2011 Lexus RX 350 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Lexus RX 350 SUV

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Lexus RX 350 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 275 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Lexus RX 350

  • The 2011 Lexus RX 350 leads when it comes to providing a plush ride, a luxurious cabin and everyday utility. For most buyers, those attributes should be enough to overcome its rather lifeless driving dynamics.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Premium cabin design and materials, plush ride, composed handling, energetic acceleration, comfortable seating front and rear, top crash test scores, user-friendly multifunction controller.

  • Cons

    No third-seat option, expensive options packages, not as entertaining to drive as sportier rivals.

  • What's New for 2011

    After a complete redesign last year, the 2011 Lexus RX 350 returns essentially unchanged.

Full 2011 Lexus RX 350 Review

What's New for 2011

After a complete redesign last year, the 2011 Lexus RX 350 returns essentially unchanged.

Introduction

When it comes to luxury crossover SUVs, the 2011 Lexus RX 350 delivers what the vast majority of shoppers want: pleasant driving dynamics, plenty of space for people and cargo, high-tech features, impeccable interior materials and solid build quality. While there are some shoppers who desire more than five seats or more athletic performance, there is no shortage of alternatives for that minority. As it stands, the RX 350 fits quite nicely into that Goldilocks zone with broad appeal that seems just right.

After a redesign last year, the Lexus RX 350 returns essentially unchanged, and that's a good thing. With this crossover you get pretty much everything Lexus is typically known for, including a class-leading interior that surrounds passengers with top-notch fabrics, leathers and rich wood trim. It's also exceptionally quiet on the freeway and has a ride as smooth as Barry White's voice. For power, the RX 350 has a 275-horsepower V6 that provides snappy acceleration and respectable fuel economy.

Besides providing blissful transportation, the RX 350 will please the pragmatic as well as tech-loving early adopters. There's plenty of cargo space for trips to the local home improvement superstore or for a long-distance family road trip. Some options, though costly, add a 21st-century flair. Lexus' Remote Touch interface utilizes a mouselike controller with tactile feedback ? a more elegant setup than the more complicated systems found in competing vehicles. Entertainment options like an audiophile-pleasing Mark Levinson sound system and rear-seat video screens round out the RX 350's impressive portfolio.

As impressive as the 2011 Lexus RX 350 is, you still might want to check out a few alternatives. The 2011 Lincoln MKT, 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class and 2011 Volvo XC90 can provide a third row of seats for those with bigger broods. And if you want a crossover SUV with spicier performance then the 2011 Acura MDX, 2011 BMW X5 and Infiniti FX35 would all likely be better choices. But overall, we think most shoppers will find the RX 350's combination of luxury, comfort and utility to be very appealing, indeed.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The five-seat 2011 Lexus RX 350 is a midsize luxury crossover SUV that's offered in one well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, 10-way power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, second-row seats that slide and recline, cloth upholstery, wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a nine-speaker stereo (with a six-CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted controls, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio).

Most options are grouped into packages. The Sports package adds 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. The Premium package adds a sunroof, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, leather upholstery, a power rear liftgate, driver seat memory settings, a rear-seat armrest and an iPod/USB input/interface.

The Premium package is required for the addition of the Comfort, Luxury and Navigation packages. The Comfort package adds heated and ventilated front seats, bi-xenon adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers and an upgraded 12-speaker audio system. The Luxury package includes 19-inch wheels, power-retractable outside mirrors, upgraded leather seating, right-hand sideview camera, a wood and leather steering wheel and extendable front seat cushions. The Navigation package features a hard-drive-based navigation system (with real-time traffic and voice control), Lexus' Remote Touch interface, a back-up camera, increased Bluetooth functionality and the Enform enhanced telematics features.

Individual options include front and rear parking sensors, a premium Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, a dual-rear-screen DVD entertainment system, a head-up display and adaptive cruise control paired with the Pre-Collision System (primes the brakes and tightens the seatbelts if a collision is deemed imminent). Some of the various package features are also available la carte.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 275 hp and 257 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission, but buyers can choose between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. In a recent test, a FWD RX 350 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.

The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the FWD model, with AWD models making 18/24/20 mpg. Equipped with the optional towing package, the RX 350 can pull up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2011 Lexus RX 350 includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and dual front knee bags. Safety Connect, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance button is also included. The Sports package's VDIM system adds additional traction capabilities. Optional is the Pre-Collision System that comes packaged with adaptive cruise control. It determines when an accident is unavoidable and pre-emptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and initializes brake assist.

In Edmunds brake testing, a front-wheel-drive RX 350 came to a stop from 60 mph in 133 feet. This distance is about 10 feet longer than the Lexus' main competitors. In government crash testing, the RX 350 earned perfect five-star marks for front and rear passenger protection in frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RX 350 a perfect "Good" rating for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Upscale appointments, exceptional cabin materials and cutting-edge tech features make the 2011 Lexus RX 350 look and feel much more expensive than its entry-level status would suggest. Authentic wood trim and high-quality leather lend an air of opulence, and the optional Mark Levinson audio is one of the best sound systems on the market.

Another noteworthy option, the Remote Touch interface, replaces the traditional touchscreen operation with a mouselike controller on the center console. The controller features haptic feedback when rolling over on-screen controls, allowing the user to "feel" the buttons. We found this system to be immediately intuitive and easier to use than other competing interfaces.

Rear passengers will find the seating roomy and comfortable thanks to reclining and sliding adjustments. Luggage and cargo space are accommodating as well, allowing up to 40 cubic feet behind the 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats and 80 cubes with them stowed.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Lexus RX 350 doesn't disappoint when it comes to a smooth ride. The compliant suspension and plentiful sound insulation ably isolate passengers from the outside world in a silent bubble of luxury. The 3.5-liter V6 is also notably quiet, but it's also powerful enough to swiftly accelerate this crossover with ease. The softly sprung suspension never feels floaty, though those with an appetite for sporty handling may want to consider ordering the Sport package with its more firmly tuned suspension.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



I hope the new ones

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I got my RX in Feb this year with 9,000 miles on it. Now I think I know why the original owner traded it. The suspension is way too stiff, and noisy. You feel every bump and the rear suspension lets you know with loud booms. This thing rides like a Mercedes ML. That's not good. Also, with all the bouncing around, the back seat emits all kinds of noise. Keeping it folded down seems to help. I don't want a car so soft it wallows and has tons of body roll, but this is just ridiculous. Other than that, I'm ok with the rest of the car. The leather and other materials feel good. It's fairly quiet. I'm getting 23mpg on premium.




Disappointing

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I had high hopes for this vehicle but sadly it didn't deliver. It's built like a toy. Never again.



28 of 29 people found this review helpful

Smart key not very smart

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I just purchased the 2011 RX350 and I love it even after driving Mercedes sedans for the last 8 years the transition was easy. It's fun to drive, I like the space and it still has the feel of a luxury vehicle. The problem, my smart key is not very smart. You should be able to lock and unlock doors and start the car with just a touch or the hand or push of your finger. NOT!! My new RX350 has now been at the dealer for the same amount of time that it was physically in my possession. They keep saying, "the corporate office is working on a solution".



10 of 20 people found this review helpful

Should buy mdx f/l ,

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Like all cars there is a good thinks and not good ones. in this model i can say Lexus could do more inside of the car, design is so cheap with dashboard , at least Lexus should remove that ugly grey color of metal look. under arm glove department is so uncofy to reach since some [violative content deleted] designer decided to open it only half way, u have to open it with right hand and get what u want with left. plus space under ur right foot is for what? cant freaking reach it anyway.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Amazing automobile

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

The RX 350 is a very well thought out car and quality is evident throughout. The interior is sophisticated without "trying too hard". We got the AWD with navigation, comfort, premium, and tow prep package. The seat ventilation is wonderful in the summer time. I'm also in love with the proximity key and the personalization settings of the vehicle. The navigation takes some getting used to, but the hard drive-based navigation is a lot snappier than portable units and DVD-based Nav I've used on other vehicles. Passenger and driver comfort are amazing. There's plenty of room for 5 people, though I miss the 3rd row seating of my Honda Pilot.



14 of 18 people found this review helpful

Follow up of november purchase

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Since my initial review, the following has happened to my RX350. Passenger side window did not work and had to have the entire motor and electrical replaced. My bumper has popped off the body of the car not once, but twice. I have to have a new bumper ordered, painted and installed on a car with less than 10,000 miles. The caps on the windshield wipers have had to be replaced. I can't believe Lexus put its badge on this dog. Unfortunately I own this vehicle.



Talk About The 2011 RX 350

2011 Lexus RX 350 Discussions See all Started By

myrx350
myrx350
02-19-2011
I am considering both these cars now. I was wondering if anyone had any more recent comments on the comparison of the 2011 RX 350 and 2011 Highlander Limited?...


sgs55
sgs55
12-19-2012
I was just called by the dealer who leased me my Lexus RX 350 Sept 2011. He said they are low on used vehicles and are offering to take back my care and replace it with a 2013 model for the same payme...


daisy2000
daisy2000
04-15-2011
2011 RX 350 + comfort package + nav + premium package 48,404 msrp...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 18
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
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