2010 Lexus RX350

Andrew Trahan

Solid. That's the best way to describe the RX350 and may go a long way toward explaining why so many people buy it. Certainly, they are not after style. I actually admired the original RX (it was pretty rare back then to see a car from the factory with clear tail lights), but this latest model looks pinched in all the wrong places.

Neither is it all that luxurious feeling, with lots of matte black surfaces made of decent, but not necessarily premium, soft-touch plastic. Other crossovers we've sampled recently, including the Cadillac SRX, the Audi Q5, and the Lincoln MKX, offer more design flare, both inside and out.

But where the Lexus beats them all is in its vaultlike solidity. As Phil noted, much of this feeling comes from the beautiful wood-trimmed steering wheel, which turns with surprising heftiness. In serene silence, the RX tames Michigan's pothole-infested roads with nary a squeak. The closest comparison might be the BMW X5. But whereas the Bimmer's solidity translates to athleticism, the Lexus feels overwhelmingly secure. Considering that many crossover customers are looking for the passive safety of a truck, Lexus does well to make its medium-sized RX feel like it owns the road.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

New Car Research

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