Lexus joined the crossover segment in with the RX300. That segment has since grown exponentially and is now represented by almost all luxury auto makers. In fact, it has become one of the more crowded segments, so to standout is an accomplishment. Since its inception, consumers have rated this model very highly on reliability, spacious interior, and a plush ride. The current RX350 has a new body and is larger than its predecessor. The addition of luxury and safety gear has unfortunately increased the RX’s portliness by over 400 lbs. Even without the air bag suspension, the RX350 manages a soft, quiet ride for all passengers.
This Lexus is propelled by a 3.5 liter 275 HP V-6 mated to a 6 speed automatic. This power is put to the ground through 18″ wheels in either two or four wheel drive configurations. 10 airbags add to the safety of this model, including drivers knee and side curtain airbags.
Technology and Luxury abound in the RX350. Using what Lexus calls the Remote Touch controller operates as a mouse for navigating the LCD multifunction screen. Some of the other options available are a Mark Levinson audio system, back up camera and DVD entertainment center.
Body styles: SUV
Engines: 3.5L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: RX 350, RX 450h
With all of the changes that came in 2010 — which marked the latest generation for this sport/utility — there are very few new features to report for 2011. The RX 350 receives a new brake override system. Both RX models get new exterior color choices to choose from, the 12-volt power outlet has been moved to a more convenient location, and the 450h’s Sport Package has been dropped.
The current generation of the RX is crisper and cleaner looking than the vehicle it replaces, but still falls on the more conservative side of the spectrum. Both models come with 18-inch wheels standard and 19-inchers optional.
Driver and front passenger get 10-way power adjustable seats and the interior comes standard with real wood trim and leather accents. Nine-speaker audio and Bluetooth are standard, and the cool Remote Touch mouse is optional.
The RX 350 and 450h are smooth riding, competent vehicles, but when it comes to driving dynamics, they won’t make your heart beat faster. The steering is somewhat numb and despite the increased power, the RX feels heavy. The RX 350 reaches 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, and the RX 450h took a tick longer. Braking from 60 mph took 138 feet in the 350; the 450h stopped a foot shorter.
Driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, disc brakes with four-channel ABS and brake assist, stability control, and traction control are standard.
RX 350: 18 mpg city/24-25 mpg highway
RX 450h: 30-32 mpg city/28 mpg highway
- Attractive interior
- Cool Remote Touch mouse
- Standard safety equipment
- Numb steering
- Expensive hybrid
- Boring to drive
Comfortable and reliable — but bland
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