Ever since the RX 350's debut more than a decade ago, this midsize luxury crossover SUV has been a consumer favorite thanks to a plush ride, spacious interior, strong reliability record and appealing high-tech features. What the RX 350 lacks in the way of driving passion and spirit, however, is more than compensated for with comfort, convenience and luxury features.
The current-generation RX 350 is the strongest one yet, with a smooth V6 engine that delivers 295 horsepower. It also continues Lexus' evolution as a smart alternative to the German luxury SUVs, with an interior that should satisfy even the most refined of tastes. One area that may not find universal praise, however, is the exterior. In an effort to give the RX 350 more presence on the road, Lexus chose a bold styling direction. You can judge the results for yourself, but regardless of its lines, the RX 350 remains a top choice for a crossover SUV.
Current Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX 350 is a front- or all-wheel-drive midsize crossover that seats five. It's available in two trim levels: Base and F Sport.
Base models are generously loaded, with key standard features that include a 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 horsepower, 268 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, faux leather upholstery, an 8-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, a smartphone-integrated navigation system, and a nine-speaker audio system. The Base model also features a suite of driver assistance and safety features such as a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
The F Sport includes sportier styling, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, transmission paddle shifters, heated and ventilated sport seats, and leather upholstery. All-wheel drive is optional on both Base and F Sport trims.
Options are grouped into packages or offered as stand-alone items. The Premium package adds roof rails, leather upholstery and wood trim, while the Navigation package adds an onboard navigation system, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, a mouse/joystick-like controller called Remote Touch, voice commands, and a 12-speaker sound system. A Luxury package builds on the Premium's features with 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, upgraded leather, and heated and power-folding rear seats. A rear-seat entertainment package adds two 11-inch screens, a DVD player and an HDMI port. Stand-alone options include a regular or panoramic sunroof, a towing package, a panoramic backup camera display, a heated steering wheel, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, and driver assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
In our reviews of the RX 350, we've found that it delivers excellent performance with its V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. The RX has plenty of power, but it's not an SUV you want to drive with too much vigor, at least when the road gets winding. The steering, suspension and chassis are built for comfort, not speed. And comfort is really what the RX 350 does best. The seats are sublime, the ride quality is smooth and the cabin whisper-quiet. It's an SUV you can drive for hundreds of miles without fatigue.
Befitting a luxury crossover, the RX 350 offers a generous set of standard safety and convenience tech, and a robust list of options covers a wide range of priorities, including a glorious panoramic sunroof, audiophile sound quality, heated surfaces, and decadent interior trim and upholstery.
Used Lexus RX 350 Models
The current third-generation Lexus RX 350 debuted for the 2016 model year with a full redesign. Comfort and interior quality remained its calling cards, but a more carlike driving experience aimed to broaden its appeal to buyers. One of the most pronounced changes was its exterior styling. With a massive asymmetrical front grille design and sharp lines and angles, the RX 350 isn't exactly subtle. For many buyers the exterior styling will be a love-it or hate-it situation.
Beyond the styling lies a crossover that has honed its appeal for more than a decade. Standard features are plentiful, interior room is generous, and build quality impeccable. The optional Mark Levinson audio system is one of the best car audio systems around. For 2017, the RX features a more powerful V6 engine, makes some previously optional equipment standard, and offers front-wheel drive on the F Sport for the first time.
The second-generation RX 350 ran from 2010 to 2015. It was slightly larger and offered more luxury and safety features than its first-generation predecessor. The 2010 and '11 models produced a bit more power (275 hp), but they also required premium fuel. From 2012, engine power dropped to 270 hp and 249 lb-ft and remained there until the 2016 overhaul.
In 2013, revised exterior styling, a power liftgate and the new F Sport package arrived. Siri Eyes Free iPhone control, a household-style rear-seat power outlet, and enhanced collision mitigation technology came on 2014 models. For 2015, a 7-inch display and rearview camera were made standard equipment, LED headlights and foglights were options, and a Crafted Line trim level offered unique paint and interior trim.
Introduced for the 2007 model year and running to 2009, the first-generation Lexus RX 350 was essentially the same as the 2004-'06 RX 330 but with the addition of a slightly larger, considerably more powerful engine and more sound insulation. The RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 made 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque and came paired to a five-speed automatic transmission. Again, buyers could still choose either front- or all-wheel drive.
As is tradition with the RX series, these models had plenty of luxury features, such as one-touch windows all around, dual-zone climate control, 10-way power seats and a power liftgate. Options included leather seating, a moonroof, a navigation system, a DVD entertainment system, a superb Mark Levinson audio system, an adjustable air suspension, adaptive cruise control, a backup camera and adaptive headlights. Safety was a strength as well, with stability control, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag all standard. Crash test scores were excellent.
The Lexus RX 350 drove like a quicker version of the RX 330, itself already sprightly enough. It coddled occupants with a soft, quiet ride along with confident composure in the turns, especially when equipped with the optional air suspension that tightened up the handling.
Read the most recent 2018 Lexus RX 350 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lexus RX 350 page.