While premium brands have long dabbled in the world of all-terrain sport utility vehicles, it was Lexus that paved the way for the modern luxury crossover as we know it today. The original RX, launched way back in the '90s pushed the segment into high gear, prompting brands like Mercedes-Benz, Acura, and BMW to get in on the action. Arguably were it not for Lexus, we might not have the Jaguar F-Pace, Maserati Levante, or even the Bentley Bentayga.
Today’s RX 350 is by far and away the boldest RX produced, its once egg-like bodywork is now full of creases and sharp-edges, topped by a dramatic floating roof and a gaping grille. Yet, at its core, the RX is about delivering refinement, and a smooth, cossetting ride. Despite the popularity of three-row crossovers, Lexus has resisted the urge to grow the RX, keeping it a strict two-row model with plenty of rear-seat and cargo room.
For 2017, the RX now receives the Lexus Safety Sense+ suite of active safety features standard. Lane-departure warning, pre-collision warning, emergency autonomous braking, adaptive radar cruise control, head-up display, and automatic high beams – previously bundled in with pricey packages – is now included on every trim, gratis.
Lexus has also added rear cross-traffic alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar – a sort of low-speed collision mitigation system for parking – as standard on select trim levels.
The RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine that sports the D4-S fuel injection system that includes direct fuel injection and conventional port injection for the optimal balance of performance and fuel economy. Total power for the engine is 295 hp. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and comes paired with all-wheel drive. A hybrid model is available and is covered in a separate review.
Standard equipment on the RX 350 includes NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstered seats, power front seats, heated rear seats with power recline function and 40/20/40 split folding function, a heated steering wheel, power moonroof, display audio system with reverse camera and Bluetooth Audio, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Other key upgrades include a 360-degree panoramic parking camera, panoramic sunroof, 12.3-inch display with hard-drive-based navigation, wireless device charger, premium Mark Levinson sound system, and a hands-free power-operated tailgate.
While not an especially sporting vehicle, buyers can upgrade to the F Sport Package for a more engaging driving experience. Included are a mesh-backed version of the Lexus spindle grille, 20-inch wheels, aero bodywork, plus sport-tuned adaptive suspension. Inside, better-bolstered seats, join metal-capped pedals and kick plates for a sportier interior ambiance. While F Sports don’t generate more power or have a different exhaust system, you’ll hear more, thanks to a sound symposer that pipes select engine sounds into the cabin. F Sport models also feature the S+ mode as well as an individualized driver mode.
Pricing for 2017 Lexus RX 350 starts at $55,800. The RX 350 with Executive Package and the RX 350 wi th the F Sport Series 3 Package both top the range at $69,250.