2011 Lexus RX 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Premium cabin design and materials, plush ride, composed handling, energetic acceleration, comfortable seating front and rear, top crash test scores, user-friendly multifunction controller.
  • No third-seat option, expensive options packages, not as entertaining to drive as sportier rivals.
List Price Range
$12,999 - $16,403

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2011 Lexus RX 350 models

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 à la carte.

2011 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Lexus RX 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Happy as can be!
Alex Kolesnikov,03/14/2015
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I recently traded my 2008 BMW X5 in for this 2011 Lexus RX350. The main reason I got rid of the BMW was because of the horrible and I mean horrible reliability, and everyone knows if you wanted a reliable luxury car you choose a Lexus. We've had the car now for a couple days and the transition was much easier than expected. The Lexus has many more features than the old BMW and it's MUCH more comfortable, the ride is smooth, the interior is well appointed and the cabin is very quiet when driving. Very happy that we chose to buy the RX350, you won't regret it.
Smart key not very smart
pawilliams,08/04/2011
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".
My 4th RX SUV
Paulie,11/15/2010
Lexus has done it again. This model(3rd generation) is the fastest yet. Has it's legendary smooth ride and I love the key less features. The bluetooth works well. So far my fuel mileage is not as good as my 2009, but I expect this to improve.There are other less expensive SUVs, but the feel of a Lexus can't be beat.
Feeling of Disappointment.
barcelonafcfan,03/03/2011
Having some experience with Toyota (used to work for the company), I'm pretty familiar with their technology and at the same time must say that I'm disapointed. Me and my wife bouhgt the car fully loaded with the tow package and after 1300 miles the transmission went out, wow that was a shock to me. Please don't get me wrong, I still think it is a great car but for over $40K I expect a lot more. Of course it doesn't happen every day with Lexus products but when it does happen to you I'm sure all of us would have doubts. The drive is OK, but if you are for more sporty style of driving go with the German car, mainly Audi Q5 which I drove and it blew me away, it's handling and resposivness.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 Lexus RX 350 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat4 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Lexus RX 350

Used 2011 Lexus RX 350 Overview

The Used 2011 Lexus RX 350 is offered in the following submodels: RX 350 SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Lexus RX 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Lexus RX 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Lexus RX 350 Base is priced between $12,999 and$16,403 with odometer readings between 62959 and130122 miles.

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Which used 2011 Lexus RX 350s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Lexus RX 350 for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2011 RX 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,999 and mileage as low as 62959 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Lexus RX 350.

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Find a used Lexus RX 350 for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $8,977.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 3 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,852.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus RX 350 for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $12,263.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Lexus RX 350?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Lexus lease specials
Check out Lexus RX 350 lease specials