REVIEWS: 2011 Lexus RX 350 AWD

By Joe DeMatio - October 20, 2011
It's easy to hold up the RX as a symbol of what's wrong with the Lexus brand -- dull to look at, dull to drive, far too common -- but as an actual vehicle it remains quite good. The RX exudes a sense of solidity that goes beyond its size. The interior, though dour and dark for my tastes, fits together impeccably and filters out just about all outside noise. Toyota's 3.5-liter V-6 has to work pretty hard to hustle the RX350's 4343 pounds, but it's one of the most refined six-cylinders on the market, so it never sounds unpleasantly strained. I'm always surprised by how firm the steering and suspension are in this crossover. It's not an athletic, involving machine, but neither is it a flaccid one.
2011 Lexus RX350 AWD Left Side View
Ironically, if there's anything really wrong with the RX, it's that competitors have so successfully targeted it. The brand so often accused of knowing only how to imitate basically invented this segment years ago, forcing everyone from Audi to Saab to scramble for a response. Now many of those competitors look and/or drive better than the RX, which has pretty stayed much the same.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I spent the Labor Day weekend with the RX. Unfortunately, I also worked pretty much the entire Labor Day weekend, so I didn't actually drive it that much. However, this is the perfect car to get into when you're a little burned out and just want a nice, uneventful drive home. The seats are comfortable, the controls are familiar, and the powertrain is exceptionally smooth. This particular RX350 was equipped with the luxury package, which coddles even further. However, $4900 seems like an awful lot of money for leather, a moonroof, heated mirrors, a wide-angle camera, and bigger wheels. I did appreciate the heated/ventilated seats, which are part of a separate $1900 comfort package and did a decent job of cooling me down on a 90-plus-degree Saturday.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I was shocked by the as-tested price of our RX350. I still think of the Lexus RX as being about a $40,000 vehicle. For this kind of money, I'd much rather have an Audi Q5 or BMW X3, but I fully understand the RX350's appeal and why it is the bestselling Lexus model. It's quiet, luxurious, and refined, and it's easy to get into and out of yet is tall enough to provide a feeling of security for people who like to ride a bit higher than you can in a sedan.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
2011 Lexus RX350 AWD Front Interior
2011 Lexus RX 350 AWD
2011 Lexus RX350 AWD Rear Left View
MSRP (with destination): $40,250
PRICE AS TESTED: $52,774
ENGINE:
3.5-liter four-cam 24-valve V-6 engine
Horsepower: 275 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 257 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
Six-speed automatic
DRIVE:
All-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
19-inch alloy wheels
235/55VR19 all-season tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
18/24/20 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
4343 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 5/5
Cargo (behind rear seats/max): 40.0/80.3 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 43.1/36.8 in
Headroom (front/rear): 39.1/37.7 in
Towing: 3500 lb
EXTERIOR COLOR:
Starfire pearl
STANDARD FEATURES:
3.5-liter V-6 engine
Six-speed automatic transmission
Full-time active all-wheel-drive system
Electric power steering
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
Electronic brake force distribution
Lexus premium audio system
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Bluetooth
Power tilt-and-telescoping steering column
Cruise control
Genuine wood trim
Rear black privacy glass
Integrated rear spoiler
Premium roof rails
Sliding center console
Carpeted floor mats
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Comfort package- $1950
Rain-sensing wipers
HID headlights
Driver and passenger heated/ventilated seats
12-speaker premium audio system- $610
Dual-screen rear entertainment w/navigation- $5005
Luxury package- $4900

Leather trim
One-touch open/close moonroof
Retractable, heated, electrochromatic side mirrors
Wide-angle camera
19-inch alloy wheels
Cargo net- $59
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Mark Levinson 15-speaker audio system- $1610
Heads up display- $1200
Pre-collision system- $1500
Remote engine starter- $375
COMPARE TO:
Lincoln MKX, Acura MDX, Infiniti FX35, BMW X5, Volvo XC90
2011 Lexus RX350 AWD Front Left View

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