2017 Lexus RX 350 Review
Which RX 350 does Edmunds recommend?
Even if you're not interested in a sporty crossover, we think the F Sport is the way to go. Its improved handling doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort thanks to its adaptive suspension, and its styling enhancements give the RX a bit more flair. As for options, it's largely up to you. Though the Remote Touch interface is far from great, chances are you'll end up with it anyway to get some of the RX's other bundled feature extras.
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Impeccable cabin finished with top-quality materials and construction
- Ride quality makes almost any road feel smooth
- Advanced safety features come standard
- Wide cargo bay makes it easy to load luggage and groceries
- Less overall cargo capacity than competitors and no third-row seat
- Acceleration is merely average
- Optional tech interface is clever but distracting to use while driving
|Overall||4.5 / 5|
The 3.5-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic make a great team. The RX 350 chassis also steers, handles and brakes with poise and balance, unless you drive it like some kind of Porsche and push it quite hard. It's engaging enough feel for most people but stops short of being a sporty SUV.
It's easy to see the RX 350 as a pleasant place to spend a long road trip. It has comfy seats with available intelligent heating and cooling, the cabin is quiet and serene, and the ride is mostly smooth. We say "mostly" because this current-generation RX favors control over pillowy softness.
This easy-to-master cockpit is a spacious and comfy place to pass the miles. Overall it's excellent, but the huge rear entertainment screens should give you pause, and the cargo area isn't as versatile as those of rivals, many of which also offer three rows of seats (of admittedly debatable use).
Bold styling comes with a cost: reduced cargo capacity. Bulkier items are less likely to fit, and the 40/20/40-split folding seatback doesn't fold totally flat. Unless you're looking for max cargo and max luxury, don't consider it a deal-breaker. The optional hands-free power liftgate is a nice touch.
Befitting a luxury crossover, the RX 350 offers a generous set of standard safety and convenience tech. A robust list of options also covers a wide range of priorities, including a glorious panoramic sunroof, audiophile sound quality, heated surfaces, and decadent interior trim and upholstery.
Most helpful consumer reviews
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
So I've owned this car for almost exactly 11 months now and I've enjoyed every single mile of driving it. I have also owned and driven a Lexus LX 470 for 10 years and compared to that monstrous SUV this RX has been such a joy to drive plus the MPG is something that you can't even compare. Ive been averaging around 22-24 mpg in this car compared to the LX I only got around 12-15 mpg. I got the black AWD 3.5 V6 edition and not the F sport. The only real differences that I disliked in this model compared to the F sport is the plasticky spindle grill and the size of the tires 18 vs 20. I also have a regular size sunroof vs the panoramic Otherwise my two tone , cream and brown interior is gorgeous, I have the upgrade 13 in screen, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, back up cameras, parking assist etc. My model was lacking the wireless phone charger which I'm bummed about and it didn't come with the Lexus self drive system which is a glorified lane assist system. I managed to test that twice when I had a loaner car and the precision of the car for it to stay in the lane driving at 75mph or faster was quite impressive. It was almost like I was driving a Tesla. Styling: Rating 9.8 I love the wide spindle grill in the front and the floating roof line. It's very futuristic and quite a departure from the old school boring RXs of the past. I was looking into getting the Audi Q5 and when I saw this car I was immediately in love and forgot about the Audi. Ride Rating 9.7 Its buttery smooth and very pleasant. I do put the car in ECO mode 99% of the time so it does drive softer and slightly less under powered than when I have it on Sport mode. Materials Rating 9.3 Very high quality plastics and leather. Its soft touch plastics everywhere except the corner where the left of the steering wheel is at. That FEELS HARD AND like a TOYOTA. The wood grain is exceptional and I wanted the light wood interior to go along with the light cream interior. AWD Rating 9.8 Our house is on a hill in wintry and snowy Massachusetts and so far this SUV has exceeded my expectation being able to scale up our steep driveway without any problems at all. Noise Rating 9.8 I drive about 50 miles one way to the city and its a blessing for this car to insulate you from road noise and other noisy cars on the road Sound system Rating 6.8 Maybe I should have upgraded to the Mark Levison sound system because even though the stock sound system is good, it's truly not exceptional for this class and price point. My car is $58K and it's not even the F-sport Lexus Enform and NAV Rating 4.4 Ok. The screen is huge and it splits and its gorgeous. The controls though are clumsy and very tedious to use especially when you’re driving and trying to click on something on the screen using that mouse stick. TERRIBLE. I can’t wait until they use gesture controls like BMW and have a touch screen interface that is more intuitive Reliability and Service Rating 10 I've had 7 Audis, 1 BMW, 2 Mercedes Benz and Lexus got them beat in service. We even had outdoor bbq grills in the summertime and seamless service staff that takes care of the car when you take it there for service. Kudos to Lexus of Northborough in MA. Would I buy this car again? Yes definitely ! I would like to get the Atomic silver color and the premium 20 in wheels and the F sport for sure! Overall Rating 9.4 I have driven these other cars before and compared to these other models these are my ratings: Audi Q5 Rating 7.3 BMW X5 6.8 Ford Edge Titanium 6.2
4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
My wife's car, but I drive when we are together; about 75% of total miles. I am getting used to the engine groaning. The 8-speed transmission regularly upshifts when it can't maintain speed and shifts back down within four seconds, then repeats. It is the constant attempt to keep engine revs under 1,800 rpm for fuel economy that causes the groaning and very slight vibration. The engine is laboring, even under the light throttle of a gentle driver, the revs are so low. Downshifting manually a gear or two completely eliminates it, making the engine very smooth and quiet. The transmission is reluctant to downshift when speed drops on a hill with throttle still applied. When climbing a steep hill into our neighborhood, I must make a sharp turn. I feather the throttle to time my speed reduction to reach 6 or 7 mph as I reach the sharp corner, still climbing steeply. As I turn it gets steeper and I add throttle. The speed drops further because it's still in third gear. The torque converter sounds like it is being abused. The car slows to about two mph, slower than I want to go before dropping to second, but if I add enough throttle to make it downshift when it should it would surge ahead too strongly for the turn. It never selects first, which is what is needed. I now shift manually every time I climb any hill to prevent these problems. When I do, the engine is quiet, smooth, sounds happy at 2,000-2,500 rpm and of course there is no hunting. The transmission programming must have been done on flat land with fuel economy paramount. Positive effects are my gentle driving and their crummy programming have produced 25.5 mpg combined over many tanks of gas, which is well above EPA estimates. Beating EPA estimates by 15% is typical for me, but I can do it without such substandard transmission performance. One last transmission observation; when cruising gently, then deciding to pass, upon adding a lot of throttle suddenly the car does nothing for almost two seconds as it thinks, revs, drops several gears (all at once, to its credit) and finally takes off. Planning is required. Otherwise a great car. Very quiet, smooth riding, nice seat and steering wheel memory setup, 10,000 mi oil changes, very high quality materials with the luxury pkg. Lane Keeping Assist rarely works. Neither headlight system available, standard or optional, turns the headlights with the steering wheel, even though it is badly needed for curvy back road driving. Lexus incorrectly calls both systems "adaptive," which has always meant headlights swivelling with the steering wheel. Cornering lights with the optional LED headlights are very helpful when turning, but their light does not reach the light from the headlights and leaves a big dark area between them. Swiveling headlights would fix that. My BMW's truly adaptive bi-xenons with cornering lights that meet the edges of the high beams are far superior. Adaptive Bi-xenon means both low and high beams swivel. Wonderful for curvy roads, which is all we have around here. My tread depth gauge shows fast tire wear despite 98th percentile on gentleness. Power steering is easy at low speeds, as it should be. Overhead view with backup camera beside it can be selected to display automatically at 6 mph and below. It is terrific for parking. My wife loves this car. I like it a lot despite its flaws. Update Jan. 2018. Now back in Texas, our permanent home, the hills are gone and so are the groans and my dissatisfaction. The car shines in severe weather. The automatic seat heaters work great, the HVAC warms or cools the car quickly with less noise than thought possible and the seats are ultra comfortable (luxury package). The overhead camera system continues to satisfy. It is wonderful for parking straight in the middle of a parking space. Niggles - the cargo net came with a useless vinyl case that interferes with its function and I had to move it forward to the shopping bag hooks to get it out of the way and leave some room behind it for bigger things. Like every car I have ever seen, the spare is installed with the inflation valve facing down so that a very heavy wheel and tire (20") has to be lifted to air it up. It is so heavy I put it back in upside down and even though it cannot be bolted down. We both habitually select SPORT on the rotary transmission selector in front of the armrest, and arm the conventional cruise control which we prefer (hold button on end of stalk in for three seconds) every time we start the car. The transmission is much more responsive in SPORT and worth any small reduction in gas mileage. The adaptive cruise control is nice on a long trip, but it slows down so smoothly when coming up behind slower traffic that I don't notice, and interferes with my carefully timed passing plan. We love that the power windows slow down before stopping. There is no perfect car and this is a nice one.
F SPORT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I had two Toyota Highlanders before this Lexus RX350 FSPORT. The latest Highlander was an 08 Sport model. I got an FSPORT for the tighter suspension because the regular RX350 is supposed to be a little squishy for handling. I also test drove an Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Macan, Acura MDX and RDX, BMW X5 and X3 and a Highlander hybrid. Every one is a good SUV, but as a total package including reliability, I liked the Lexus. I have 5,500 miles on it right now. I have pushed it hard on a very curvy road to the neighborhood and it handles very well. There is just a hint of wanting to break loose when pushed to the limit, but body lean and steering are as good as it gets for an SUV. A Porsche might beat it, but not by much. The seating is comfortable, but my right knee wants to bump the underside of the dash or the center console when driving (I'm 6'1"). The seat and wheel move out of the way to enter and exit - nice touch. Mark Levinson sound system is very good and road and wind noise are hushed. Tons of safety features on my vehicle...radar cruise control is nice but ...more later, blind spot monitoring works very well, lane keeping assist is nice but can be annoying because it makes many small corrections, triple beam lights are very good, auto hi beams pretty good at detecting other cars but just a bit slow to respond at times, Acceleration is great but "Eco" mode constantly shifts back and forth at lower rpm's in lower gears. Visibility is good except out the rear sides where the C pillar blocks the view badly (backup camera makes up for that to some degree). Some of the safety features are tricky and at times annoying - they are not as refined as I would like. Examples: Radar cruise control resets based on the last set speed, not your current speed, unless you brake or cancel the setting and nothing tells you this; so if you set it at 35 and then accelerate to 55 and reset it, it will go to 34, not 55...not good for the cars behind you! Radar cruise will also bring the car to a near stop behind someone turning off to the right - so much so that a vehicle behind you may not expect it. Radar cruise will automatically trail and stop behind a car in front, but when you approach a car stopped at a red light, it is like a game of chicken - the car will stop, but it is too quick for comfort. When you reset radar cruise to a lower speed , it sometimes slows the car down by braking and other times it downshifts - unpredictability is not what I paid for. With a bike rack in a trailer hitch mount behind the car, you have to disable multiple safety features in order to be able to back up. You can override it temporarily by keeping your foot on the gas, but it is a tricky maneuver. The manual doesn't tell you this happens, so you get to call Lexus to ask how to make the car back up. The navigation display quit working as did the left side dash info screen for no apparent reason...restarted the car and it was okay. Nav system will take you on little back roads to save you 30 seconds rather than weighing time/distance with better roads - you will get there, but in a suboptimal way ... always check a map too. The A.C. system is anemic in cooling the car when it has been sitting in the sun - needs the fan to rev up more temporarily. Styling is a love it or hate it proposition and I am still undecided about that. You cannot get roof cross bars from Lexus if you have the panoramic roof - you must go to the aftermarket. Lexus says you have to modify the rear suspension on the FSport if you add their trailer hitch - but not if you buy a Curt hitch from etrailer! So, read all the footnotes for every option which is where this info is hidden. Given the price, reliability, handling, comfort, safety features, and interior space, this is a good bang for the buck, but disappointing in several annoying ways. I bought mine through Costco's auto buying program from a dealer 225 miles away and his price was $1,700 below invoice (not MSRP) with a few BS add ons to get $600 of profit back. I thought it was a good deal since it gave up all the regular margin and his 2% hold back. MSRP with options and delivery was $61,000.
4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I have owned a 2002 1st generation RX300. Bought it as a CPO and loved it. Smooth, tight, solid in everyway. It had good road feel. This new 2017 4th generation is none of those things. Even though my wife bought this car for the luxury and comfort of Lexus, it only partially delivers on that. The feel of the steering feels so disengaged from the road. My 2011 Genesis had complaints about its electric steering but it is orders of magnitude better. The 12" Navigation works but it is a mess. Steep learning curve and it is difficult to manage while driving. You really need to pull over or futz with it at stop lights. But the biggest issue is the lousy buzzing feel we get through the pedal and floor board of the driver. Mostly when the engine is under load. Lexus is being very cagy about this. Sometimes there is an admission of the problem, and other times, you get an answer of "this is normal". Its' either an exhaust issue, tranny issue, or engine mount issue. This is at least the consensus on clublexus.com (be sure to read the over 60 page thread on this topic before you buy this car.) I wish I had.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the RX 350 models:
- Lexus Safety System+
- Bundle includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation/automatic braking, and lane departure warning/lane keeping assist.
- Lexus Enform Safety Connect
- This system can automatically alert emergency services in the event of a crash or distress. Also includes a stolen vehicle locator.
- Panoramic Rearview Camera
- Maximizing the 12.3-inch widescreen display, the panoramic rearview camera gives a broad look at what's behind you before you back up.