2016 Lexus RX 350 AWD
Class: Premium Midsize Crossover
Miles Driven: 270
Fuel Used: 40.9 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 21.0 mpg
Driving mix: 30% city, 70% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/26/22 (city/highway/combined)
Base price: $43,300 (not including $940 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test car: Blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert and panoramic-view monitor ($1300), Lexus Safety System+ ($1050), heated and ventilated front seats ($640), Luxury Package ($4610), navigation system ($1750), sunroof ($1600), park assist ($500)
Price as tested: $55,690
The great: Impeccably finished interior, very comfortable ride, impressively quiet cabin
The good: A bit more athletic than previous-generation RXs
The not so good: Exterior styling is too radical for some; Remote Touch joystick infotainment interface is a dubious “upgrade” over a traditional touchscreen system
The Lexus RX is one of those rare genre-defining vehicles—when the first RX debuted as a 1999 model, it essentially created the 5-passenger luxury crossover SUV category. The RX’s fourth generation debuted for 2016, bringing a bit more horsepower, more passenger and cargo room, a host of new technology features, and aggressively sculpted exterior styling. You can check out all the details in our First Spin report here.
After its 2016 redesign, the RX sees only a couple changes for 2017. The RX 300’s F Sport trim is now available with front-wheel drive, while the RX 450h is now available solely as an all-wheel-drive model. The Lexus Safety System + package, which includes a forward collision warning and mitigation system, lane-departure alert, lane-keep assist, auto-dimming high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control, is now standard equipment.
The RX 350 comes pretty well equipped in base form—standard features include a power rear liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and starting, 9-speaker touchscreen infotainment system, and 10-way power front seats, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and automatic LED headlamps with LED daytime running lamps.
Our test vehicle was loaded up well beyond that, as you can see from the options list above. The biggest line item is the $4610 Luxury Package, which includes semi-aniline leather seats; power folding, auto-dimming heated mirrors; wood and leather heated steering wheel and shift knob; 20-inch alloy wheels; rear-door sunshades; aluminum roof rails; driver’s seat/steering-wheel/mirror memory; illuminated scuff plates; sapele wood with aluminum interior trim; LED ambient lighting; and rain-sensing wipers.
The RX’s classy cabin is a real high point. The design is dynamic without being overwrought, and the materials, assembly quality, and small details are truly outstanding—particularly if you pony up for the Luxury Package. The dashboard looks great, and most controls are ergonomic and logically placed. However, some of our testers disliked the Lexus Remote Touch interface, which uses a console-mounted joystick instead of the more common touchscreen to control most infotainment and climate functions. Despite the system’s audible- and haptic feedback, it can often be tricky to use; we often found ourselves “overshooting” the icon or button we wanted to click.
Passenger room is generous in both the front and rear seats, though the optional panoramic sunroof’s housing can compromise headroom for extra-tall passengers. There are no third-row seats available in the RX, and its cargo capacity isn’t quite as voluminous as larger premium midsize rivals. However, we appreciate the fact that Lexus stayed focused on making the RX the best 2-row, 5-passenger crossover it could be. Its relatively small-for-the-class dimensions make the RX notably easier to park and maneuver than larger premium midsize SUVs.
The 20-inch wheels on our tester replace the standard 18-inchers. They make for a mildly stiffer ride, but this is still a smooth, relaxed cruiser. (F Sport models come standard with 20-inch wheels, quicker steering, and adaptive suspension dampers for slightly sportier moves.) The 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 delivers a linear flow of power with the aid of an alert, smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission; we found the acceleration satisfactory in both around-town driving and highway passing and merging.
The healthy list of options pushed the $43,300 base price of our tester up to a bottom line of $55,690. That’s plenty steep, but the RX 350 delivers levels of luxury, comfort and convenience features, everyday performance, and all-around refinement that justify the price… if you don’t mind its radical looks.