By KBB.com Editors
One of the most successful crossover SUV offerings in the history of the genre, the mid-size RX series continues to attract buyers with its distinctive combination of style, luxury, comfort and safety. This line of car-based five-passenger family haulers includes both the volume-leader RX 350 and the RX 400h Hybrid (reviewed separately), and offers V6 power in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations. Key RX 350 competitors in the prolific mid-size premium SUV/crossover segment include the Acura MDX, BMW X3 and X5, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti FX35 and FX45, Lincoln MKX and Mercedes-Benz ML350.
With its luxury-sedan sophistication, SUV versatility, first-class creature and safety features plus a premium Lexus pedigree, the RX 350 deserves serious consideration from anyone shopping for a single vehicle with a truly multifaceted personality.
The RX 350 receives only detail changes for 2008, including two new exterior colors, chrome door handles and a revised grille design. Inside, black bird's-eye maple wood trim is now available with the light grey interior and a positive shutoff switch has been added to the standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.
Driving Impressions Given its primary mission as a luxury-oriented carryall, the RX 350's cabin is well isolated from wind and road noise. With chassis tuning focused more on ride comfort than precision...handling, it's also better suited to effortless cruising than to attacking a twisty two-lane. However, a relatively compact 37.4-feet turning circle makes the RX 350 fairly easy to maneuver in tighter confines, while the available four-position air suspension can raise itself to clear obstacles, lower itself for cruising and even dip for easier entry and exit. A viscous center coupling in the optional all-wheel-drive system can transfer power fore or aft from the normal 50/50 split to instantly compensate for changing traction conditions. All RX 350s come with an effective Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) package that gets a new positive cutoff switch to indulge more enthusiastic drivers and the anti-lock disc brakes excel in short, drama-free stops.
Power Rear Liftgate
This thoughtful standard opens and closes the RX 350's large one-piece liftgate at the touch of a button on the key fob or the dash, making it quicker and easier to load and unload the cargo bay.
Optional Multi-Panel Moonroof
Available in place of the conventional power moonroof, this three-element alternative is 150 percent larger and lets in 250 percent more outside light but creates no additional wind noise. It comes in a package that also includes leather upholstery, corner-following bi-xenon Adaptive Headlamps and a power tilt and telescoping steering column.
Living up to its Lexus heritage, the RX 350's space-efficient cabin has a quality appearance with an impressive level of fit and finish. Standard cloth upholstery, signature Optitron electroluminescent gauges and real wood trim are complemented by a major assortment of comfort and convenience touches. This sophisticated five-passenger transporter pairs supportive 10-way power seats with a 40/20/40 rear bench that splits, folds, slides, reclines, and will comfortably handle two full-size adults or a trio of kids. Accessed by a power liftgate, the RX 350's cargo bay can hold 38.3 cubic feet of your carry-on items with the rear seat up and 84.7 cubic feet with the seatbacks flipped forward and down.Exterior
Consciously avoiding the harder angles and squared-off edges favored by traditional SUVs, the RX 350 celebrates its crossover character by matching rounded body contours with well-defined accent lines and passenger-friendly proportions. Its smartly raked windshield and large glass area help improve driver sightlines while both front and rear doors are large enough to ensure easy access to all seats. Crystalline head- and tail-lamp covers, subtle chrome highlights on the grille and door handles and S-rated 225/65 all-season tires on handsome 17-inch alloy wheels emphasize its upscale personality.
Passenger-pleasing appointments abound in the RX 350, starting with ivory-colored cloth upholstery, walnut or bird's-eye maple wood accents, a mega-roster of power assists headed by 10-way power seats and a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD unit with six-disc changer. Other highlights include a driver information system, cruise control, numerous modest storage cubbies plus a large locking glovebox, dual 12-volt powerpoints and an anti-theft system. Leading the list of safety features are Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control (TRAC), antilock disc brakes with Brake Assist (BA) circuitry and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags plus a driver's-side knee airbag.
The RX 350 offers several grouped upgrades, beginning with a Premium Package that includes leather upholstery, a power moonroof, power tilt and telescoping steering column and memory for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel. The Premium Plus Package adds bi-xenon Adaptive Front Lighting (AFS) to that mix while the Performance Package brings special 18-inch wheels with V-rated 235/55 tires, four-mode air suspension and a five-speed sequential automatic transmission. Other extras include an oversize multi-panel moonroof, 11-speaker/210-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system, voice-activated navigation system with rear backup camera, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, distance-maintaining Dynamic Laser Cruise Control and a towing package.
Both front-drive and all-wheel-drive RX 350 models use an identical 3.5-liter all-aluminum V6 that features Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to help bolster low and mid-range responsiveness. Smooth and free-revving, it makes a very enthusiastic 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is an equally efficient five-speed automatic, and included in the Performance Package is sequential shifting. That matchup allows both front and all-wheel drive RX 350s to run from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 7.5 seconds and still earn class-competitive fuel economy numbers from the EPA. Step up to the optional towing package and the trailering capability on either RX 350 variant jumps from 2,000 to 3,500 pounds.
270 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23(FWD), 17/22(AWD)
By joni on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good car, reliable, good in snow. newer tires"
Cons: "needs body work and a good cleaning"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My car has a lot of dents on the exterior. It needs about $3000 in body work and a good carpet cleaning. It has been a very reliable car. I raised 2 kids and had 2 dogs in it. I kept up the maintenance."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By CCS7163 on Thursday, January 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Get the towing package if you want to tow a small boat or UHaul it is great. Lexus still supports warranty on items that no other manufacturer would. Headlights assemb, dash pad, harmonic balancer, and all the other little things that MB would not replace on my other car."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By MRSMACK on Sunday, December 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"From the first day that I purchased my Baby Blue 2005 Lexus RX 330 - I was absolutely head over heels in love with this vehicle. Before I bought Baby Blue - I owned and leased around 8 different vehicles... A few of these vehicles were considered to be in the "luxury" class, just like Baby Blue. However - It wasn't until I bought baby blue that I new what the meaning of a luxury car even was... Let me first start by saying that it was the Lexus RX that began the entire crossover craze... After it came out on the market a little over 15 years ago - car manufacturer's everywhere tried to imitate it with a version of their own... Today - there are crossovers made by just about every car manufacturer out there... Some of the models out there on the market are kind of cute, some are kind of clunky, and some have been made by top of the line luxury brands... Yet not one of them is the boisterously beautiful package that the Lexus RX is, has been, and will continue to be... Original, in-duplicatable, and unthinkably humble... The Lexus RX continuously stands in a complete and total league of it's very own... The body of the Lexus RX is aesthetically beautiful, with clean lines, and sumptuous curves - It's sporty, yet elegant, it's not too flashy, yet definitely not modest either... It's the perfect blend of refined, functional elegance. Sitting in a Lexus RX, there is no question that you are surrounded in first rate top of the line luxury, as it has a comfortability factor that is unlike any other luxury line in it's class... The pristine quality in it's outstanding sound system will literally make every last hair stand up on the back of your neck... The soft glow of the interior lights creates a soothing ambiance that is subtle and uplifting. To drive a Lexus RX is an experience that I believe every one should experience... If only for a test drive or two... Maybe you'll like it - maybe you'll love it - maybe it will give you something to one day look forward to - but one thing is for certain - You'll definitely never forget what it was like to drive it... For those who value economy over luxury the way I used to before I owned baby blue - driving an RX is an experience that simply must be done in order to really understand just how well worth a $650 monthly lease is... As opposed to $250 Hyundai payment... (No offense to Hyundai owners, I actually really like Hyundai, and I appreciate their value very much...) One of the first things to stand out when driving a Lexus RX is how impeccably smooth it handles... You'll notice how securely it hugs every turn the road brings, and it's unwavering precision is sturdy and stable reminding you how very safe you are in it's top of the line 1st in it's class safety rating... Once you experience a Lexus RX - Or any model that Lexus makes for that matter - It becomes clear as day to why Lexus has one of the most consistent top grossing resell values, and why they are so loved and valued by car enthusiasts, soccer moms, business execs, construction workers, and retirees alike... The Lexus RX is the complete package plus so much more... Baby Blue has been so good to me - It is with a heavy heart that I will be saying good bye to her tomorrow afternoon. However, I am sure that her new owners are going to thoroughly enjoy the fabulous car that she is, and maybe they too will fall in love with the Lexus experience every bit as much as I did... Once Baby Blue is signed over - it won't be long before I will get to drive off in my brand new... 2015 Lexus RX 450 otherwise known as.... "White Lightning"... For those who are contemplating buying or leasing a Lexus RX, I just want you to know that being a Lexus owner is an immense joy that I cannot recommend enough... Good luck car shopping - and remember, you only live once!! :)"
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By turbo on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "ok for short people"
Cons: "very uncomfortable and noisey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"This car is built well for anyone under 5 ft 5inches. Above that your legs hit that center console and your butt goes to sleep due to the short seats.I made the mistake of driving the car on a 900 mile trip and was sore for a week.. when my wife goes with me we drive my 05 silverado pickup which is very comfortable"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Pattiloveslife on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, good-looking and fast"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Got this SUV when it was 2 yrs old. It was preowned and certified. I have never had to use the warranty for any reason and I still own it today."
17 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Jimmy on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "Engine Oil burning- Sludge problem"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Car never needs an oil change anymore as it burns 1 qt of oil per week - New Toyota mode with recall not covering enough years. Ride, comfort great but Lexus dealer recalls ruined rotors by torquing lugs to nearly 280 ft lbs, caused warped rotors, oil sludge recall for Toyota 6 cylinders from 1997 to 2003 should have covered 2004 models as CARMAX tore the engine apart and agreed that oil sludge problem is severe in this engine. Toyota/Lexus had recall on 97- 03 but were hit with allot of replacement engines. Car was fun but using synthetic oil is too expensive with adding 1 qt per week and on start ups, it blows out a cloud of smoke. Had a new engine from Toyota in a 1998 Camry but dealer did not lock down radiator so that got damaged with vibration. Toyota/Lexus do not really stand behind their products and refuse to reimburse for damaged rotors nor will they offer new engine. Will go to Honda most likely."
8 people out of 17 found this review helpful