2019 Lexus RX 350 Review
Pros & Cons
- Attractive cabin with top-quality materials and construction
- Standard suspension's ride quality makes almost any road feel smooth
- Advanced safety features come standard
- Wide cargo bay makes it easy to load luggage and groceries
- Optional tech interface is distracting to use
- F Sport greatly sacrifices road comfort for marginal handling gains
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto frustratingly absent
- Very little personality
Which RX 350 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Outright performance isn't the name of the RX 350's game, even when it is equipped with the F Sport package. But when it comes to merging on a highway or overtaking slower traffic, the smooth and powerful V6 engine gets the job done. Accelerating to 60 mph takes 7.9 seconds, which isn't as quick as most competitors but is still plenty adequate. More aggressive drivers will want to opt for the all-wheel drive for its superior traction.
Body roll is lessened with the F Sport package, but handling isn't really improved. The tires are the main letdown, but the Lexus can still confidently handle a twisty road. The brakes provide easy and smooth stopping power. And though the transmission is a little too eager to shift to a higher gear, it does its work almost transparently.
Comfort is paramount in a Lexus, and the RX 350 is generally excellent. The RX 350 can definitely take the edge off a long commute thanks to well-insulated windows, impressively comfortable seats covered in supple leather, and an effective and easy-to-use climate control system.
The only real negative, and it could be a deal-breaker, comes from the optional F Sport package, which, in the attempt to achieve sportier handling characteristics, throws any semblance of a relaxing ride right out the window. Moderately chewed-up roads will bounce and jitter occupants about in a very un-Lexus-like manner, and larger potholes can cause be jarring. We'd recommend steering clear of this package.
Even though the base of the windshield looks to be pretty far away, the dashboard and all major controls fall easily to hand. The buttons are on the large side, clearly labeled and easy to press, and most everything you touch feels well engineered and well considered. All passengers will appreciate the large square door openings, and there's plenty of room for tall people in the front and the back. Even the panoramic sunroof doesn't take away much headroom.
But Lexus' use of the joystick for infotainment controls frustrates us to no end. Even with improved feedback and weighting, it demands too much concentration to use as fluidly as the ones in a BMW or a Mercedes.
Thanks to its two-row configuration, there's always a good amount of storage — 18.4 cubic feet — in the trunk of the RX 350. That's not as big as some other midsize SUVs, but it's decent. And with 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, this luxury SUV has flexibility to carry an assortment of goods. It's even rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which, though far from class-leading, is still enough for a small trailer with a motorcycle or two.
Passengers get a fair amount of well-thought-out storage for personal items, even including a cupholder whose depth can be adjusted for taller mugs. Child seats will also have ample room for attachment thanks to the large door openings and plenty of rear legroom.
Opting for the Mark Levinson sound system can go a long way to alleviating the frustrations with the RX 350's infotainment system. The lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is chief among them. The navigation system, though quick-acting, is looking a bit dated. And despite good resolution, it can be hard to read because of somewhat cluttered graphics. The joystick control is a bit of a nuisance.
Thanks to the abundance of well-labeled buttons, the somewhat formal and command-heavy voice control system is often sidestepped. Driver aids are well calibrated, and we didn't have any false alarms or overreactions, though we would like the adaptive cruise control to be a bit more responsive to traffic flow.
|Overall||7.6 / 10|
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Features & Specs
Our experts like the RX 350 models:
- Lexus Safety System+
- Bundle includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and 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.