2012 Lexus RX 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Premium cabin design and materials
  • plush ride
  • composed handling
  • energetic acceleration
  • comfortable seating front and rear
  • user-friendly multifunction controller.
  • No third-seat option
  • expensive options packages
  • not as entertaining to drive as sportier rivals.
List Price Range
$14,995 - $18,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 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 uninspiring driving dynamics.

Vehicle overview

Catering to the majority is good business practice. Sure, commercials showing SUVs attacking winding mountain roads or running through rugged trails makes for exciting video. In reality, though, most luxury-brand SUV consumers are just looking for plenty of room for people and things, pleasant driving dynamics, a welcoming interior and easy-to-use high-tech features. The 2012 Lexus RX 350 offers all of that in a well-built package. With such a broad appeal, it's no wonder the RX 350 is Lexus' best-selling model.

Fitted with fine leather, richly finished wood trim and top-notch materials, the RX 350's handsome cabin upholds Lexus tradition, as does the hushed and plush ride. The powertrain is also praise-worthy for its smooth performance and ability to furnish both brisk acceleration and respectable fuel economy. Although it doesn't offer a third-row seat option, the RX 350 provides plenty of space for five passengers. The cargo hold is likewise accommodating whether it's used for home improvement purchases or luggage for the annual family road trip.

The RX offers the latest high-tech features, and you can use them without feeling like you need to study the owner's manual. The navigation system, for example, features Lexus' Remote Touch interface that utilizes a mouselike controller with tactile feedback -- a more intuitive setup than what you'll find in competing vehicles. Also tempting buyers are rear-seat video screens and the superb Mark Levinson sound system. Options, however, tend to be grouped into costly packages that can quickly pump up the price.

As impressive as the 2012 Lexus RX 350 is, it faces worthy rivals. The Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT and Mercedes-Benz R-Class are all larger and offer a third-row seat for those with bigger broods. And if you want a crossover SUV with spicier performance, then the Acura MDX, 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.

2012 Lexus RX 350 models

The five-seat 2012 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, heated outside mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, eight-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 sound system with a six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and satellite radio.

Most options are grouped into packages and can vary by region. The Appearance package includes 19-inch wheels and blacked-out headlight trim. The Sports package also includes 19-inch wheels as well as 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 and a rear-seat armrest.

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 sound system. The Luxury package includes 19-inch wheels, power-retractable outside mirrors, upgraded leather seating, a 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 (which primes the brakes and tightens the seatbelts if a collision is imminent). Some of the various package features are also available à la carte.

2012 Highlights

For 2012, the Lexus RX 350 sees only a few changes, including a new appearance package and the fuel recommendation dropping to 87-octane gasoline, though the latter also results in a minor drop in engine output.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 248 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 Edmunds testing, a FWD RX 350 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 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 2012 Lexus RX 350 includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, dual front knee bags and active front head restraints. Safety Connect, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and an 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 received an overall score of four stars (out of five). It got four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RX 350 its top "Good" rating for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Driving

When it comes to ride quality, the 2012 Lexus RX 350 doesn't disappoint; the SUV feels impeccably smooth on the road. The compliant suspension and plentiful sound insulation isolate passengers from the outside world in a silent bubble of luxury. The 3.5-liter V6 is 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 2012 Lexus RX 350 look and feel much more expensive than its price might 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 is the navigation system, as it comes with the Remote Touch interface that replaces the traditional touchscreen operation with a mouselike controller on the center console. The controller provides tactile 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. There's also ample luggage and cargo space, with 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 2012 Lexus RX 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Smooth As Glass
kxteem,02/01/2012
We really enjoy driving this vehicle. It is smooth as silk on the road. I recommend this vehicle to anyone considering a Luxury Crossover with seating for 5.
I'm Loving My NEW 2012 Lexus RX 350!!!
lexuslover12,01/12/2012
We bought our 2012 RX 350 almost fully loaded on 11/11/11!!! We got the Starfire Pearl white and it is a gem of a vehicle. This crossover is supremely comfortable and easy to drive albeit bland at some times. On long road trips is where this car shines. The steering is precise, seats are luxurious, and the refinements exude Lexus quality. We got the Nav system, AWD, roof rack, Advanced HID dynamic Projector headlamps, and many other extra features. This car is very common in our area (Northern Virginia). We have driven about a 1,000 miles so far and it's smooth, elegant, beautiful, stands out, luxurious and quiet. It also has plenty of power and excellent brakes and acceleration!
Lovin my new lexus
luvnmylexus,06/23/2012
I have own a 1st (2003), 2nd (2008) and now a 3rd generation (2012) Rx350....I have to tell you, the ride just keeps getting better and better! I just love my 2012. It is such a smooth and comfortable ride. Like floating on a cloud! No..it is not the "ultimate driving machine"..but that is not what I wanted. Hugging corners at high speeds is not my thing. I test drove a BMW...not impressed. The interior seemed "cheesy" to me. I am not looking for a "fun" drive. I am looking to be "pampered" and "spoiled" and this RX350 is exactly what the doctor ordered! It is very quiet and has just enough "giddy-up" to get the job done. PERFECT! Can't wait to c what's in store for my next Lexus!
Lexus owner for life
Mary A. Cornwell,01/31/2017
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Let first say that I previously owned a 2009 Lexus RX 350. On January 6, 2017, I was broad -sided on the freeway, My 2009 was forced off the highway..it flipped over and stopped finally by hitting a small grove of trees just 2 feet from the Olentangy River. I had to cut out of the car with jaws off life. The rescue team told me... it was good thing you were driving a Lexus because otherwise you would be dead. So the after spending couple days in the trauma unit and after I was released my first call was to Lexus of Easton to talk to the sales team about helping find a replacement. Within a week or so Aso Danso , JB Woodring and Used Managers found for me a 2012 Lexus RX 350. It is beautiful and I feel safe and protected behind the wheel. Thank You Lexus of Easton for selling me my first Lexus and now my second. I recommend this car and this dealership both are 10+.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 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 2012 Lexus RX 350

Used 2012 Lexus RX 350 Overview

The Used 2012 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 2012 Lexus RX 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Lexus RX 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Lexus RX 350 Base is priced between $14,995 and$18,990 with odometer readings between 68816 and115372 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 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) 2012 Lexus RX 350 for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2012 RX 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,995 and mileage as low as 68816 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 2012 Lexus RX 350.

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Find a used Lexus RX 350 for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,366.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,896.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus RX 350 for sale - 6 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $13,695.

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.

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