KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
In the nearly ten years that it has been on the market, the mid-size Lexus RX has had its fair share of records. Case in point: When the RX 300 debuted for the '99 model year, it pioneered the luxury crossover market, and then, six years later, the RX 400h became the first-ever luxury hybrid crossover. Throughout its lifespan, the RX has remained one of the most popular vehicles in its segment, as well as one of Lexus' best-sellers. So it was no surprise that when it came time to redesign the RX, Lexus kept radical changes to a minimum, instead focusing on refining the interior and upgrading its technology and ride. The result is a vehicle that still has the distinct look of an RX from the outside, but offers a richer, more engaging driving experience from the inside. And with an ever-expanding competitive set that includes the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 and Cadillac SRX, the 2010 Lexus RX certainly needs to keep buyers interested in what it has to offer to stay at the top.
You'll Like This Car If...
If luxury, utility, reliability and resale value are top considerations for your next car, the RX is definitely worth your consideration.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you like a little sportiness in your luxury crossover, the RX's soft road manners may not be your cup of tea. Instead, an Audi Q5 or BMW X5 might better suit your driving style.
What's New for 2010
While the exterior of the RX has had some work done for 2010, it's the interior that sees the greatest number of changes. Those sitting inside will see an entirely new space, from the seats to the displays to the navigation-controlling remote haptic touch.
The RX is a soft, quiet and comfortable crossover, and those reasons are exactly why it has been such a best-seller for Lexus. In current form, the automaker has kept these qualities intact, but a few key refinements have been made. A new electric power steering system is a marked improvement; it now requires less effort at higher speeds and has less of the "numb" on-center feel of previous RXs. There's also slightly more usable space in the rear for luggage, thanks to a compact double-wishbone independent rear suspension that replaced the previous generation's dual-link MacPherson strut. The trade-off, however, is that the 2010 RX doesn't quite have the same smooth ride as before. Under the hood, the RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 has been revised to increase its horsepower and torque, and is teamed with an all-new six-speed automatic transmission with direct-downshift control. This technology allows for quick shifting when needed, skipping gears for a more immediate response that we especially appreciated when passing on narrow mountain roads.
Remote "Haptic" Touch
Somewhat like a keyboard mouse, this system, operated by a controller mounted next to the driver's seat, allows for the movement of a cursor across the dash-mounted display, giving sensory feedback when the cursor hovers over a clickable "button." The feeling is somewhat like rolling a marble over an indentation.
Easy-to-read Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Display
Housed in the Multi-Information Display between the dash gauges, this is comprised of a thin film of organic molecules that create light with the application of electricity. It operates on less power than a conventional light-emitting diode (LED) display, and offers vibrant white characters that are easy to read from any angle.
The interior of the RX is a mix of organic, flowing lines and soft-touch surfaces. Up front, redesigned (and standard 10-way power) supportive front seats and bright, easy-to-read gauges make driving long distances a less tiring experience. In addition, all trims now feature an "Eco Driving" bar graph included in the gauge cluster that lets the driver monitor how his or her driving affects the vehicle's fuel economy. In back, the second row is roomy enough for three adults and, when folded down, allows for 80.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
From afar, the overall shape of the 2010 Lexus RX doesn't look all that different from the outgoing generation, and that's exactly how the automaker wanted it to look. However, when viewed up close, the differences become much more obvious. There's a bolder new grille and striking halogen projector-beam (or optional HID) headlamps, which give the vehicle a more substantial, masculine look from the front. Broad "shoulder" lines extend from the headlamps to the rear of the vehicle. And underneath the RX, new standard 18-inch five-spoke wheels fill the pronounced wheel wells to complete the look.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2010 Lexus RX350 comes well-equipped with a selection of features to make driving a comfortable experience. These include heated side mirrors, 10-way power adjustable front seats with lumbar support, reclining and sliding second row with 60/40 folding seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, a full complement of automatic up-and-down windows and a premium audio system with six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth streaming audio, XM Satellite Radio, a USB port and nine speakers. Standard safety features include 10 airbags, brake assist and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control.
Notable Optional Equipment
If luxury is what you're after, the aptly-named Luxury Package includes a semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior, LED-illuminated front door sills, power liftgate, headlamp washers, 19-inch alloy wheels and a wide-view side monitor to facilitate parking. If you'd like to up the sportiness of your RX, the Sport Package, with its sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch Superchrome wheels and electronic stability and traction control system with cutoff switch may be for you. Stand-alone options for the RX include a heads-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, a Mark Levinson 330-watt premium sound system, all-wheel drive, Lexus' Enform telematics system, Intuitive Parking Assist and a Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Under the Hood
The 2010 Lexus RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 has a modest increase in horsepower and torque over the previous generation's engine, moving from 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque to 275 and 257, respectively. The engine is mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission that uses direct-downshift control to allow for quick shifting when needed (such as rapid acceleration) from sixth to third or fifth to second, skipping gears for a more immediate response that previous-generation RX owners will appreciate. In terms of around-town fuel economy, both the two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are EPA-rated at 18 miles to the gallon, while on-highway numbers differ by only one mpg.
275 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
257 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (AWD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2010 Lexus RX 350 with two-wheel drive is just over $37,500. Adding all-wheel drive adds about $1,500 to the bottom line, while a fully-loaded RX could tip the scales at over $57,000. The RX 350's competitors are all similar in price, with the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class ranging from $35,000 to $52,500, the BMW X3 from $39,500 to $53,000, the Audi Q5 from $38,000 to $59,000 and the Cadillac SRX from $34,000 to $50,000. Our Fair Purchase Prices show what consumers in your area are paying for the RX, so be sure to give them a look before heading to the local dealership. As far as residuals go, the RX is at the top of its segment, outpacing the Q5, X3, GLK and SRX in the long run.