- Improved & exciting looks.
- Luxurious trimmings, Toyota quality.
- Competitive fuel economy, excellent in hybrid trim.
- Great standard safety features.
- Outdated Remote Touch infotainment controller.
- Ride can be bumpy on imperfect roads.
- F-Sport package doesn't deliver.
Would we buy one? Yes.
Vehicle Type: 4-door, 5-seat midsize luxury crossover.
Price Range: Pricing for the 2017 Lexus RX 350 in base trim starts at an MSRP of $43,995, and top trim Lexus RX 350 F-Sport starts at $49,895. Prices include destination fees but no optional equipment.
Powertrain: The Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 295 horsepower, backed up by an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard with available all-wheel drive.
A hybrid version is available, the Lexus RX 450h, which adds all-wheel-drive as standard and uses a CVT transmission.
Competitors: Infiniti QX50, Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X5, Audi Q5, Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace, and Volvo XC60
Overall Score: 7.4/10
Safety Features: 9/10
For the 2017 model year, Lexus has made its Safety System+ standard on the Lexus RX 350. That means every RX 350 will get a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and rain-sensing wipers. The hybrid RX450h also gets a rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitor.
Thanks to all of these safety features, the IIHS awards the 2017 Lexus RX 350 with a Top Safety Pick+. The RX 350 performed well in IIHS crash tests receiving the highest 'Good' rating in each category. The NHTSA concurred, awarding the Lexus RX 350 a 5-star overall crash test rating.
The Lexus RX 350 invented the luxury crossover segment, and it continues to deliver that expected value. One of the main reasons to select the RX 350 over its sportier or more luxurious counterparts is its reputation for reliability. It may not be as extravagant as a Mercedes-Benz or as sporty as the Porsche Macan, but it slots somewhere in between and has a high likelihood of outlasting both.
The Lexus RX 350 has a 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain coverage. Lexus also includes a 1-year complimentary maintenance package.
Tech Features: 6/10
Standard features on the Lexus RX 350 include dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, power liftgate, keyless start, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a nine-speaker sound system.
Available tech in the Lexus RX 350 includes a massive 12.3 display for the infotainment system, but unfortunately, it is not a touchscreen. Lexus' Remote Touch controller is difficult to wield accurately, often overshooting the intended target. That huge display also includes a 3D navigation system, which looks great on the screen. Also available is a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, full-color head-up display, power moonroof, and panoramic view monitoring with parking assistance. Most of these options come as part of pricey packages, so if you want auto-dimming side mirrors, you will also have to get the Premium Package, including leather seats, roof rails, and wood trim.
The RX450h gets a few of the optional items as standard, like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and AWD.
The Lexus RX 350 comfortably seats four to five adults, with the rear seats gaining extra room over the outgoing model. With 18.4 cubic feet of space behind the seats and 56.3 with the rear seats folded down, the RX 350 has more than enough room for a few suitcases or ski gear. This bests the Porsche Macan and Mercedes GLC, but is far behind the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5.
Like most crossover SUVs, the RX 350 likely won't see much time towing a trailer, but it does offer 3500 pounds of towing, matching the Acura MDX, but falling behind the rest of the competition. With 8.2 inches of ground clearance, it ties the BMW X5 for the most-in-class, more than enough for an occasional dirt road.
Styling & Design: 8/10
With the Lexus RX 350 being an all-new car redesigned in 2016, the 2017 looks very similar to last year's model. That styling was an extreme departure from Lexus' of the past. The massive grille, sharp bodylines, and floating roof look even better one year into the new design. F-Sport trim brings a slightly more aggressive look with 20-inch alloy wheels and an even larger grille.
Inside, the build quality is classic Lexus, with the cabin retaining the expected Toyota fit, with Lexus' upgraded finish. Interior noise, cabin ergonomics, and comfort for front and rear seats are excellent. Lexus RX 350 F-Sport trim adds sport seats and paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel for a sportier interior look.
Driving Experience: 6/10
The Lexus RX 350 doesn't deliver the best in class handling or acceleration. When compared to the offerings from Mercedes or Porsche, driving the RX 350 is downright dull. Reviewers complained of uncommunicative steering feel, excessive body roll, and found the ride to be less supple than the competition. Adding the F-Sport package doesn't improve handling considerably, as the active dampers barely make up for the larger wheels, rather than improve ride and handling. The eight-speed automatic also troubled some reviewers in the F-Sport, continually changing to automatic mode when trying to use the paddle shifters.
That said, most Lexus RX 350 buyers are not looking for the sportiest ride. The cabin of the RX350 is a comfortable, quiet, and overall nice place to be. The driver's seat is comfortable for road trips, and all controls are within reach.
Fuel Efficiency: 8/10
The Lexus RX 350 receives an EPA estimated fuel economy of 27 highway mpg, 20 city, and 23 combined in standard FWD configuration. AWD drops that mileage by one mpg in each category, and the Hybrid RX 450h gets an estimated 28 hwy mpg, 31 city, and 30 combined.
These numbers are nearly identical to the Acura MDX in both FWD and AWD trim and beat the Infiniti QX50. Competitors from Europe also offer mileage in line with the RX 350, offerings from Mercedes, Volvo, and BMW do marginally better. The Lexus RX 450h, with its hybrid drivetrain, is the mileage winner for the entire segment.