By on July 29, 2016

2016 Lexus RX 350, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

2016 Lexus RX 350 AWD

3.5-liter DOHC V6 w/ VVT-iW (295 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 267 lbs-ft torque @ 4,700 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive available in U.S.)

19 city / 26 highway / 22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price (AWD): $44,250 (U.S.) / $56,495 (Canada)

As Tested (AWD w/ options): $57,819 (U.S.) / $70,145 (Canada)

All prices include $950 destination fee (U.S.) or $2,145 destination fee and A/C tax (Canada). U.S. pricing not exact due to regional packaging differences.

“I hope someone’s watching.”

That thought ran through my head on my first night in the 2016 Lexus RX 350. No, I wasn’t doing something the cops should know about. This is TTAC, not Vice.

See, night had just fallen, and Lexus’s stalwart midsize luxury crossover was taking me home. I pulled up to the last stop sign and signaled for a right turn. Well, didn’t the RX 350’s yet-unnoticed LED cornering lamps light up that street corner like a baseball diamond. Nice — this is what people pay for, I thought. I hope someone’s watching. 

It’s fickle, but it’s the little things that make you feel special. For my mother, it was the fender-mounted turn signal lamps that got her into her first new car — a ’76 Plymouth Volare (a decision she rightfully laments to this day.)

Cobble together enough feel-good features — ideally paired with a reliable powertrain (side-eye to the former Chrysler Corp.) — and you’ve got a pretty compelling package to dangle in front of buyers.

That’s assuming they like the face.

2016 Lexus RX 350, Image: © 2016 Steph WIllems/The Truth About Cars

When optioned to the gills like this tester, the RX 350 ticks every box on the luxury checklist. Every passenger had that one particular feature that tickled their own personal fancy. For one, the overhead view of the vehicle displayed on the 12.3-inch media screen when the transmission was in reverse did the trick. The wireless charging system thrilled another whose phone was on the verge of going dark. Panoramic sunroof? Hey, aren’t we important people …

Funny, there were no compliments reserved for seat comfort, ride quality or the power of Toyota’s venerable-but-trustworthy 3.5-liter V6. There weren’t any complaints, either, because there was nothing for them to complain about. To my traveling companions, the RX 350 felt and drove like a luxury vehicle should. When asked what it cost, I told them, down to the dollar.

“Yikes,” was the inevitable reply. And guess what? Every last feature they fawned over was an option. Feeling extra comes with a premium, and their reactions should leave the base RX 350 feeling insecure and vulnerable.

The folks at Lexus will be pleased no one frowned at the exterior styling. For its 2016 redesign, Lexus tossed the RX 350’s conservative duds and raided its younger sister’s closet. The result? A healthy dose of aggressive, brawny design attitude and a body that no longer causes narcolepsy. Some might complain that the flanks are too busy, that the angular slashes and creases are akin to a zebra-pattern-and-neon ’80s album cover. I say hallelujah. Yes, the gaping corporate Predator spindle grille isn’t for all tastes, but fortune favors the bold.

2016 Lexus RX 350 interior, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

Step inside, and any worries a buyer might have had about being too stodgy to be seen in the vehicle melt away. The RX 350’s cabin delivers what traditional buyers want. Soft leather under both hands, both elbows, and backside. Tasteful amounts of dark wood trim and chrome accents. Volume and tuning knobs to ease technology fears. An analog clock mounted in the center of the dash that screams this is serious luxury — don’t you dare forget it!

The technology was strong with this one. Lexus kept the Remote Touch joystick controller for the RX 350’s infotainment system, sending the touchpad to other models in the lineup. The concept is fine, but the sensitive controller requires a surgeon’s touch. By the end of the of the week, I’d stopped overshooting targets in the menu, but passengers were all over the map.

Oh, speaking of maps — what a navigation system. Accurate, detailed, and functions well with the joystick. This system would find the missing Malaysian jetliner.

It’s not hard to imagine buyers of an older persuasion being flummoxed by the level of technology, even though this hasn’t crept up overnight, but it’s not a tall fence to jump. I’ll admit — maybe it was the sauna-like heat that day — to a few moments where I wanted to put my fist through the screen. Still, once those presets are punched in, the stereo settings adjusted, your phone synced, there’s little reason to use the interface. Serenity now.

2016 Lexus RX 350 rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

On the road, there’s damn little to get excited about, good or bad. Acceleration is decent for a 4,387-pound crossover packing a naturally aspirated V6 making 295 horsepower and 268 pounds-feet of torque. It sure isn’t breathtaking.

With construction season in full bloom and lakeside cottages beckoning, the independent suspension (stabilizer bars front and rear) wasn’t shown any mercy. The heavy crossover showed little body roll during cornering, and the worst rural access routes were soaked up without any dammit, am I in trouble moments. This Lexus handles itself well in the rough — even on gravel-strewn twisties, it was rare to see the traction control light blink.

Around town, the RX 350’s grab bag of driver-assistance aids and proximity warnings that would impress the U.S. Navy kept insurers and law enforcement away. Of all the available options, these liability busters are an easy sell. Knowing your vehicle is looking out for you leads to comfort. And comfort = luxury.

Working against all this so-competent-it’s-boring niceness is a transmission that doesn’t want to stay in the background. The eight-speed unit excels at upshifting, but doesn’t earn any gold stars for doing the opposite. Under light or heavy acceleration at speed, it often hesitates before a downshift, silently calculating where it should go from here. A right foot request for just a touch more power often comes with a jarring multi-gear downshift, when dropping a cog or two would have sufficed. During a vigorous launch from a standstill, the tranny whines like a partisan on Twitter.

This wouldn’t happen with a well-spaced six-speed, but the quest for greater fuel economy comes with annoying trade-offs. The EPA rates the RX 350’s thirst at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. A 60-mile cottage run returned 27 mpg. But after a week of mixed driving, observed mileage was a less-than-stellar 20 mpg. Thankfully, this carriage drinks regular unleaded well swill, not that fancy, shelf-above-the-bar stuff.

2016 Lexus RX 350, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

Again, all the niceties pack a premium. A base all-wheel-drive RX 350 carries a U.S. MSRP of $44,250 (including delivery, processing and handling), which rises to $57,819 when outfitted like this tester. North of the border, the model rang in at $70,145 after freight and fees. A single executive option package in Canada, containing all those “I’ve achieved something in life” goodies, was a $14,050 add-on.

Take away the five-figure options, and the wow factor slips away from the experience. Fewer “hey, watch this!” moments aren’t a big concern for returning buyers who can get by with 18-inch wheels and a regular backup camera, but new buyers could be more easily swayed to other brands offering greater content for the money.

Still, Lexus has an ace up its sleeve — its name, and the reputation it brings. And it doesn’t hurt that the RX was a pioneer in the luxury crossover field. Brand recognition, plus a long-awaited redesign, could easily keep sales in the six-figure range and the folks in Cambridge, Ontario happy.

[Images: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

102 Comments on “2016 Lexus RX 350 AWD Review – Tradition in Disguise...”


  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Am I the only one who finds all these in-your-face-ads and constant Facebook requests currently at TTAC extremely irritating?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You must not have an ad blocker.

      It’s a shame that Vertical Scope goes overboard with this stuff, as that is what prompts folks like myself to use ad blockers. I don’t mind ads per se, but I do mind it when they crash your browser and otherwise make it next to impossible to read the content. They’re ruining it for the websites that use advertising appropriately, because now I see almost no advertising.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIGuy

      I didn’t notice those on Chrome, but the videos grid everything to a halt. Even if I pause the playback it seems to start up again on its own. Some of them don’t have a pause button, either.

  • avatar
    NoDoors

    Still hate the grill.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The spindle-grille here really isn’t a bad look. It’s when you get to the F-Sport trim that it starts to look unpalatable, to me.

    As far as the RX itself, I’m really impressed with the cabin. I think Lexus made great strides this time around to make the interior feel more artisanal and ceremonial, less like a tarted-up Toyota than it ever has. This one kind of closes the gap between, say, a BMW X5 and an RX (because, surprisingly, those cars are cross-shopped a lot, and buyers switch back and forth between the two). If you don’t care about the X5’s nicer 4×4 hardware (though still no low-range gearing) and RWD-based drivetrain, the RX may be a better long-term bet. It’s definitely as nice from the inside.

    For direct competitors, I’d say the Lincoln MKX made big leaps in its own right, but aside from the MKX’s nicer seats, its cabin is no match for this new RX. The jury is still out on the Cadillac XT5; I haven’t yet spent any time with one, although it, too, looks far more upscale than its predecessor (the SRX) ever did.

    I think the RX will continue to be a sales success.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m surprised to see you say that of the grille, as you generally seem like a pretty aesthetically-aware person. Look at it again – it’s faux in the worst way, just like those quad IS-F tailpipes which you hate. Gaping for no reason, a stylistic choice they’ve clung to because people who make nice designs are (apparently) all deceased.

      The picture of only the front end, taken as a whole, is disgusting.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Between the Lexus grille and Toyotas ugly new styling (Looking at Prius in particular), I think they’re gettin tired of being called “boring”.

        Now they get to be called ugly

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Disgusting – well said. Interior is great, I’m ok with the body panels. But that maw – frankly it is a deal killer. At the last NAICS all these Lexus models were lined up with this disgusting maw. Indoors, where it looks even more oversized, it is even worse. So for our family, Lexus as a whole is a non starter.

        Regarding the tech inside, I’d imagine some age groups struggling to learn the operation. I have a good comfort level with tech, but in my book the tech has to improve the previous method of operation, not just change it for the sake of change. Here, its a mixed bag. I don’t know the typical age of buyers, but if this is supposed to sell to 60 plus buyers, most will have difficulty with that mouse-like control. Why would anybody consider that to be a good method of input in a car? I’d imagine trying to adjust the control and hitting a bump at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The spindle grille doesn’t bother me. It looks like an old-school Cylon (http://wootinigallery.com/wp-content/uploads/2010-VEL-9_CylonCenturion.jpg) and since I’m a BSG fan, no problem.

      What does bug me is the ten zillion character lines on the side. And the d-pillar is silly (and if I’m not mistaken, it’s just black plastic cladding over metal…chintzy). Everything seems to be going in a zillion directions at the same time.

      I’m not all that impressed by Lexus interiors anymore either.

      I think the big winner in this class will actually be the Lincoln MKX. That car has taken off big time in sales. That feels like a better RX than the one Lexus builds. Jury’s out on the XT5 but I think it’ll at least hold it’s own.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I don’t know. I’ve become a big fan of Lincoln, but build-quality is lacking. On both the new Edge and MKX, I’ve seen panel-gap issues that would get a Lexus assembly worker taken out back and shot. I was next to a brand-new MKX 2.7TT the other day (which is a much more exciting engine than that in the RX), and the lift-gate was more crooked than anything I’d ever seen before. On what was surely a $50K purchase. Ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        This thing and the new Murano are a mess of lines and curves! The older models where smooth and nicely shaped. Between the stupid grills and the horrible D-pillar I can’t looking at either CUV without feeling sad about the direction of auto design these days. However most people will not care… instead they will be inside surrounded by leather and streaming Pandora while playing Pokemon Go. The price tag is insane too, but its a soccer moms dream ride so the monthly bill will be lost in a sea of Sam’s Club and Amazon Prime receipts.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Agreed, It seems most folks at Club Lexus prefer the F sport grille. I find it over the top, And prefer the luxury grille with the horizontal slats, I think it looks perfect. When I was looking at the 2016 RX I was impressed at the rear seat headroom below the panoramic sunroof, can’t say the same about the Grand Cherokee, or the SRX (I hear the XT5 is the same way, though I haven’t checked one out yet). The other thing that impressed me about the new RX is that the doors are so heavy, and solid feeling, Which I like. The doors on my 07 RX are VERY light, and hollow feeling, but then I remember the 2016 RX is 500 pounds heavier than my 07.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I agree about the sales success but disagree about the interior. My reaction was exactly the opposite: This interior to my eyes doesn’t look notably upmarket of the latest top-trim Mazda or Hyundai, and falls way short of, say, Volvo.

      I think Lexus will continue to get away with coasting on its laurels, but I also think that’s exactly what it’s doing. The visible cheapening continues. Baruth’s comments about “a cynical exercise in badge engineering” leaps to mind.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The story of Lexus:
    “Ugh, gross, that front end is hideous! Why would you do that, it ruins the whole car. Blech. Here’s my down payment check.”

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It’s one thing to buy an old Cavalier because you just can’t afford anything else or because it was $50 and really cheap transportation. But people do not plunk down $58K on a new luxury car that they think is ugly. So people must like Lexus’ styling, since sales are strong.

      And I think it looks a lot better than it did. With the IS, RC, NX, the heavily-refreshed-for-2016 LX and now this new RX, we’re hitting a wave of products that were designed from the start with the larger spindle-grille in mind, so they incorporate it more wholly. Remember that the LS, GX, CT and the old RX were originally designed without the spindle grille…and the ES and GS were designed with a smaller, more-subtle spindle in mind. So those products still look a bit awkward with it.

      But I think this works.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Gaudy styling aside, just looking at the front end makes me think if you damage any of it, it will mean the entire thing will need replaced. Just look at it, where does the front clip end? Can the headlights even be removed from the front clip or are they attached?

        This is not progress, especially from “the pursuit of perfection”, this is a level of stupid I expect from JdN’s Soho brain trust.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The reason Lexus sales are so great, and RX in particular, are three-fold.

        1) The historical reliability of Lexus and the RX, which has been fantastic.
        2) The current hypnotic effect a mid-size CUV has on people with money.
        3) The Lexus badge, which is recognizable as luxury in all American situations.

        I’d argue they’d be even more successful if they had designs which made sense, like they used to.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        I would argue that a large contingent of Lexus’ buyers would buy a car like that old Cavalier (for $42k) as long as it was built by Lexus and had the badge.

        I would also argue that the majority of people who claim they like the look of the Lexus lineup would deride the cars if they had, say, a Chevrolet badge on them instead of the L.

        Lots of people who buy Lexus only buy Lexus.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          In fairness, I don’t think a Chevrolet badge would fit that design so well.

          But you have a point. Chevrolet (and GM in general) has a reputation for making subpar products (although they have improved substantially). Lexus does not. So, it makes sense for people to go with a brand they believe they trust, versus one they don’t think they can.

          Not to mention Lexus’ superb customer service and relations.

          I see the allure of the L. I’m considering a CPO (2013-2015) GS350 as a replacement for the GSW. It’s probably a safer bet than the 2011-2013 535i that I’m also considering.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            @Kyree

            I don’t think you will be disappointed with the 2013-2015 GS. It really is a gorgeous car, and it has an amazing interior. I think it looks better than the 5 series, and is be more reliable too.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            My coworker is doing the hard sell to try to get me to buy a GS. He knows I got hooked on the L when I was working on the IS300 I got for my mom.

            And then my dad says that Lexus is the boring man’s BMW.

            In my mind, I’d rather be married to boring and date exciting.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Land Ark

            Give in, you know you want too.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            @Land Ark

            I find the (2011-) 5 series styling, and Interior more “boring” than the GS. (well at least the 2013-2015 GS, I think Lexus ruined the styling of the 2016 GS)

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Brand recognition counts for a lot. There was a study with a soon to be released Buick a few years ago. Car was debadged and put into shopping malls. When people (who were asked for their opinion) were told it was a Lexus, it received the highest marks for fit and finish. Not given a brand at all, its score dropped. When told it was a Buick, the score dropped even further. So, perception plays a role in everything. Now, it is fair to argue where that perception came from, but it should be noted that personal biases are all but impossible to eliminate. Only way is to constantly improve, get high marks in non-car mags like CR, and be reliable. It takes a decade or more, but the long walk starts with the first steps.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          They buy Lexus because they’ve yet to get burned by a Lexus. I can’t tell you how many people I know are on their 4th or 5th Lexus because they haven’t found a reason to leave. If a Cavalier were built to Lexus standards, it might find some willing customers.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think most would think that the Edsel toilet seat/horse collar grilles were the ugliest ever – until Toyota came along with these. Phooey. There’s no way that can be made to look attractive to me.

    I’ll never go bass fishing again.

    Oh – BTW, the Kia Optima wants its roofline back.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I remember when Lexus WAS the value brand.

    Lexus is being attacked from the bottom of the market with offerings like the Kia shortage. They offer almost all the same features for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Also less resale, less prestige, less reliability, seems like less of everything.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think people who compare Lexus to Kia have only sat in a Kia and never in a Lexus.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Yeah, up to now, there’s really not been a Kia that I could say was comparable to a contemporary Lexus. Not even the K900.

          But Kia could probably build such a car if it wanted.

          Really, the Sportage looks more like a budget-Macan than a budget-RX.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And more competition as well…when Lexus started, Audi was in the toilet and Cadillac and Lincoln had a whole different customer base that wasn’t all that interested in cut-rate S-class clones.

      Not so anymore.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think the market has spoken on the styling…

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2016/07/usa-luxury-suv-crossover-sales-by-model-june-2016.html#more

    In a hot segment where most of the major players are WAY up (check out the Lincoln MKX and Mercedes M-class), the RX is only up a modest 11.6%.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m not sure your linked data supports your assertion. Year-to-date, the RX outsells every competitor on that list by ~2:1 or higher. The tame looking MDX slid 16%. The X5 was down by 23%. The SRX down 36%. The M-class was up only 10%. Lincoln’s gains only brought it to 1/3 of RX sales. Perhaps a redesign like the RX should be seeing bigger sales bumps in the first 6 or so months of its release, but when you are the segment leader how much larger do you expect to get?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In a segment that’s this hot, I’d expect a larger sales increase.

        Also:
        1) SRX is down because it’s out of production and I don’t think the XT5 replacement started hitting dealers in volume until sometime last month. Hard to tell where this would land, but I’d expect the sales for this model to be at least what they were for the SRX.

        2) M-class is the same as GLE (stupid alphanumeric naming conventions) and is up 27% from last year.

        Point being, other competitive vehicles are keeping the RX from posting higher increases. Like I said…the market is speaking.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          You said the market is speaking *because of the style*. That’s not backed up or even ascertainable from that data.

          The YTD midsize luxury SUV market grew 8.7%, so the 11.6% RX growth outpaced it. How high should it have been? How many RX sales are being taken up by other brands?

          The 27% M-class growth is June only, Jan-June YTD data is likely less volatile and shows only a 10% increase.

          Good point on the SRX, I done forgotted they switched to XT5.

          Sorry to be obnoxiously pedantic, but I’m dealing with data analysis today and so this kind of thing is on my mind.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I’ve never been interested in this car, but appreciate what it does for Lexus. I find the new, hard edged angular design off putting. I’ve always heard these are rather soft in the handling, which further takes it out of contention for me.

    Quite honestly, I am very surprised that they cost so much. At that price point, I’d be looking at some other vehicles. As far as options, everything in this price point has a long list of options and packages. That isn’t unique to Lexus.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The interior is fantastic, as it should be.
    The back end is kind of OK, and resembles several vehicles already on the market for a few years.
    The sides and front are ridiculously overstyled. Maybe standing out will be a selling point; it’s just so ugly you can’t stop looking at it. The oversized wheels, undersized glass and slashes and gashes would be fine for an imaginative sixth-grader’s doodlings, but they make this Lexus a styling joke. And they will sell lots of them to middle aged females, and laugh all the way to the bank.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’ve decided I want Toyota to take over manufacturing and supply for Volvo (but not design), because then the cars I want would exist.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      +1. Except no 2.0 turbo in stuff like the XC90 and S90. That’s just damn foolishness. I don’t care if it uses more fuel, put the LS460’s V8 in there. Silky durable engine in two beautifully designed cars.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Agree. The S90 is much too big for a little tiny spinny turbo engine. The clientele they wish to attract is -used to- bigger engines in their flagship vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        Unfortunately, I don’t think a V8 or even V6 would fit in there, as those cars were designed with 4 cylinders in mind. Maybe a really compact V6 would fit. I know Volvo had trouble fitting a V8 in the first XC90, and had to turn to Yamaha for help. But yes Volvo styling, with Toyota reliability would be golden.

  • avatar
    bricoler1946

    Though it maybe nice on the inside, I can’t get over how ugly that cowcatcher front end is,and the back isn’t any better.Still, if you only drive it at night!

  • avatar
    badhobz

    I have a 2008 RX400h and went to test drive this exact thing a week ago. I would say the interior although is more modern looking, it isnt exactly up to snuff compared to our older 400h. The wood felt cheap and the plastics (although soft touch) were everywhere. The seats were also a lot firmer and tries too hard to mimic the X5’s sport seats but failing to have the same adjust-ability. Driving dynamics were meh.. and our 400h felt more peppy than the base v6.

    Our 400h has been bulletproof and gets consistently 8.5l/100kms around town while doing the same on the highway. Plus the seats are better!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, maybe wait and see if Lincoln comes out with a MKX Hybrid. The MKX has a set of seats that absolutely rival BMW’s Multi-Contour seats on the X5 (and several other models).

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        It’s funny, the premise that it is the collection of features that make a car desirable really struck home with me. Lincoln’s Multi-Contour seats are a great example. Last week, after two hours in the drivers seat, I remembered to turn on the massage and the seat cooling. The result was wonderful. Having had this feature (and others such as adaptive headlights), I would be loathe to give them up.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I think in many cases the newer Lexus models do have cheaper looking interiors.

      I currently have an LS430, and it feels like a Rolls Royce compared to the new LS models. I wouldn’t call the new one “cheap” but it doesn’t feel flagship inside.

      I still think Audi is the king of interior quality.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’d say Mercedes-Benz is better at interiors than Audi in terms of quality. Really, even the A6 and A7 can look and feel rather cheap if you spec them sparsely. Ditto for everything BMW makes. Meanwhile, everything in a Mercedes-Benz north of the CLA and GLA-Class feels substantial and well-made. I especially love Mercedes-Benz’ switchgear.

        A close second-place goes to Volvo, hands-down, for the new XC90 and S90 / V90…the quality for which should presumably trickle down the lineup.

        I do love what Audi has done with the Q7’s interior, though.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Every time I see an A7, I stare at it until I can see it no longer. Especially in dark colors. So slick.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Oh, the A7 is gorgeous (although the 2017 Panamera may give it a run for its VW-Group money). But it still feels like an expensive version of a lesser car.

            http://icdn-1.motor1.com/images/mgl/VL9xM/s3/2017-porsche-panamera-spy-photo.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Now I ask this without sarcasm: What’s changed besides slightly larger brake lamps?

            While the A7 is slick to my eye and very appealing, the Panamera has always had a dry heave hunch about it. The interior is beautifully done on the Panamera, but I’d still select the lesser A7.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            I’ve never really decided if I like the A7. I can’t decide if it’s feeling a little dated to me, but I do like that Audi built the car and gave car buyers something a little different. I would easily lean more to a Panamera in this class.

            Had a nice RS7 rapidly approach me yesterday before it went on the pass me. I was already moving along at a pretty fast pace.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            I never understand why people like the A7 so much, I think it, and the Panamera look extremely ugly. I prefer the styling of the A6, it looks much more proportional to my eyes.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I was driving next to a S7 on the highway yesterday. Very difficult to focus on the task at hand! Fortunately, it was to my left so I was able to put my window down as the S7 decided for some random reason, probably the sweet sound that mill makes, to drop the loud pedal.
            Two take aways from the experience…
            1. Good Gawd is that a fast car for its size
            2. The exhaust note of the S7 is heavenly.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          Eh, I don’t feel that way about Mercedes. A relative has a new Mercedes GL, out the door close to $90k and it feels like a gussied up VW to me.

          I’ve heard the new E class though is nice.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The GL has been and always will be an overpriced pig which does not compete well with its rivals except on a badge basis. I will hate it until it gets completely replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      eaglevision

      I know what you are talking about. Older Lexus/Toyota build quality and comfort are the bee’s knees. I miss the availability of factory-installed light-up door sill plates that came on your generation’s RX330 and RX350 (through 2009).

      Thanks for the info on the 400h’s peppiness. How many kilometers do you have on yours now? I have had thoughts of buying one of those for my mother, even though my least favorite feature about the car is its lack of a tach (for me when I drive it, not for her).

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m probably alone on this, but I think the new styling direction helped the most for this particular model. The old RXs just had a “mom space pod” look that I couldn’t embrace.

    I generally dislike CUVs but I could see myself owning one of these. I know everyone that has an RX absolutely loves them.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I had 3 RXs in a row. New one is too ugly, too expensive with options and too big for me. Just got rid of my 2009 because at just over 7 years it needed a fair amount of work. This happened to my 2002 also at just over 7 years. P. S. 7 years is 50K miles for me.

    • 0 avatar
      badhobz

      What sort of work Gasser? We’ve had ours since new and so far it hasnt costed us a dime in extra’s. 150,000kms on it so far and runs like the day we got it. Only spent money on 1 pair of brake pads and the timing belt/water pump. Timing belt/water pump set us back 1300 bucks but other than that, nada.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      My 07 RX 350 just crossed 150,000 miles a few days ago. It had 137k when I got it. But so far no problems.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      7 years and 51,000 miles: leaking steering rack, torn CV joint on passenger side, worn and cracked control arm bushings, driver door lock only working 50% of the time, no heat from heater in cool temps unless I turn it up to 80 degrees, and when I slow for traffic and get back on the accelerator…an interesting clunk is felt.
      (P.S. I am now driving a new Hyundai.) I agree that this assortment of malfunctions is unexpected. My friend has a 2005 RX 350 and has almost 170,000 miles with only wear items. However, my 2002 RX needed a new transmission at just over 7 years and 70K miles. Lexus gave me a rebuilt as a courtesy adjustment, just charging me for installation. 3 months later, blue smoke from the exhaust. The diagnosis was bad valve stem seals with an estimate for $3400 in repairs. The 2002 got traded on the spot for the 2009 RX. My 2009 RX was my 5th Lexus in 25 years and probably my last.
      From now on, I’m going for 3 year leases and almost anything made will make it for my low mileage. The lease subsidies will be a big deciding factor just as it was for my Memorial Day Hyundai Genesis lease.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        @gasser

        I’m sorry you had so much trouble with your 2009 RX. They are usually very reliable. However, leaky steering racks are very common on 2nd gens. I don’t think mines leaking. On mine the power door lock on the passenger door sometimes doesn’t work, It usually only happens when someone has been riding with me, and they slam that door too hard. And in the dealer report for mine it says the previous owner had all four door locks replaced at the Lexus dealer for because they were failing. So I don’t know what the deal is. The 1st gens (1998-2003) seem be prone to transmission failures. They also had that 3.0L Toyota V6 that was prone to sludging, If the oil was not changed religiously. I was sure to avoid those, even though I like the styling of the 1st gens.

  • avatar
    BufferOverflow

    Aaarrrrrgh!
    That DLO fail behind the C-pillar is the biggest that I’ve ever seen. And I can’t un-see it.
    It’s like they totally gave up trying to put a window back there.
    As much as I’d like replace my wife’s 2008 RX350, I just can’t get past that big piece of black plastic behind the rear door.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      There is a window there. It is very small, but there is a window.

      http://pressroom.lexus.com/images/2016_Lexus_RX_350_037_B111183610D16126B1D5A16E047FB9CC490D9E67_low.jpg

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I would have expected better fuel economy. That is honestly right on par with my F150. Yes the Grill is ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      badhobz

      exactly!

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Mine gets around 18 MPG. It’s a Luxury car, not an economy car. They make the Rav4 Hybrid for people who care about gas mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        It’s also car-based and given as an alternative to thirsty truck-based SUVs. The fact that it gets similar mileage to a truck-based vehicle without any of the capability is worth noting.

        It doesn’t have to be an economy car to get good mileage. Sorry if it makes you haz a sad because something negative was said about it, but the fact is, people DO buy vehicles like the RX to save fuel over, say, a Land Rover or even Lexus’ own GX (isn’t that the BOF one?).

        Just because you can afford the lease payments on a Lexus doesn’t mean you’re not concerned with how much fuel it requires to do what you need it to do. Its only when talking about Ferraris or a Rolls Royce or Lambos that fuel mileage becomes trivial and inconsequential. Paying $200k for a car vs. $40-50k is quite a difference.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Sorry if it makes you haz a sad because something negative was said about it”

          That’s bordering on dickish. But the bigger question is why you think Steph’s isolated 20mpg non-standardized fuel economy experience means anything:

          2016 Lexus RX EPA fuel economy: 19/26 mpg
          2016 Lexus GX : 15/20
          2016 Lincoln MKX 2.7 AWD : 17/24
          2016 Ford Explorer 3.5 AWD : 16/23

          There’s a definite difference between RX and GX fuel economy and it’s not like Ford’s CUV entries are doing any better.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    So.. 70k here is NOT TO BAD but 68 for the MKX is way too much? My wife wants to stay in the Lexus family and get one of these however every time she gets one as a loaner she hates the joy stick…and according to everyone else I know so do they. She is thinking of the MKX (thanks Matthew) but I warned her about MyLTouch.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Bleh, call me biased but this looks in every way worse than my folks’ ’09 RX350, particularly in terms of the stupidly wide console, the loss of any pretense of ground clearance or approach angle, and if my fiance’s father’s ES300h is anything to go by a cheaper interior and worse ride. Lastly, cargo space has taken a nose dive compared to the old RX. Just waiting for the inevitable turbocharged 2.0 liter motor and then the transformation into a mediocre “me-too” crossover will be complete.

    I love the LACK of dash/console on their 09, instead there is just empty space all the way to the floor for what I assume is women’s purses. Front passengers get their own seat-mounted adjustable armrests, a superior solution IMO. The ride is soft but reasonably controlled, the 5spd automatic is buttery smooth and makes all the right moves. 3.5L V6 is the perfect partner, too.

    I generally don’t care for this class of vehicle, but after driving the ’09 on a few long road trips and in the winter (they have snow tires for it) I’ve come to appreciate what it’s all about.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      “Front passengers get their own seat-mounted adjustable armrests, a superior solution IMO. The ride is soft but reasonably controlled, the 5spd automatic is buttery smooth and makes all the right moves. 3.5L V6 is the perfect partner, too.”

      This right here is what I love so much about mine. And the ability to throw stuff in the console box with it open and have easy access to things without dealing with a clumsy center console lid. And still having a place to rest my arms.

      Regarding cargo capacity, I think Lexus has changed the way they measure cargo capacity. I know on the NX, it was only measured BELOW the cargo cover, Why they did this? I don’t know. I think they did the same for the RX as it has an indicated 18 cu feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Whereas the 2nd gen has 38!

    • 0 avatar
      badhobz

      Agreed!.
      That slid-able storage centre console/rear heating/cool vent is a brilliant piece of engineering. The interior space of the 2nd gen was much more usable and people friendly than anything after it. It seemed to have been designed with ergonomics, usability and function over aesthetics.

      Another one of my favourite features for the 2nd gen is the little compartment underneath the trunk carpet. Its suppose to be used to store the tonneau cover but we use it to store cool drinks in the summer.

      I dont think thats available on the new model nor is the gargantuan glove box.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Steph, did you throw shade on the reliability of the Slant Six, the Leaning Tower of Power, or the only slightly less reliable 318? Because I was under the impression that it was everything surrounding the engines that made the Voltage terrible.

    Also, I’m apathetic to everything Nissan does, but the range of cars they put the 360 camera in is impressive. Not good when a terrible $25k Nissan out-features a Lexus at over twice the price.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    The front end is so ugly. I could not bear to look at it in my driveway. End of story. If I were given one I’d sell it immediately.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    For what it’s worth, that “fancy analog clock” is only a couple of years old. In all of their cars prior to the most current generation, Lexus models all had the green digital clock straight out of 1986. They were also the last hold out on cassette decks, dropping them after 2002.

    At least on the upper end cars, they’ve finally learned that it’s possible to build a seat with more than 10 ways of power adjustment. Acura and Infiniti still haven’t figured that out. You can get 12-way seats in a VW Golf, but you’ll have 10-way in your Q70 or RLX sir and like it, because Japan.

    Their attitude towards the joystick though seems out of character. It’s now been around for an entire model cycle, everybody hates it, and their response has been deafening silence. Take the joystick or FOAD.

    iDrive was equally horrible back in 2002, but BMW kept working at it and improving it and making it better and easier to use. Lexus has on the other hand has done absolutely nothing over the last seven years.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      ” They were also the last hold out on cassette decks, dropping them after 2002.”

      That’s incorrect, as the last car in the US to feature a cassette deck from factory was the SC430, in 2010.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        Both of you are incorrect. 2009 was the last year for Lexus models with cassette players(ES,RX,GX,GS,SC). Lexus actually removed the cassette for the SC’s final model year, 2010.

        http://www.clublexus.com/forums/sc430-2nd-gen-2001-2010/639406-sc430-claim-to-fame-last-production-car-with-a-factory-installed-cassette-player.html

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Right you are. Wikipedia page needs corrected, it says 2010. Here’s a 2010 with a shot of the stereo.

          https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/674557174/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Green digital clock on a toyota to me is like Pavlov’s bell for his dogs. I know there’s good stuff-a-coming. It is to this day one of the single most ergonomic elements in any vehicle that I have driven. Your eye immediately catches it, no looking around a display full of other stuff.

  • avatar
    V16

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is NO beauty.
    If ‘bold’ is the answer, the discontinued Acura ZDX was a more appealing design.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I haven’t driven the RX, though my big bro likes his. I did drive the NX recently and what a cobbled together piece of crap that is.

  • avatar
    Weylon M

    on my third lexus es. love them. it’s time to get a new one, and i think it is going to have to be whatever the last year was before the predator grill, or find another car. i just can’t get over how hideous the new grills are.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Last year my friend and I were at a local auto show and came upon the Lexus display. Knowing that he is an avid fisherman, I said: “Geesh, if you brought that thing out of the water on your line you would throw it back in the water just for being so ugly.”

    The gaping mouth look popularized by Audi and doubled down on by Lexus is absolutely revolting. Is the idea is to look intimidating in the other guy’s rearview mirror ????

  • avatar
    JSF22

    First, I think this is a really well written, objective, and helpful review. Thank you. Your three-word summary in the headline really nails it.

    I looked at this car. I loved the interior and the seamless electronics, but it still drives like a Lexus and I just cannot get past the exterior. To me, it looks like it already has been sideswiped, and it is a rare car that looks better with a front plate. Industrial espionage must be alive and well, since I don’t see how else Toyota and Nissan could have independently come up with something as funky as the floating roofline at the same time.

    All that said, tastes differ, and from the number of these things I see, they’re having no trouble at all gliding the faithful into new leases. Me, I chose a lightly equipped Macan instead, and didn’t pay much more at all. But, I’m sure there are people who think it is ugly too. So, I applaud the companies that take risks to give us all these choices.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Lexus should partner with Seiko and replace the generic analog clock with a piece from the Grand Seiko line.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • dukeisduke: There’s aluminum floor jacks, too. $$$
  • dukeisduke: Are those copies of the Honda GX, or GC? I have a Honda Masters mower with the GXV150, so I’m...
  • dukeisduke: Yeah, based on the cheap bicycles I’ve seen at Walmart, I think the Chinese are still trying to...
  • dukeisduke: I had to do a double-take the other day, when I saw a neighbor’s personal watercraft (Yamaha...
  • indi500fan: I’m no fan of the UAW but these brake and fuel line corrosion problems are a design issue. All the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber