With its smooth V6 powertrain and pampering interior, the Lexus RX is a top-ranked midsize luxury SUV. It’s practical, too, with several driver safety features and a reputation for reliability. The cabin controls, made from high-quality materials, are easy to use. A fuel-efficient hybrid is available, as is an extended-wheelbase. It isn’t as sporty as some rivals, but the RX succeeds by playing to its comfort and craftsmanship strengths.
Exceptionally smooth and quiet powertrain; Elegant interior filled with upmarket materials; Lower starting price than many competitors
Cargo capacity is minimal behind third-row; Engine and handling are not as sporty as rivals
What’s New: Additional standard driver safety features; Power-folding auto-dim mirrors also included; Wireless phone charger added as an option; Some shuffling of available interior colors
There are two primary trim levels shoppers can choose from, mainly separated by whether their engine is gas (RX 350) or a hybrid (RX 450h). Each is available with an F Sport Package or an extended-wheel-base L version that adds a third-row seat.
The RX 350 has a starting MSRP of about $45,000. Standard driver safety aids include forward-collision warning, pedestrian and road sign detection, a lane-centering feature, full-speed adaptive cruise control that can handle stop-and-go traffic, and automatic high beams. The standard features list is generous. Noteworthy among them are proximity keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, a leatherette upholstery, a nine-speaker premium audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a split-folding second-row, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power liftgate, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.
The RX 450h comes with standard all-wheel-drive, a hybrid powertrain, a concealed exhaust outlet, an all-electric drive mode, a vehicle dynamics system that helps prevent skidding. Prices start at about $48,000. The L version of the RX 350 and 450h extend the vehicles’ wheelbase by almost five inches, making room for a power-folding and -reclining third-row seat.
The L also comes with a second-row storage compartment that doubles as an armrest, three-zone climate control, aluminum roof rails, and a concealed exhaust. The RX 450hL also gets second-row captain’s chairs, which are optional on the 350L.
Both trims also come in F Sport form. It comes with a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats with enhanced bolsters, a perforated leather steering wheel, race-inspired instrument gauges, aluminum interior trim, LED ambient lighting, 20-inch alloy wheels, black exterior mirrors, unique exterior accents, as well as memory settings for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, and steering wheel.
Lexus offers many options for shoppers to add even more luxury to their vehicles. Heated and ventilated front seats are available, as is a color head-up display that projects important information onto the windshield. The Luxury Package includes amenities like a heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel and premium leather seating. The Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system has 15 speakers and 835 watts of power.
Drivers wanting a quiet and comfortable SUV that will transport them to their destination with little drama will adore the Lexus RX. Its modern exterior is attractive without commanding attention. The cabin is roomy and well-constructed. Very convenient, it is easy to drive and packed with driver safety features. The RX 450h hybrid variant offers excellent fuel economy without any loss in driving performance.
There is an extended-wheelbase version, but it sacrifices some of the legroom throughout the vehicle to make room for a tiny third-row. It also inhibits cargo space. An F Sport trim adds a sporty suspension and sleek exterior accents for a more exciting feel, but engine power remains the same. Nonetheless, the RX’s primary goal is to provide owners with a luxurious driving experience that will make any drive more comfortable and more relaxing. On those fronts, it’s a resounding success.