Used 2015 Lexus RX 350 SUV Review
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 is an appealing choice for a luxury crossover SUV, particularly if a smooth ride and luxurious interior are priorities.
It's easy to see why the 2015 Lexus RX 350 is one of the most popular luxury crossover SUVs on sale. Its supple ride, finely finished interior, long list of available luxury features, famed reliability, above average cargo capacity and spacious five-passenger cabin are all desirable qualities in a luxury crossover SUV. To decide whether it's the right vehicle for you, however, you might take into account a few other factors.
For buyers who only need two rows of seating, the 2015 Lexus RX 350 is a fine choice for a luxury crossover SUV.
The RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 engine is exceptionally smooth, but all-around performance of the RX isn't exactly pulse-raising. Lexus does offer a sporty F Sport version, but we've found it does little to enhance the experience. Also, while the RX is certainly roomy, it only comes in a five-passenger configuration, with no third-row seat available. If you've got a growing family, other luxury crossovers with three rows of seating might work out better.
If those extra seats are a priority, the 2015 Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 each have their own unique take on the luxury crossover formula. The Infiniti has the most space for those third-row occupants, while the Acura places less emphasis on luxury and more on an engaging driving experience. If you're sticking with a standard five-passenger premium crossover, the classy Mercedes-Benz M-Class or surprisingly upscale Volkswagen Touareg are also very good choices. For a lot of car shoppers, though, the RX 350 is going to provide that ideal mix of luxury, space and utility. It's certainly worth a look.
trim levels & features
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 seats five people and is available in three trim levels: standard, F Sport and Crafted Line. A fuel-efficient hybrid-electric version, the RX 450h, is covered in a separate review.
The RX 350, which is available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, foglamps, LED running lamps, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with two-way power lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining rear seat with one-pull folding levers, cloth upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Standard electronics features include a 7-inch display screen, a rearview camera, Safety Connect emergency communications, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 12-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. Those with iPhone 4S or 5 models can also use the voice-operated Siri Eyes Free feature.
Power-adjustable seats and cloth upholstery are standard, but most Lexus RX 350s are equipped with the optional leather.
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 offers several option packages, some of which require the purchase of one to obtain another. Availability can also vary by region, so you'll want to check with your local dealer.
The Premium package adds a sunroof, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, roof rails, leather upholstery and driver memory settings. A version of this package also can be had with a blind-spot monitoring system. The Luxury package incorporates the contents of the Premium package and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, headlight washers, a heated steering wheel, a power driver seat cushion extender, upgraded leather upholstery, a household-style power outlet and a smog-sensing auto climate control recirculation.
The Comfort package requires either the Premium or Luxury packages and adds automatic wipers, xenon headlamps and heated and ventilated front seats. All of this package's items are available as individual options.
The RX 350 F Sport includes standard all-wheel drive and the contents of the Premium and Comfort packages as well as 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, an eight-speed automatic transmission, special exterior styling elements, special interior trim and perforated leather upholstery. When the Luxury package is applied to the F Sport, it includes a blind-spot monitoring system that is also available separately.
For the standard and F Sport trim levels, the available Navigation package requires either the Premium or Luxury packages, and adds a navigation system, voice controls, the Remote Touch controller, HD radio and the Lexus Enform app suite that includes Safety Connect security and accident-mitigation functions.
Also available this year is the RX 350 Crafted Line. It's essentially a loaded-up standard RX with the above options as standard, plus unique exterior paint and wheels, two-tone red and black interior trim and a two-piece set of Tumi luggage.
Depending on which option package you select, individual options include LED headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision warning/braking system, a head-up display, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system.
The F Sport's wheels and special styling can be added to the front-drive RX 350 via the available Sport Appearance package.
performance & mpg
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The F Sport model only comes with all-wheel drive and includes an eight-speed automatic.
In Edmunds performance testing, a front-wheel-drive RX 350 went from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, which is average for the class. The F Sport was actually a little slower despite a more sophisticated transmission and its advantageous gearing.
EPA-estimated fuel economy with the six-speed automatic is 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) with all-wheel drive. Thanks to its more fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission, the all-wheel-drive F Sport is rated at 21 mpg combined (18/26).
Properly equipped, the RX 350 can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is less than most competitors can manage.
Every 2015 Lexus RX 350 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, a rearview camera and the Safety Connect emergency communications system that includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and stolen vehicle location services.
Optional are a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alerts and a frontal pre-collision warning and brake-priming system (bundled with the adaptive cruise control).
In Edmunds brake testing, an RX 350 came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 114 feet, which is 10 feet shorter than average. Curiously, the supposedly sportier F Sport stopped in a merely average 123 feet.
In government crash testing, the RX 350 received two different ratings. Front-wheel-drive models received four out of five stars for overall protection, while all-wheel-drive models earned five stars overall. Both models received four stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the RX 350 the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The RX's seats/head restraints also earned a "Good" rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
When it comes to getting a comfy ride quality, you're not going to be able to do much better than the 2015 Lexus RX 350. 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 accelerate this crossover with ease. The softly sprung suspension never feels floaty, and the RX is secure and stable when going around turns.
A powerful V6 and a hushed interior make for a pleasant driving experience. The F Sport model rides stiffly, however.
Still, those seeking a more engaging driving experience should consider the Acura MDX or Audi Q5. We don't recommend the RX 350 F Sport, as it suffers from an overly firm ride, with no appreciable increase in driving feedback or involvement. Worse still, its handling and braking numbers at our track were actually worse than those of the regular RX 350.
The Lexus reputation for high-quality cabin fittings is fully on display in the 2015 RX 350 line, where nearly everything you touch and see has an exceptional feel and finish. Even small controls and buttons, such as the radio volume knob and the power-seat switches, work with a precision that demonstrates these are not items found in everyday vehicles.
When you opt for the Navigation package you also get the Lexus Remote Touch system, which is a mouselike controller that allows the user to move among a variety of icons on the centrally located screen. It's a nice idea and adds to the luxury ambience, but in practice we've found that the cumbersome on-screen menus and the controller's imprecise nature draw too much of your attention away from the road. On the upside, the optional Mark Levinson audio is one of the best sound systems on the market.
The rear seat in the RX 350 is exceptionally comfortable. If you don't need a third row, this Lexus is worth considering.
Settling in to a comfortable driving position is easy with the standard multi-adjustable driver seat, although the seats could use more support for the thighs. Rear passengers enjoy sizable windows and a seat that both reclines and slides. This movement also pairs with a 40/20/40 split to help make the rear seat a more versatile place according to your passenger-to-cargo ratio. With the rear seat slid fully forward, you can get a comfy 40 cubic feet of storage in the cargo area, while dropping the rear seats doubles volume.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.