PORTLAND, OR – With the third-generation ’09 Lexus RX, the brand delivered a model similar to the second-generation CUV it replaced.

Styling barely was changed, as brand executives said owners liked their RX just the way it was.

That if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude extended beneath the sheet metal, where engineers firmed up the suspension and steering just a smidge.

Fast forward more than six years and the launch of the fourth-generation RX is upon us.

But now Lexus executives, prodded by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to make vehicles more exciting across the board, are singing a different tune.

Yes, the new ’16 RX launching in the U.S. in November once and for all is trying to shake its image as a jellybean-shaped soft-roader loved by upper-middle-class soccer moms.

To gain a little bit of the performance cred enjoyed by the German CUVs (Audi Q5, BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class), Lexus says it has imbued the new RX with sportier tuning, especially for its F Sport trim level.

And in a break from design tradition, the RX is dressed up with more angles than an episode of 48 Hours.

However, excluding design, after driving three new ’16 RXs here we find the midsize CUV to be a familiar package, not nearly the performance monster brand managers want you to believe it is.

But that’s not a bad thing.

The RX is a more well-rounded CUV than those offered by German competitors erring toward athleticism rather than comfort. It also offers more progressive looks than the German CUVs treading water on design.