A good all-around family vehicle
Finding a car brand that you enjoy can be tough, as they can be different from vehicle to vehicle. But, one of the best things I find about driving a Lexus is the fact that it is very easy to get used to due to its simple controls and the great neutral handling of the brand, and the RX 350 was no exception.
The RX is the middle model in the Lexus line of SUVs, not too small to handle the needs of a family and not too big to make it difficult to park and move about in traffic. The sharp edge styling falls in line with the Lexus family of vehicles which I find attractive. The cars have generous-sized doors that make getting in and out easy, as well as a large hatch to make getting luggage or just stuff we have to carry easy to load.
As you might expect from the Lexus line, the interior is stylish and well-appointed with all the luxury features one has come to expect with an SUV like this. Stepping into the driver’s seat you find all the vital controls easy to reach and in most cases easy to find. The RX has in most cases button controls so you don’t have to scroll through multiple LED screens to make simple changes to driver comfort.
The RX I had to test had the traditional tachometer, speedometer fuel and temperature gauges in front of the driver, which I liked. Between the Tach and Speedo, a screen allows for variable information as well as controls for various applications like the clock. This RX also had the HUD or heads up display which showed the speed and engine speed, which half the time I had turned off as the gauges are easy to read at a glance.
My test RX had the dark brown leather which complimented the dark blue exterior. The front seats were comfortable with plenty of power adjustments for any sized driver. One interesting feature was the adjustable rear seats which when carrying family and friends long distances makes for a much more comfortable trip.
As for the cargo area in the back, the RX handled a big shopping for my wife and I after being away for a couple of weeks. Loading and unloading was easy enough, but being an SUV it might be a little challenging for those a little shorter. I would advise the optional mats as the lovely carpets would soon be worn with constant use.
Power comes on fast with 295 horsepower at your disposal, so getting on any highway is very easy. The 3.5-litre V6 gets reasonable fuel consumption around the city if you can control you acceleration which is sometimes hard to do. The stiffer suspension adds to good handling of the RX on city streets or the highway. One nice feature is the hill holder feature of the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which holds the RX on upward sloops as the transmission does not have gears – a great feature on some of Vancouver’s hilly streets in rush hour.
Enhancing the RX 350s handling are standard 18 inch wheels, my test vehicle had the optional 20 inch wheels which I have to admit look good. Now, if you are inclined to tow, the RX 350 with tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,585 kg) which is more than adequate in a luxury SUV.
The RX 350 is a good all-around family vehicle and with its Lexus/Toyota over built quality, I would not hesitate in recommending a Lexus. I have found over the years that Lexus buyers tend to be repeat customers which says a lot looking for a well-equipped vehicle like I tested at $70,800 plus taxes.
MSRP: $55,350 as tested $70,800
Motor: 3.5- litre DOHC variable valve V6
Horsepower: 295 @ 6300 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 268 @ 4700 rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable
Fuel economy: 12.2 L/100 km city & 9 L/100 km highway