Looking for a well-rounded luxury crossover? The 2017 Lexus RX 350 might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
BRYN MACKINNON: Bryn MacKinnon, and this is an Edmunds' expert rundown of the 2017 Lexus RX 350. For years, the RX350 has been a go-to in the luxury SUV segment, and it's pretty easy to see why. Basically, the RX 350 puts a bunch of luxury equipment in a really well-rounded SUV. It has a quiet, smooth highway ride and excellent seats. Add some pretty bold styling to that equation, and you've got a good combo. Not everything is perfect though. The RX 350 isn't exactly slow, but it's a bit behind the competition when it comes to sheer acceleration. It's also a bit less sporting than the styling or the F sport badges suggest. Suspiciously missing from the RX is a third row seat. That's an item you will find in several rivals. Passengers in the second row will have plenty of space to stretch out, but you'll need to look elsewhere for a six or seven passenger option. Up front, the Lexus is roomy, with great visibility, lots of available tech, and all sorts of optional safety equipment. There's also a sophisticated remote touch mouselike controller. Basically, it's a center console mouse pad that controls the infotainment system. And it sounds like a good idea at first, but in practice, it's not very easy to master. Bottom line, the 2017 Lexus RX 350 has been popular for a long time, and with good reason. It's a comfortable, quiet, and generally impressive luxury SUV. There are a few excellent rivals worth checking out, though. We recommend looking at the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the Acura MDX, and the BMW X3. For more Edmunds expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
The 2017 Lexus RX 350 is a direct descendent of a sneaky revolutionary, the 1999 RX 300 that pioneered the now-crowded luxury crossover segment. Thanks to a redesign for 2016, the RX 350 is more athletic looking and well-tailored than ever before. And with that bold grille right up front, it's undeniably distinctive.
Under the new skin is a more comfortable, versatile interior that's spectacularly illuminated with ambient lighting. The RX's leather-trimmed cockpit elegantly blends the best of a sedan's comfort with the usability of a utility wagon. There's plenty of legroom and headroom, plus enough onboard entertainment options to keep the kids amused until they have kids of their own.
While it's hardly optimized for off-road work, Lexus lifted the RX's all-independent suspension slightly last year, allowing it to clear more obstacles than you might think. The engine is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 295 horsepower and matched to an unobtrusive eight-speed automatic transmission. Both front- and all-wheel drive are offered. The RX 350's brother, the RX 450h (reviewed separately), uses the same body shell and features a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain.
The EPA rates the front-wheel drive RX 350 at 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city/27 mpg highway), and the all-wheel-drive model at 19 city/26 highway).
Compared to previous Lexus RXs, this one handles significantly better. The standard RX 350 wheels are 18 inches in diameter, with the sportier F-Sport model equipped with 20-inch wheels and more aggressive tires. The F-Sport also gets an adaptive suspension, quicker and more responsive steering and F-Sport badges.
Sporty, however, is a relative term, as any RX 350 is more comfortable cruising on road than trying to set a track record. Ultimately, the RX is only modestly powerful, and the suspension is softly sprung. Moreover, if you need a third-row seat, you can't get one in the RX 350. But if you only need two rows, rest assured that the RX 350's sliding and reclining backseat is satisfyingly spacious, even for larger adults.
When the first Lexus RX went on sale way back when, it was the obvious choice in luxury crossovers. After all, it was the only luxury crossover. Now the market is overrun with the breed, so choosing the right one for you means doing some solid research. That's what we give you here at Edmunds.com. Use all of our tools and enjoy knowing you made an informed and confident choice.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.