Auto Channel Exclusive (ACE) - 2019 Lexus RX 350 Review By John Heilig
• EDITOR's NOTE: Before John's Review - I have owned (and enjoyed) driving our family's 2010 RX 450h over the past 9 years and brag that its the best car I have ever owned. Recently I had the opportunity to road test the long wheel base three row versions of both the RX and the RX450hL Hybrid. Both are virtually identical with MPG also about the same 25 MPG average, but I have found that I like the 450h ride better...I am trying to get info on the difference in suspension, if any. Or it may just be the extra ballast from the hybrid battery...so before you buy an RX (which would be a great choice, make sure you test drive hybrid to see how it rides for your self, remember all things being equal you can be driving this car for the next 20 years...Enjoy The Drive.
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2019 Lexus RX350 AWD F-Sport
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 295 hp @ 6,300 rpm/268 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm
WHEELBASE: 109.8 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.5 x 74.6 x 67.7 in
CARGO CAPACITY: 18.4/56.3 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/15.6 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.2 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,387 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Buick Envision, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60
STICKER: $61,893 (includes $1,025 delivery, $10,158 options)
BOTTOM LINE: For a luxury small SUV you really can’t go wrong with the Lexus RX350. It has style and decent performance, plus very good cargo capacity.
From its signature spindle grille to its power tailgate, the RX350 is all Lexus. As the first Lexus SUV, it has remained the benchmark for others in the segment, and it rarely disappoints. Powering the RX350 is a 3.5-liter V6 that has good power at 295 horses. We were never at a loss for oomph, and we took the RX over some interesting roads as well on Interstates. In addition, the engine is quiet. It’s not quite as quiet as an LS, but as Lexus’s granddaddy of SUVs, it’s fine.
We enjoyed a comfortable ride over all surfaces, and Pennsylvania does its share to make sure there is a wide variety available. Handling is good. But this is not a sports car, even with F-Sport goodies.
The driver faces a large centrally mounted tachometer with a digital speedometer inset. There is an information screen on the left and water temperature and fuel level gauges on the right. Speaking of the F-Sport, we enjoyed signature seats with good side support, heat and ventilation. The heat function has an automatic mode, so we were pleasantly surprised when it warmed without our having to look for the switches.
Front passengers enjoy good forward vision with a sloping windscreen and large pseudo wing windows. They aren’t real windows of course, but they provide clear vision between the window’s vertical channel and the A-pillar.
Rear seats offer good legroom, but there is no room under the front seats to put your feet. However, there’s no center hump, making the middle position more friendly for sitting there.
The RX uses a central controller to select among functions on the infotainment screen, among others. It takes some experience to work with the simulated detents as you work the mouse-like controller. There’s a wrist support on the center console that makes using the mouse-like controller easier.
Also on the center console is a knob where the driver can select from several driving modes. “Normal” is best for an everyday balance of performance and energy conservation. “Sport” puts an edge on powertrain performance, while “Eco” operates the powertrain at its most efficient level. The F-Sport package adds a “Sport S+” mode that activates a firmer suspension setting in the Adaptive Variable Suspension.
Interior storage is aided by door pockets that have a fold-out feature that extends capacity. In addition, there’s a deep center console with a pair of USB plugs, plus AUX and 12-volt outlets. Cargo capacity is very good, at 18.4 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up and 56.3 cubic feet with them down. In addition, there is hidden storage next to the space-saver spare. Rear seat back releases are located in the cargo area.
Recently, I have driven large full-size SUVs as well as true small SUVs. While the RX350 is listed as a small SUV, it is more of a mid-size, in my estimation. The size is right, the power and handling are right, and the luxury is right. I will always carp about the sticker price, but putting it all together, even that isn’t too bad.
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