Full 2007 Lexus RX 350 Review
What's New for 2007
The Lexus RX 330 receives a larger V6 and has been renamed the RX 350. The new 3.5-liter V6 provides 47 more horsepower than last year's 3.3-liter V6.
The Lexus RX series has long been the company's best-selling vehicle. Since its debut in '99 as the RX 300, this midsize luxury crossover SUV has won over buyers with its easy-to-drive nature, plush cabin, virtually silent and vibration-free powertrain and very high build quality. And thanks to above-average reliability and quality dealer service, the RX has provided its owners with about as stress-free an experience as one could hope for. A full redesign in 2004 brought with it a bigger 3.3-liter V6 (which provided impetus for the RX 300-to-RX 330 name change) and a radically different body design housing an even roomier and more luxurious cabin than before.
For the 2007 Lexus RX 350, as the name implies, there is a larger, more powerful engine fitted to this midsize SUV. Displacing 3.5 liters and cranking out 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, the new engine's output represents increases over last year's RX 330 of 47 hp and 13 lb-ft, respectively. Other than the new engine and additional sound insulation to make the quiet cabin even more hushed, the RX continues as before. This means that the RX's elevated seating position, forgiving ride and smooth drivetrain are still there, only with added performance.
While the RX has always been a comfy and peppy SUV, the latest version considerably ups the ante in terms of both luxury and performance. The 2007 Lexus RX 350 serves as an excellent example of what a luxury crossover utility should be. With its spacious cabin, many useful features and top-notch build quality, the RX remains a strong choice in this very competitive market segment.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Lexus RX 350 is a luxury crossover SUV. Its level of standard equipment is impressive and includes 10-way power front seats, auto-dimming mirrors all around, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, four one-touch power windows, second-row seats that slide and recline and a power rear liftgate. Optional are a navigation system, a rearview camera, adaptive-turning HID headlights, a stunning Mark Levinson audio system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones. Many of these are bundled in packages, such as the Performance package, which includes air suspension, 18-inch wheels, leather seating and power moonroof, which can make for a big bottom line on the window sticker.
Powertrains and Performance
A 3.5-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque powers the RX 350. As before, a five-speed automatic is standard, and buyers have a choice of either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive model. With nearly 50 more horsepower on tap than before, performance is brisk, with Lexus claiming a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds for the FWD model and 7.4 ticks for the AWD version. Fuel economy estimates are quite good for such a powerful SUV, with EPA numbers running at 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway for the FWD model and 19/24 for the AWD version.
All the latest airbags are found on the RX 350, with standard front, side, head and even driver-knee airbags. Standard stability and traction control systems are on hand to help one avoid an accident in the first place. In NHTSA front-impact crash testing, last year's similar RX 330 scored five stars for its protection of the driver and four stars for the front passenger. It also garnered a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in IIHS frontal-offset testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
Looking at the cabin of the 2007 Lexus RX 350, you'd never guess that this is the company's entry-level luxury SUV. Real wood and leather trim on the console, door panels and steering wheel come standard and make for a rich ambience. Leather seating is optional. Available features such as a rearview camera, adaptive headlights (which swivel slightly in the direction you are turning) and a voice-activated navigation system mean that this midsize luxury ute gives nothing except excessive size away to the larger prestige-brand SUVs. The second row seat reclines, slides fore and aft and is split 40/20/40 to optimize both passenger comfort and cargo-carrying flexibility. Behind that seat there are 38.3 cubic feet of luggage space; flip the seat down and cargo capacity increases to 85 cubes. A standard power liftgate makes the loading of cargo easier when the RX 350 is used as a beast of burden.
Being a Lexus, the RX 350 possesses a smooth and sophisticated personality. Performance is swift and silent. This is first and foremost a luxury vehicle, and as such the suspension is tuned more for a plush ride than sporty handling. Though the RX never feels floaty, those seeking a firmer dynamic should consider the Performance package, which includes an air suspension along with 18-inch wheels fitted with lower-profile (235/55VR18 vs. 225/65SR17) performance tires.