Prior to the RX public debut, in was introduces as an SLV (this name stood for Sport Luxury Vehicle). The model was previewed at the Chicago Auto Show on 9 February 1997. Safety features that were included driver and passenger front airbags, front seat-mounted side torso airbags, anti-lock brakes, side impact door beams, daytime running lights, and five headrests as standard. The RX was built on a unibody chassis. Its exterior design was not typical of existing four-door vehicles at its introduction. Among design features, the vehicle featured front triangular quarter-windows, door-mounted side mirrors, a rear liftgate with top-mounted spoiler, and translucent front and rear light covers with round lenses.
The Halogen headlights low beams require 9006 bulb size, High beams 9005, while fog lights took 9006 needed for the cars starting from 1999 till 2003.
Since 2001 the RX 300 is available with HID low beams that are of D2R size.
The XU30 was previewed in January 2003. In North America, the RX 330 series began sales in March 2003 for the 2004 model year. Featuring a sleeker body style than its predecessor, the XU30 claimed to have new LED taillamps. From the inside, the RX 330 interior featured genuine Golden Bird's Eye Maple or Walnut wood trim, a sliding multi-level center storage console, dual-zone climate control, and power tilt/telescopic steering column. Available options included a 210-watt, 11-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, DVD-based navigation system with backup camera, rear seat DVD player with wireless headphones, panoramic three panel moonroof, and heated seats.
In 2006 for the 2007 model year, the RX received a mid-cycle refresh consisting of a new 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 replacing the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engine on non-hybrid models, updating the vehicle's name from RX 330 to RX 350. The RX 350 also featured an updated, Lexus Generation V DVD navigation system with improved graphics, voice controlled destination inputs, and a new feature called "bread crumbs." The new navigation system also featured voice dial systems and the ability to enter destinations by voice address while driving.
As for the front lighting bulbs that are required for 2003-2009 RX330: high beams are of 9005 size, halogen low beams are of H11/HID are of D2R, fog lights are of 9006.
Development of the third-generation RX began in 2004. The first North American pre-production prototypes were sent to Cambridge, Canada in early 2008 for testing prior to the first RX 350 rolling off the production line on 28 November 2008. The AL10 RX's new exterior includes a rear spoiler which hides the rear window wiper and radio antenna creating a less cluttered appearance. The dimensions are increased, with cargo room increased by five percent over the prior generation. For the interior, major standard features include SmartAccess, a keyless entry and start system, electrochromic heated side mirrors, UV reducing exterior glass, etc. Starting from 2010-2015 the RX 350 with composite headlight housings require 9005 bulb size for High beam, and H11 for Low beams and fog lights. This RX model with HID headlights require D4S bulbs for Low beams, 9005 for high beams and H11 for Fog lights.
Introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model year vehicle, the RX 450h (GLV10/GLV15) was presented to the world. It features an upgraded 3.5 L 2GR-FXE V6 engine (shared with the RX 350) along with a new inverter which boosts total horsepower to 297 hp (221 kW) (with the electric motors providing an added 22 hp (16 kW)).
2010-2013 RX 450 requires 9005 bulb size for high beam, H11 for fog lights, H11 for halogen low beams and D4S for HID systems. There are also models with LED headlights.
2014-2015 RX 450 requires all the same bulb sizes. The only exception is the model with the LED headlights: high beams now require H9 bulb size instead of the 9005 one.
Lexus debuted the new generation of the RX (AL20) at the April 2015 New York International Auto Show, including a "floating roof design", and a revised, bolder "Spindle Grille". The RX features a 295 hp (220 kW) version of the 3.5 L V6 engine. The vehicle is larger than the previous generation, with a 2-inch (50.8 mm) increase in wheelbase, providing more interior room throughout. To counter issues with the previous version's F-Sport ride quality being too firm, in the pursuit of sporty handling, the new generation features an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) to adjust ride quality as needed.
The North American RX models are manufactured in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada and have about 25 percent of their parts coming from Japan.
In November 2017, Lexus has announced new three-row seven-passenger models of the RX, called the RX 350 L and RX 450h L. They are 11 cm (4.3 in) longer than the two-row model but have the same wheelbase.
Starting from 2016 RX 350 and 450 are equipped with LED high and low beams lights.