New for 2015
For 2015 the Lexus RX makes a seven-inch infotainment screen standard for all models, while adding Cabernet leather as an interior color option on F Sport models, a new wheel design for Premium and Luxury packages, HID and LED headlights with LED foglights, and a navigation system with Remote Touch. A completely redesigned Lexus RX debuts for the 2016 model year.
The Lexus RX 350 is the modern descendant of the two-row SUV that essentially launched the luxury crossover segment when it was introduced in the late 1990s. The RX delivers a quiet, luxurious, and comfortable driving experience, and in size fits above the new NX but below the GX in the Lexus lineup. Also available is the RX 450h, a V-6 hybrid version that maximizes fuel economy without compromising luxury, and is priced above the RX 350.
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 248 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a six-speed automatic in front- or all-wheel-drive models, but a paddle-shift-equipped eight-speed automatic in F Sport models. The EPA estimates that FWD models will manage 18/25 mpg (city/highway), AWD models just 18/24 mpg, and F Sport, which are exclusively AWD, 18/26 mpg. The Lexus RX may have started the segment, but it hasn’t remained a best-seller by staying stagnant. Notable luxury features include semi-aniline leather interior, heated/ventilated front seats, inlaid wood in the dash/steering wheel/shift knob, and dual-zone climate control with a smog sensor.
Other options include a Mark Levinson premium audio system, the Remote Touch interface for the Enform infotainment system, a head-up display, and a seven-inch infotainment display. An Advanced voice command system allows the use of “normal, everyday speech” to control functions for the climate control, navigation, and audio systems, in addition to address-book contacts on a mobile device that supports Enhanced Bluetooth technology.
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 received a four- and five-star overall safety rating, with AWD models receiving the higher rating (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing received three ratings of good in the three tests in which it was evaluated (the highest possible rating is good).
What We Think
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 is a capable people-mover that provides all the luxury and utility buyers have come to expect in the luxury crossover segment. In a 2013 Driven Review of an RX 350 F Sport we said, “The 2013 Lexus RX is a handsome, upright two-row sport-utility vehicle that’s perfect for small families and aspirational real estate agents.” An available F Sport package, which really feels more like a premium trim level than a separate model, adds an eight-speed automatic, we noted the “performance is mild rather than wild, but the engine is creamy, quiet and perfectly adequate.” Styling has been turned up a few notches, with chrome accents and white contrast stitching inside, and a unique front bumper to name a few changes. At a base price of $40,970 for a FWD RX 350, and $48,710 for an AWD F Sport model (including a $925 destination fee) the RX’s prices aren’t far off from the popular three-row Acura MDX, redesigned for 2014, which retails for just $42,765 (including a $920 destination fee), but bests the RX in fuel economy with a 20/28 mpg rating from the EPA. For buyers wanting a smaller vehicle, the Acura RDX matches the Lexus in seats, but sits with its bigger relative at 20/28 mpg and starts in the mid-$30,000 range. There’s no doubt the Lexus RX 350 will remain popular for years to come, but we’re looking forward to seeing how the new 2016 model approaches this now-crowded segment.
- F Sport model’s styling
- Quiet, smooth engine
- Voice command system
You Won’t Like
- RX 350 fuel economy isn’t class leading
- F Sport is pricey, but doesn’t add much sport
- Three-row Acura MDX is more fuel efficient
- Acura RDX
- Acura MDX
- Infiniti QX70
- Cadillac SRX
- BMW X3
- Audi Q5
- Mercedes Benz M-Class
- Buick Enclave