fourth-gen offers a little more excitement than the blander 2015MY. The 2016 RX is a full 5 inches longer than the outgoing model, which serves to further differentiate it from the smaller Lexus NX crossover. That extra length is almost entirely felt in the rear seat, where rear passengers will enjoy ample leg- and headroom.

2016 Lexus RX interior sunroof

Speaking of rear passengers, Lexus has put extra effort into rear passenger comfort even beyond the extra space that they’ll enjoy in the 2016 model. Now, the rear passengers will get heated seats and an extended panoramic sunroof. And if you need extra storage room? The rear seats can now be folded down at the simple press of a button.

Rumor has it that Lexus is considering a three-row variant for the 2016 RX, but no official statement was given in New York.

2016 Lexus RX profile

The exterior design of the new Lexus RX speaks for itself, and we’re honestly not too surprised with it. That’s not to say we don’t like it, though; we love the direction of Lexus’ new design language. The 2016 RX gets the hallmark pinched spindle grille and extremely sharp, angular body lines – very similar to the new Lexus NX.

The final major addition that Lexus incorporated into the 2016 Lexus RX is the new Lexus Safety System+. This is basically Lexus’ new name for their collection of safety technologies, including Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Panoramic View Monitor and Lane Keep Assist. Lexus has always had great safety ratings, and in New York they confirmed their intent to remain an industry leader when it comes to standardizing advanced safety features in the premium industry.

All in all, the Lexus RX is a welcome refreshment to an already-popular model. Lexus didn’t announce any specifics, but pricing is expected to take a modest bump. Unsurprisingly, Lexus will continue offering a hybrid version of the RX, and both versions are expected to hit showroom floors in autumn of this year.


New Japanese Cars to Look for at the 2015 NY Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

As one of the last large automotive events of the spring season, the 2015 New York Auto Show is most automakers’ last chance to show off their innovations to a huge international audience for several months. As you can imagine, there are will be quite a few new cars to see. So, we’ve narrowed down the list for you to the top Japanese cars to look out for when doors open later this week:

2016 Lexus RX & 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Unsurprisingly, Toyota and its sub-brands have the most new cars they plan to unveil later this week in New York. To save space, we’ve condensed these two crossovers into one slot.

2016 Lexus RX Teaser

The Lexus RX is undoubtedly the more exciting of the two… We’ve only seen a single teaser image of the new compact crossover, and it’s sporty, almost sedan-like profile has us itching to see the full body revealed in New York. As the current best-selling premium car in the US, all eyes are on the next-generation RX to see what Lexus has come up with.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid teaser

That being said, you can’t gloss over the importance of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Even if you’re not a green car enthusiast, the new RAV4 Hybrid’s design will carry over to the rest of the RAV4 lineup in 2016.

Scion iA Sedan and iM Hatch

For the first time in years, Scion is expanding their lineup with not one, but two new youthful automobiles that will be on display in New York.

In case you missed our original preview, the Scion iM hatchback is based on the Scion iM Concept from about a year ago. The Scion iA sedan is the one we’re really excited about though – it’s a sedan based on the all-new Mazda2, and we can’t wait to see what it looks like in-the-metal.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Teaser 2

We’re not exactly sure what to expect from the new Mitsubishi Outlander that’s coming to the 2015 New York Auto Show.

You can read our detailed preview if you’d like more information on what exactly Mitsubishi has in store, but the short version is that we’re HOPING to see an Outlander PHEV. Other options include a new Outlander Sport or a redesigned regular Outlander. You can see the latest teaser image Mitsubishi’s released for us above.

2016 Nissan Maxima

2016 Nissan Maxima

Finally, the last major Japanese car to be revealed at the 2015 New York Auto Show is the 2016 Nissan Maxima. We’ve put this last on the list because we’ve technically already seen the new Maxima. It originally aired in Nissan’s Super Bowl ad spot, and since then Nissan has released perfectly clear images to show what the car will look like, such as the one above.

Still, nothing replaces an in-the-metal reveal, and the Nissan Maxima is one of the most important vehicles in the second largest Japanese automaker’s lineup… Definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Either way, the NY Auto Show is set to be a ton of fun with a floor full of sweet new cars, Japan-made or otherwise. Come back later this week to start seeing some reveals!


2016 Lexus RX Teased Ahead of NY Reveal

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

The Lexus RX is one of the few “old” models left and the premium Japanese automaker’s lineup. Lexus has been cleaning house over the past couple years, and the third-gen RX crossover introduced back in 2009 is next on the list for an overhaul. Today we have our first teaser for what the new RX may look like when it makes its debut at the upcoming 2015 New York Auto Show.

2016 Lexus RX Teaser

We’re really excited to see what a new RX could do for Lexus. The current third-generation model is already one of Toyota’s best-selling premium cars despite its obvious similarity to the Toyota Highlander. That’s because it’s one of the best true SUVs available from a premium marque, and all sources say that Lexus is looking to continue that trend with the new model, despite this relatively sedan-ish looking teaser.

If anything, we expect that the new Lexus RX will be larger than the outgoing model. Now that Lexus has the compact NX crossover in their lineup, they can afford to move a bit larger with their other big-seller. This would make the RX more appealing to full-size SUV drivers who value semi-offroad utility with plenty of interior space, while pushing the more compact, aesthetics-oriented cityfolk over to their stylish new NX.

That being said, we won’t know anything until the new RX makes its official debut in New York. We’d actually originally expected to see a new Lexus RC coupe in NY, but it sounds like Lexus is only planning to show the RX instead. Fine by us, although we’re willing to bet that Mitsubishi and their new Outlander won’t be too happy to lose the spotlight to a superior upmarket model.

2015 Lexus RX

2015 Lexus RX

Even though Lexus hasn’t given us any official word, it’s a safe assumption that they will stick with the Toyota Highlander underpinnings for the new RX. A big reason that the current RX is so profitable for Toyota’s premium marque is because they don’t need a dedicated manufacturing line to produce it. The fact that it uses many of the same parts from other Toyota models makes it the perfect mix of cheap production costs and high MSRP profits.

Our guess is that the new Lexus RX will get the hallmark pinched spindle grille, enlarged wheel wells, a slightly higher beltline and a more sedan-like tapered rear-end. We’d also guess that the biggest changes actually won’t be in the exterior design but in the interior, where we’re expecting Lexus to increase cabin space and tech. amenities.

Unfortunately, this is all guesswork until we see the new Lexus RX in-the-metal at next week’s New York Auto Show, so stay tuned for the full details.

 


Top Japanese Cars Coming to the 2015 Detroit Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 10th, 2015

The 2015 Detroit Motor Show opens doors next Monday. It’s the first major automotive event of the new year, so it’s a big one for enthusiasts everywhere. As you continue reading, we’ll quickly review every Japanese car you should look out for at the show next week.

2016 Acura NSX

2015 Honda Acura NSX

Perhaps the most highly anticipated car coming to the show, Japanese-made or otherwise, is the next-generation Acura NSX supercar. And this won’t just be a concept either, but a full-fledged production-spec model ready for dealership floors.

However, while you might assume that we know a lot about it because it’s a production model, the exact opposite is true. All we have are four darkened teaser images, similar to the one shown above, and a vague statement by the supercar’s chief engineer and project leader, Ted Klaus:

“After three years of intensive development work we are excited to reveal this next-generation supercar — the Acura NSX — to the world. We’ve developed a human-centered supercar that responds to the will of the driver and that builds upon the NSX heritage.”

The one thing we do know is what will lie beneath the hood. Acura promises a twin-turbocharged sport hybrid powertrain with three high-performance electric motors to help deliver power to the wheels. Other than that, we’ll just have to wait and find out next Monday.

2016 Lexus GS F

2016 Lexus GS F

Even though the Lexus GS F is also an extremely high performance model that will make its official debut in Detroit, for some reason there’s markedly less excitement for Lexus’ amped up saloon than the Acura NSX. Perhaps it’s because we’ve already seen a full suite of teaser images, thereby removing any mystery from the reveal…

Or, perhaps it’s because of the car’s naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8 engine with 467hp, which is borrowed directly from the Lexus RC F. Obviously, 467hp is a ton of output by any normal standards, but not when compared to the GS F’s competitors. The BMW M5, the new Cadillac CTS-V and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG all offer anywhere from 100 to 200 more horsepower, with the best of the bunch being Cadillac’s 640hp 6.2L V8 behemoth, which can zoom from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds.

2016 Lexus GS F two-tone interior

Still, the new GS-F should not be counted out. Because of Toyota’s expertise with carbon fiber thanks to their previous LFA project, the car comes in at 200 to 500 pounds less than competitors, which means it can go faster with less power. Plus, it’s reported to continue the trend of truly top-notch driving dynamics from Lexus. On top of that, Lexus has once again proven their prowess for designing interiors, as you can see in the image above.

Infiniti Q60 Concept

2016 Infiniti Q60 Concept Preview

The next car to keep an eye out for, which we covered just earlier this week, is the new Infiniti Q60 Concept. You can read more about the upcoming concept here, but the short version is that this low-riding coupe is expected to compete with the BMW 4 Series with a plush interior, class-leading aerodynamics and probably the same 3.0L V6 engine that we’ve seen in the Infiniti Q80.

2016 Nissan Titan

2016 Nissan Titan spy shot

Finally, a non-sports car! Both Japanese pickups have remained relatively under wraps compared to the sports cars above, but the one thing we know about Nissan’s new Titan is that it’ll be powered by a custom-developed 5.0L V8 Cummins diesel engine. In order to appeal to the patriotic pickup niche, Nissan has put a heavy emphasis on the fact that their pickup is 100% American-made… Conceptualized in California, developed in Michigan, road-tested in the deserts of Arizona and built in the Midwest of Mississippi.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Alongside the Nissan Titan will be another new Japanese pickup truck, albeit a smaller mid-sized model, to compete with the likes of Chevy’s new Colorado and the new GMC Canyon. Again, Toyota has remained completely tight-lipped about the new model, but we do know what it looks like thanks to the numerous photos leaked ahead of the reveal.

We’ll find out exact powertrain specs when doors open next week, but we’re setting the bar pretty high after Toyota boldly claimed that the new Tacoma will be “better in every way” than the previous generation, which they point out was the best-selling midsize pickup for the past 10 years.

Other Possible Japanese Cars Coming to Detroit

Now, there are a couple other Japanese cars that aren’t totally confirmed for debut at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, but that we highly suspect will make an appearance. Those cars include:

2016 Nissan Maxima – We know that the new Maxima will come sometime in “early 2015”, and all initial reports lead us to believe that Detroit will be that time. The car should showcase Nissan’s new design language, along with a more spacious interior and a possible new hybrid powertrain borrowed from the new Pathfinder.

2016 Lexus RX Facelift – The other Japanese car that we expect to see – but can’t absolutely guarantee that we will – is the facelift for Lexus’ 2016 RX crossover. Again, we really know nothing about this other than the fact that Lexus promised two new cars at Detroit, and this is the only other likely candidate.

Either way, you can clearly see that the 2015 Detroit Motor Show is going to be a big one for Japanese automakers. The three major Japanese brands each have multiple new cars making debuts, so you’ll definitely want to stay tuned next week to get the full reveal for each of the cars above.

Until then, thanks for reading!


2014 Toyota Harrier Coming to JDM Shortly After 2013 Tokyo Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

JDM Toyota Harrier badge

With the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show less than one week away, Japan’s biggest automakers are all making their final scrambles for media attention. While we’ve thoroughly discussed all the brand-new, Tokyo-bound Toyota, Nissan and Honda concepts and cars that we have any information on, we haven’t discussed any of the not-so-new vehicles that might still be worth learning about.

For example, we’ve only briefly discussed Infiniti’s launch in the Japanese market with the Q50/Skyline. And, until today, we haven’t talked at all about the new Toyota Harrier. Even though it’s technically not going to be a Tokyo Motor Show debut since it was officially unveiled a couple days ago, it’ll sill be showcased at Toyota’s Tokyo booth.

So, are you curious? We were too – here’s Toyota’s official image of their JDM-only Harrier CUV:

JDM Toyota Harrier 2014 new model

For those of you thinking that the Toyota Harrier looks familiar, that’s because it is… It’s actually just Lexus RX outside of Japan, along with some minor aesthetic changes.

Also, just to be clear, this is not the first iteration of the Toyota Harrier – it’s always been the Japanese version of the Lexus RX. Actually, technically speaking, the Lexus RX is a rebadged Toyota Harrier; the Harrier was released in Japan during 1997, then it was exported as the Lexus RX in 1998. The Harrier remained as the Japan-only version of the Lexus RX until the third generation of the premium CUV, by which time Lexus was well-entrenched in Japan as a separate brand from Toyota. Thus, the Harrier name was no longer needed, and was subsequently phased out circa 2006.

However, for some reason, Toyota has decided that the Harrier is needed again in 2014. Why? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Why Bring Back the Toyota Harrier?

Since Toyota has already established Lexus as a recognized brand in Japan, there are two possible reasons that they’ve chosen to bring back the Harrier for the 2014 model year.

First possible reason: Toyota wishes to attract a younger set of buyers than Lexus typically caters to. The updated design and improved fuel economy featured in the new Toyota Harrier may be the key to accessing that more youthful market.

Second possible reason: Toyota doesn’t care at all about the Harrier, and they’re actually just using it as an excuse to prelude the next-gen Lexus RX.

Third possible reason: Japanese car maker branding decisions don’t often make a lot of sense. Take the Voxy / Alphard, or Vellfire / Noah for example. Same vehicles sold in the same country, but under different model names.

Whatever the logic behind it, as we said, the Toyota Harrier does in fact feature several improvements over the current Lexus RX. From the outside, noteworthy differences include the non-Lexus grille, the new logo, the elongated front clip, and a more angular rear end. The Toyota Harrier also appears to depart from Lexus’ normal slanted headlights in favor of more typically-shaped ones.

The Toyota Harrier also gets noteworthy mechanical updates. When it launches in Japan on December 2, it will be available with either a 2.5L hybrid powertrain with AWD, or a 2.0L gas powertrain with either 2WD or AWD. The hybrid model is estimated to achieve somewhere around 51 mpg, while the gas-only powertrain yields about 37 mpg.

As you can see in the image below, Toyota certainly hasn’t sacrificed any interior quality in transforming from RX to Harrier. The Harrier features an extremely modern interior design, complete with a digital display, leather upholstery, excellent interior trim-work and an all-around pleasurable driving environment.

JDM Toyota Harrier 2014 new model interior

Of course, if you want to buy previous variants of the Toyota Harrier, or the Lexus RX, the Japan car auctions are a great place to find them. Sign up for a guest log in and see what you think.


Acura RDX Wins Ward’s 10 Best Interiors

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

The interior has always been among the most important aspects of a car to the average driver. Oddly enough, automakers didn’t recognize the interior’s importance until the decline of TV ads forced them to start listening to their customers more closely.

Ward’s Auto Editor-in-Chief, Drew Winter, made this clear when he said, “This year’s batch of winners really drives home the point that interiors are a vital part of the battle for consumers’ hearts and minds. It wasn’t uncommon all that long ago for auto makers to view interiors as the best place to take cost out of a vehicle. They eventually figured out [that people] spend a lot more time looking at the inside of their car than the outside.”

These days, it’s a well understood fact that for a car to succeed, it needs to feel good… from the inside. After all, this is the part of the car you spend 99% of your time in contact with. Which is exactly why Ward’s 10 Best Interiors award is so important. Even though the award is only three years old, it serves as a unique benchmark against which both manufacturers and drivers can measure their cars’ interiors.

The winner of this year’s Ward’s 10 Best Interiors award is the 2013 Acura RDX. Japanese brands dominate by making up 5 of the 10 best interiors. You can see below where the Japanese cars ranked on the list:

1. Acura RDX
6. Lexus GS
7. Mazda6
8. Nissan Pathfinder
10. Toyota Avalon

Of course, Ward’s analysis is based on the US market and US market preferences. One wonders how many Japanese car interiors would have made the cut in Europe, for example, where tastes range from the dour solidity of Volkswagen to the leather-and-wood opulence of Jaguar or Bentley.

For those of you interested in the process behind Ward’s 10 Best Interiors, it’s very similar to the process behind Ward’s other well-known award, Ward’s 10 Best Engines. Basically, a panel of editors spent the past two months putting each of 46 new or revised models through a ringer of regular use. Then, they evaluated each vehicle based on a number of different criteria.

The different criteria that Ward’s Auto chose to focus on this year were as follows: interior design and aesthetic appeal, user interface and smart phone integration, safety, space, comfort and quality of materials. As the title of this article says, the Acura RDX was the best of the best.

For those of you interested in data analysis:

* The average price of a car on Ward’s 10 Best Interiors was $42,410
* The most economical car on the list was the Chevrolet Spark at $15,795
* The most expensive car on the list was the Lexus GS 450h at $68,139
* Toyota has the best representation with two vehicles on the list
* 7 of 10 cars were manufactured by Asian brands (one Kia and one Hyundai in addition to the Japanese brands)

It would be interesting to see what the list would look like if Ward’s Auto were to do a low-budget list restricted to vehicles at or under $25K. Only 2 vehicles on the current list fit that criteria. Either way, the irrefutable lesson to be taken from this award is that if you want a quality interior, buy a Japanese car.

Oh, and for those of you who would like to see the full list, you can find it here. Are there any cars, Japanese made or otherwise, that you think deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.