New for 2014

The Lexus RX remains largely unchanged for the 2014 model year, but adds Siri Eyes Free to its infotainment, as well as an F Sport trim level. The RX F Sport gets all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, 19-inch wheels, a recalibrated stability system, and contrast stitching inside.

Vehicle Overview

The Lexus RX is the vehicle that created and defined, the luxury SUV category when it launched. The two-row crossover fits below the GX in the Lexus lineup, and offers a hybrid version alongside the standard V-6.

Summary

The 2014 Lexus RX is offered in front- or all-wheel drive, and the standard trim level comes with a 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 248 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission channels power to the chosen number of wheels, and EPA-estimated mileage is 18/24-25 mpg city/highway, with a one mpg penalty for AWD. The RX 350 F Sport gets a unique eight-speed automatic, and comes only in AWD, which makes it good for an EPA-estimated 18/26 mpg. The hybrid RX 450h pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 with a CVT and an electric motor for a net 295 hp, which also gets the option of AWD. EPA-estimated mileage for the hybrid drivetrain is 30-32/28 mpg, with a two-mpg penalty for AWD around town.

The 2014 Lexus RX features a number of standout available features: a smog-sensing climate control system (can place the system in recirculate mode if air quality is low), 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, semi-aniline leather, a rear 115-volt AC outlet for the F Sport and Luxury package, adaptive cruise control, and a pre-collision system that features pre-brake technology (so that increased braking is applied when the pedal is pressed).

The 2014 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h received four- and five-star overall ratings from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), with the highest ratings going to AWD-equipped models. The 2014 Lexus RX is considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS for 2013, but has not been tested in the new small front overlap category.

What We Think

The Lexus RX is not the biggest, fanciest, or newest luxury SUV on the market, but it did effectively create the segment when it launched in 1998. In a Driven review of a 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport we noted that when the V-6 was matched with the girth of the not-small SUV, performance was less than sporting. We said, “With 4,510 pounds to motivate, F Sport performance is mild rather than wild, but the engine is creamy, quiet and perfectly adequate.” The F Sport model adds an eight-speed automatic, but we noted, “the two extra gears have little appreciable effect on performance, but they improve fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon.” Where the RX really shines isn’t its handling or power, but rather the ride. The refined six-cylinder never sounds unpleasantly strained, and we found the RX to be comfortably quiet, even over rough pavement.

The Lexus RX has pretty much stayed the same, in essence, since it launched, while its competition has improved and now often look and drive better than the plush RX. One editor commented that, “for this kind of money, I’d much rather have an Audi Q5 or BMW X3…” as the RX starts at $40,000 and can reach the mid $50,000s easily with options.

You’ll Like

  • Hybrid efficiency is also available with 50-state friendly AWD
  • Smooth, quiet, luxurious
  • Still the sales leader in the segment

You Won’t Like

  • Uninvolved driving experience
  • Bland looks
  • As the best-selling luxury SUV in the U.S, it’s common

Key Competitors

  • BMW X3
  • Audi Q5
  • Acura MDX

Rating

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