By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Some cars change radically from model year to model year, while others simply evolve. Evolution seems the safer course of action, but it also helps to build brand image among consumers. The 2011 Lexus RX 350 is such an evolving vehicle, easily recognizable at any distance and sharing a strikingly similar profile with the original RX that debuted more than 10 years ago. Consumers must like the design because RX sales continue to grow, even in the face of newer and more sophisticated designs such as the Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX and Mercedes Benz GLK 350. That the RX 350 continues to attract repeat customers is every bit a testament to the car's abilities as it is to Lexus' pampered treatment of its customer base. From the comfortable purchasing experience to the solid long-term reliability to the excellent resale figures, in the automotive world, buying an RX 350 is about the closest thing you can get to a sure thing.
If you're looking for a luxury crossover that doesn't require a degree in physics just to operate the radio, the simple yet elegant RX 350 makes a fine choice.
If you're looking for a hard charging, corner-devouring driving machine in CUV form, the BMW X3 or Audi Q5 might make a better choice.
After a mild refresh last year, the only change of note for the 2011 Lexus RX 350 is the addition of Lexus' Smart Stop technology. Smart Stop is an override system that cuts engine power if the throttle and brake are being depressed at the same time.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Lexus RX 350 may not be able to corner like a BMW X3, but it won't punish your kidneys on bumpy surfaces, either. The RX delivers a soft,...quiet and comfortable ride, with just enough feedback from the electric power steering unit to qualify as sporty (as opposed to numb, a trait we attributed to RX steering setups in the past.) The double-wishbone rear suspension not only helps the RX 350 to handle better, its compact design also allows for more interior cargo space. Power is provided by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and routed to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with direct-downshift control, which allows the transmission to skip over gears, thus producing a more immediate response when needed. The powertrain is amazingly responsive, whisper-quiet and impressively fuel-frugal.
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 white Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Display
Housed in the Multi-Information Display between the dash gauges, the OLED display 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 RX's interior is a blend of the old and the almost new. The design is clean and uncluttered, especially the upwardly-sweeping console and high-mounted shift lever. But there are bits and pieces that feel eerily Toyota-like, such as the steering column-mounted cruise-control stalk that is difficult to see and nearly impossible to find at night. Nitpicks aside, the RX interior is a fluid blend of soft-touch surfaces, warm wood inlays and supple leather seating surfaces. And, when equipped with the available navigation system, the RX also gains a nifty remote touch controller that operates very much like a mouse. The driver need only rest his or her hand on top of the device to control the screen menus for climate, navigation, audio and phone. Front-seat comfort is first-rate while, in back, the second row is roomy enough for three adults and, when folded down, allows for 80.3 cubic feet of cargo space.Exterior
The familiar RX silhouette is no accident. Lexus wants the RX to look similar to previous versions so that former and new customers alike can easily identify the vehicle. Sure, an up-close inspection shows more modern details, such as the striking halogen projector-beam (or optional HID) headlamp housings, the swept-back tail lamps and that faint hint of Lexus' L-Finesse design language that appears around the grille and hood. But, for the most part, the RX's shape breaks no new ground in the areas of styling. New colors and bright 18-inch alloy wheels are about the only improvements over last year's model, which speaks volumes about the excellence of last year's model (and the year before that, and the year before that, etc.)
The 2011 Lexus RX 350 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 40/20/40 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.
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. 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. Stand-alone options for the RX include a head-up display, HDD navigation system, 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.
The 2011 Lexus RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 produces 275 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an efficient 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.
275 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
257 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (AWD)
By Black Beauty on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, luxurious ride with kick butt sound system"
Cons: "Soft paint clumsy controls poor rear seat env ctrl"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"When searching for this car, it had to fit 4 sets of golf clubs and 4 persons in it comfortably. It had to have good smooth pickup, luxurious ride, and superb sound system. It had to have passenger lumbar support control and air/heated seats. We drove every model with comfort in mind over sportiness. BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Subaru, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda all either to sluggish or crisp and uncomfortable. Like Goldilocks says, this one is just right. Cons: Paint scratches easily, interior controls not always intuitive and somewhat clumsy, needs mud flaps (way too much dirt splashes up on rear of car), not enough rear seat environmental control."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Dave on Monday, February 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Outstanding luxury. Comfortable seats."
Cons: "Need bigger engine -- more power."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The vehicle is faultless -- except it needs more power. It is generally ok but Lexus should add more power or a turbo. Merging onto an express can be a harrowing experience. The F sport is worth the extra money."
15 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By ballon 2318 on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "the best SUV the most reliable"
Cons: "get better tires next time, that are not as noisey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"great dealership and service SUV handles great in snow plus very comfortable on long trips cargo space outstanding do not like dunlop tires, to nosie coming from them sound system very good. 61000 miles on Lexus Rx 350 and running outstanding heated and cooled seats outstanding steering outstanding as well as braking"
34 people out of 57 found this review helpful
By Kathy on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price is right , rides smooth"
Cons: "Charging port, blind spot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Had a 2007 and bought 2010 in dec 2010! Love the keyless entry and ignition, ride is so smooth. Never had any service issues except routine maintanence. Only dislike is they moved the USB ports for phone charging, put them in the console. Very difficult to get to, esp for someone else riding with me if they can't use my iPhone charger. No backseat port either for riders. But this car is a keeper and would suggest to anyone."
22 people out of 37 found this review helpful
By Marty on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Where do I start? Very uncomfortable driver's seat, noisy fan and air leak whistle, confusing navigation, radio and media pkg., turning circle is too wide, center console is too small and deep, not enough storage compartments, trying to right the rear seat after folding down almost gives you a hernia it's so heavy, etc, etc. Don't be seduced by a pretty "face"!"
20 people out of 51 found this review helpful
By Baymom on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great fuel milage, lots of space, fun"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second RX 450h 5-DR SUV. It's been terrific and I love the star fire pearl (white) exterior with the tan interior. Clean, sporty and easy to maintain! Excellent milage and I rarely have to go to fill up anymore."
12 people out of 25 found this review helpful