2016 Lexus RX 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impeccably crafted and attractively designed cabin
  • supremely quiet
  • appealing ride and handling balance with F Sport
  • strong value for the segment.
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • distracting Remote Touch interface
  • relatively slow acceleration.
List Price Range
$27,329 - $36,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Comfort and interior quality are still key strengths for the redesigned 2016 Lexus RX 350, but a more carlike driving experience helps broaden its appeal. We think the latest RX is a smart pick for a luxury crossover SUV.

Notably, we picked the Lexus RX 350 as one of Edmunds' Best Used Luxury SUVs for 2016.

Vehicle overview

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: The 2016 Lexus RX 350 has an extremely large grille. If that black expanse were any bigger, Stephen Hawking would probably have to be called in to investigate for the presence of a black hole. At the same time, the all-new RX also has enough creases and sharp edges to make one think that Lexus delegated the design phase to a sword-slashing samurai. For a midsize crossover that has been quite anodyne until now, this makeover is bound to be a bit shocking.

An expansive new grille is one of the many changes Lexus made to the 2016 RX 350.

More importantly, however, there are plenty of substantive changes that make this luxury crossover SUV more carlike and indeed better than ever before. For one thing, Lexus increased the 2016 RX 350's wheelbase and overall length to improve interior space for passengers, while simultaneously raising the ride height and slimming out the roof line. The result is a much sleeker and less SUV-like profile, yet there's still abundant head- and legroom in both seating rows.

Up front, the dashboard is lower and the center control stack is more angled toward the driver (who also sits a bit lower), while the improved materials and construction are absolutely first-rate. Most RX models you'll find on a dealer lot will include the Navigation package with its colossal new 12.3-inch display, one of the largest you'll find this side of a Tesla. This display comes equipped with a revised, but still distracting-to-use Remote Touch controller that we think requires more driver attention than it should. In general, though, the new RX's infotainment features have been significantly updated to meet the expectations of tech-savvy shoppers.

For power, the RX 350 stays the course with its 3.5-liter V6, but now it makes 25 more horsepower (for a total of 295) and comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission that helps boost fuel economy slightly. Lexus has also retuned the suspension to provide better handling than prior RX models. The RX 350 F Sport, in particular, finally delivers the goods, boasting sharper steering than the standard version, plus an adaptive suspension that yields an impressively controlled, yet still comfortable ride. Ultimately, the F Sport is aimed more at mildly sporty competitors like the Acura MDX than at dedicated performance models, but it's a gratifying drive nonetheless.

There are a few reasons to think twice about this new RX. The aforementioned Remote Touch controller is one, along with modest acceleration and limited cargo capacity compared to segment norms. Other choices like the BMW X5, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90 are all worthy of a long look, and a few (including the MDX) offer optional third-row seating as well. But with its long list of improvements, the 2016 RX 350 brings a welcome dose of excitement and modernity while still maintaining the comfort and quality for which it's renowned.

2016 Lexus RX 350 models

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 is a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV available in two versions: regular and F Sport. The RX 450h hybrid is reviewed separately.

Lexus turns its back on the conservative styling of the old RX in favor of a fresh, exciting design.

Standard equipment on the RX 350 includes 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, selectable drive mode settings (alter steering, gas pedal sensitivity and transmission shift program), dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat (reclines, slides and folds), and "NuLuxe" premium vinyl upholstery. You also get a rearview camera, "Safety Connect" emergency communications (see Safety section), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the Display Audio tech interface (with a knob controller and an 8-inch display) and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, two USB ports and a media player interface.

The F Sport is technically a package and includes sportier exterior styling, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, additional drive mode settings, an engine noise enhancer, transmission paddle shifters, special gauges, heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery and special interior trim.

Options are grouped into packages or are stand-alone items. The availability of both can often depend on where you live.

The Premium package adds roof rails, automatic wipers, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, wood trim and a rear armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package adds, beyond the obvious, the Remote Touch electronics interface, a bigger 12.3-inch display, voice controls, the Lexus Enform App Suite and a 12-speaker sound system.

The Luxury package includes the Premium package items and adds 20-inch wheels (with a choice of color inserts), heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, four-way front seat lumbar adjustment, heated rear seats and power operation for the folding and reclining rear seatbacks. The Luxury package can be enhanced with a rear seat entertainment system, which includes two 11.6-inch angle-adjustable screens, a DVD player, an HDMI port and a 120-volt household-style power outlet.

Options that require the Premium, Luxury or F Sport packages include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic-view back-up camera and either a regular or panoramic sunroof. There's also a Lexus Safety System + package that consists of adaptive cruise control and accident avoidance features described in the Safety section below.

Other options include front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free power liftgate, upgraded LED headlights (with 18 individual LED accent lights), a color head-up display, a heated steering wheel and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

2016 Highlights

The Lexus RX has been completely redesigned for 2016.

Performance & mpg

Every 2016 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 295 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional (standard with F Sport).

In Edmunds testing, a front-drive RX 350 made the 0-60-mph sprint in 7.4 seconds, a slightly below-average time for a luxury crossover. Maximum towing capacity, when properly equipped, is 3,500 pounds.

Lexus expects EPA-estimated fuel economy to be 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) with front-wheel drive, and 22 mpg combined (19/26) with all-wheel drive.

Safety

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is also standard along with Lexus Enform Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and a stolen vehicle locator.

Optional safety features include a blind spot warning system bundled with rear-cross traffic alert. The Lexus Safety System + (requires Premium, Luxury or F Sport package) adds adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane departure intervention.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RX the best possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests, as well as a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

In Edmunds testing, a front-drive RX 350 came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, a few feet longer than average.

Driving

Power is merely sufficient in the RX 350, whereas the acceleration of most competitors would be described as at least energetic. The nebulous response and inconsistent effort of the standard RX steering setup also leaves something to be desired, while the standard suspension tuning doesn't instill the same level of confidence and control provided by most rivals. This RX is dynamically better than before, and certainly plenty comfortable and supremely quiet, but that's about as far as the platitudes go.

The exception, though, is the RX 350 F Sport. It doesn't do anything for the engine apart from piping extra noise into the cabin, but the rest of the dynamic package is greatly improved. The steering is more consistent in its weighting, even when switched into one of two Sport modes. It's the F Sport's adaptive suspension, though, that makes it the best of the RX bunch. Never mind the handling improvements. The main benefit is that the RX's body is more controlled when driving over bumps, yet the ride remains genuinely comfortable. We were surprised to find that it was perfectly pleasant even in the suspension's firmest, Sport S+ setting. Really, the F Sport feels "just right" and drives in a fashion similar to the MDX, if not quite the BMW X5.

Interior

With its lower seating position and driver-focused dashboard design, the 2016 Lexus RX 350 is palpably more carlike than its predecessors. But rest assured, you still get that elevated view of the surroundings that makes crossovers so popular. The overall design is also visually appealing (especially in the available two-tone color schemes), while the quality of materials and construction has been elevated to the same level as most upper-crust competitors (and above that of the Acura MDX).

The Lexus RX 350 has one of the nicest interiors in the midsize crossover segment.

There's plenty of headroom in the cabin despite the more radically raked roof line, even if some may find it a tad claustrophobic compared to some competitors (especially the airy Volvo XC90). The sliding and reclining backseat is wide and comfortable, with abundant legroom for even tall occupants, while further benefiting from optional power adjustment. The front seats seemed supportive during our initial test-drives, though larger drivers may find the F Sport model's sport seats too confining.

Cargo capacity leaves something to be desired. With that radically raked roof line, there's not much space above the cargo cover, meaning bulkier items are less likely to fit. Furthermore, the 40/20/40-split rear seatback doesn't quite fold flat. Listed cargo capacity is 18.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 56.3 cubic feet with the seats folded. Lexus has changed the way it measures total capacity, so these numbers aren't directly comparable to the previous RX, but suffice it to say that the new RX has less overall space than its competitors. There's also the fact that the MDX and XC90 have an extra row of seats.

Another downside is the Remote Touch electronics interface. Its mini-joystick-like controller is superior to the irritating touchpad found in the Lexus NX and RC, but this interface still requires a distracting degree of dexterity and concentration to operate effectively. If there's a silver lining, it's that Lexus bundles Remote Touch with the upgraded and truly sharp and impressive-looking 12.3-inch display.

A large, high-definition display screen tops a redesigned center stack.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Lexus RX 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Worth waiting for
David,12/29/2015
4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I traded my 2005 RX for the new 2016 model. I was ready to get a new RX two years ago but waited to see the new model as I saw the news trickle in over the past year. My 2005 RX was in great shape and a joy to drive so we had the luxury of waiting. I worked with the local Lexus dealer to keep me informed, put a deposit to hold one of the first units delivered and bought mine November 6th. Normally I would not buy a new model this early but it's a Lexus and I have had zero problems with the previous one and none thus far with the 2016. So, I can somewhat compare to my 2005 which had all options and the new model which has all options except AWD which I did not want. First, this car is larger than the earlier models. The specs don't tell the reality but you can see it and feel it in the interior. The exterior look for me was a bonus. I have the 20" wheels and they are awesome with the back inserts. The Triple Beam LED lighting and the aggressive grill give a younger appearance to the RX. Our exterior is Eminent White and interior Parchment. The interior layout is nicely done and mostly intuitive, especially is you have had a previous RX. As far as features, the Navigation and split screen on the 12.3" display is a big improvement to also control the audio, phone, climate and information. We had rain sensing windshield wipers before and would not buy a car without them. The big surprise was the color heads-up display which is integrated with the navigation and other information. Looks great and works great. Another feature we like is the Dynamic Cruise: Set it and the radar adjusts the distance set for moving traffic and it's all shown in the HUD (can't get any easier for interstate driving long distance). As far as performance, it's not a BMW and should not expect that type of car. It handles great for driving on rural and highway roads but don't take it to the track. The car is extremely quiet even at interstate speeds and local bumpy roads. For the almost two months of driving we have been getting about 25 MPG which is about what I expected. (If I was in Atlanta traffic I am sure it would be worse, but I moved from there). In summary, glad I waited. Not disappointed and surprised at the synergy of technology and driving experience. And of course the Lexus reliability. May keep this one for 11 years as well. UPDATE: It's been eight months and still love the car. I have not had any mechanical problems and just had the 6 month 5,000 mile check up. Amazing how Lexus can manufacture a total redesign and I got one of the first deliveries with no mechanical issues. The car is super quiet and fun to drive around town and interstates. As mentioned previously the navigation on the 12" screen paired with the color Heads Up Display is awesome. The one annoyance I have observed is the Lexus voice recognition command software. There is a comprehensive list of commands that work well when spoken as scripted but not very intuitive or forgiving. I am use to iPhone Siri level VR. However, I use the integrated Lexus Siri Hands Free capability often for many functions and that works well for phone and music. Overall, exceeded my expectations, highly recommended. ONE YEAR UPDATE: Not much to say other than the car has had no problems and I still love the car. Getting good gas mileage (25 combined) and have taken on several 500+ mile trips. Very comfortable and easy to drive. Navigation screen and Heads Up Display are great but map software not as current as iPhone and Google maps. There is a lot of features I am now getting comfortable with and also noticed the new RX has gotten the highest safety rating possible. Update July 2017 - No maintenance problems and rides like a champ. What is impressing me most is the gas mileage. I am getting 27+ on interstate driving and in town 22+. My previous RX got 16 / 21 so real happy about that. Also, still crazy about the Dynamic Cruise and Heads Up Display. Navigation and Voice Activation triage the weakest spot.
Nice upgrade from my RX 400h
Mel,03/10/2016
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I was very hesitant to buy the '16 model because of the huge grill but I decided I could get used to it. After a test drive I was sold. This vehicle is much, much quieter than my 2006 RX 400h. I will say that I really miss the CVT though. I opted for the Lexus Safety System and the blind spot monitor. The all-speed cruise control works great. It has taken me into freeway stop & go traffic and done fine. I really like the ability to choose the following distance (100, 130 or 160 feet) from a steering wheel mounted button. I'm not as impressed with the lane centering feature so I mostly leave it off. There is a front facing camera that "sees" lane lines and will make steering wheel inputs to keep you in the lane. It feels like there's a little invisible hand on the wheel making slight wheel inputs - which may not be the ones you want to make. It's a very odd sensation. The front camera also can detect human forms over 3 feet tall and will try to avoid hitting one up to about 50 mph. I have no experience with this and hope never to test it. The front facing radar is smarter than I expected it to be. I was afraid of sudden braking when a driver moved into the buffer area between you ant the car you had been following because if you leave a 100 -160 foot buffer in front of you it will certainly happen. However when it happens the system adjusts slowly just like I would. The blind spot monitoring / cross traffic radars in the rear are equally smart and seem to give warning at a greater distance when the car in the rear is closing at a rapid rate. Backing out of a parking space is much easier now when the radar units are looking for cars & the backup camera can recognize people walking behind you & sound a warning. Overall I'm very impressed with the safety systems. The new position prediction lines on the backup camera are a huge improvement over a wide angle camera with no lines line the one on the old Lexus. I also loved my old HID headlights and was very pleased to find the LED headlights gave me an equivalent amount of illumination. The 12 inch navigation screen turned out to be worth the extra money. I can set it up to split the screen to have both nav and my quick dial list showing. The joystick input device takes some getting used to but after a little use I can live with it. The voice recognition system is still poor although better than the nearly nonfunctional system on the old '06 model. I tried to get the nav system to give me guidance to an airport about 60 miles away and the best I could do while driving was to get the system to display the nearest 5 airports - none of which I wanted. I could have pressed my assist button & asked the operator to download the route into my nav system but I just waited until I was within about 20 miles and it showed up on the 'closest' list so I could select it. The nav system does have a HUGE weakness though and that is finding a shortest route during a recalculation. You are better off stopping the car, deleting the route and starting from scratch if you want to modify the route but allow the nav to recalculate a route at the end of your modification. A Garmin GPS does a much better job of both initial routing and recalculating a route. I love the ability to receive texts while driving and having them read to me. Even better is the ability to activate my iPhone Siri from the steering wheel and having 'her' send a text for me using only voice commands. Previously my texts went unread and unanswered until I stopped the car. My vehicle was delivered with the towing prep package. This made it incredibility easy to install a hitch I ordered from a company on the Internet. It took an extra body to help hold it up but in 20 minutes with a socket wrench I had the hitch & electrical connector installed. I'm really pleased with my purchase. Some systems are excellent and others are just ok or need some improvement but overall it's a very nice package.
2016 RX 350 Noise, Vibration - Lexus has no remedy
Walt,11/10/2016
4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
As of November 2017 update: Still no remedy to our vehicles exhaust noise/vibration. I've had a droning noise and vibration just off idle since new in my 2016 RX 350 FWD. I've taken my vehicle to 4 different Lexus Dealerships and they all say that Lexus is aware of the issue, but they have no remedy. The Lexus Field Service Technician has given me a $1,000 Lexus credit to use for my car (parts/service) while I wait for a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that will have the solution to my vibration/noise issue. I'm tired of waiting. I've had Lexus vehicles for 21 years. If Lexus does not find a solution to mine soon, this one will be my last. I've driven many different 2016 and a 2017 RX 350's. Some are smooth and quiet, some have a little vibration, mine is unacceptable. Be sure and test drive yours before your purchase. Check out Clublexus.com and you will see that I am not the only one with a noisy vibrating car. If someone from Lexus is reading this, please help us. Thanks for reading... Walt from Florence, Arizona.
noisy car
Raymond S.,08/24/2016
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
Car has an annoying drone noise when starting up and driving. Was told it was the exhaust and Lexus was designing a new system which when available would be installed. Have not been notified yet after 4 months. Intend to check with dealer to see what is happening. My guess is that if they are serious, the new system will be on the 2017 models and will then be available to be replaced on the 2016 cars for the people who complain. Since last posting, dealer replaced an exhaust assembly that Lexus Rep. suggested and car is fine now. It now sounds like it should for a Lexus. I am once again driving the Lexus I expected I would. Traded car for a 2017 RX 350 with all the available safety options and find the car to be quieter and more responsive than the 2016 was. Exhaust problem no longer is an issue and overall the car is now a pleasure to drive.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 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
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover18%
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 2016 Lexus RX 350

Used 2016 Lexus RX 350 Overview

The Used 2016 Lexus RX 350 is offered in the following submodels: RX 350 SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), and F SPORT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Lexus RX 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Lexus RX 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Lexus RX 350 Base is priced between $27,329 and$35,500 with odometer readings between 15304 and101527 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT is priced between $34,981 and$36,900 with odometer readings between 31451 and39996 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Lexus RX 350 for sale near. There are currently 28 used and CPO 2016 RX 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $27,329 and mileage as low as 15304 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 2016 Lexus RX 350.

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Find a used Lexus RX 350 for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $25,179.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $15,935.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus RX 350 for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $14,292.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,822.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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