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2011 Lexus RX

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2011 Lexus RX Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's Significant About This Car?

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 the RX

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.

2011 Lexus RX Details
2011 Lexus RX photo Interior

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
2011 Lexus RX photo

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.)

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.5-liter V6
275 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
257 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (AWD)

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2011 Lexus RX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 156 Ratings for the 2009 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Faulty Power Steering

By on Monday, August 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
4/10
Comfort
1/10

Cons: "Loud, obnoxious power steering"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I own a standard 2013 RX 350 and it developed a loud whine whenever the steering wheel was turned. Brought it to Lexus service, was told there was nothing they would do, that this was the result of the new electronic power steering, and that Lexus considers it a normal noise. Filed a complaint with Lexus Customer satisfaction, and was told the same thing. Wrote a letter to the head of Lexus in the U.S. Jeff Bracken - a representative from his office called me and in a patronizing manner said we acknowledge your letter, but sorry, we have no fix at this time, and consider it a normal noise. So, I will be selling this xxxx and buying the Audi Q5 which I should have done to begin with! I have owned two other Lexus vehicles, but of course they did not have this new electronic power steering. So buyer beware!"

best car I ever owned

By on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "nice driving car its excellent on snow"

Cons: "needs leather seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My car is gray with tinted windows 450h very good driving in town and on highway so far 76000 miles no problems it looks good and feels good hve 19"" tires."

13 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Great car !

By on Sunday, July 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought the car when it was two years old. I made the mistake of buying the extended warranty, so I paid too much for the car overall. If I had not purchased the extended warranty, this would have been my best care ever."

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

BEST SUV

By on Sunday, July 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Safety Features"

Cons: "Limited Sirius and Enform Memberships"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have owned several different SUV's and the Lexus RX 350 is the BEST BY FAR in quality, reliability, appearance, and performance. I have never bought the same SUV twice but I would buy this one again."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Has not met expectations...

By on Sunday, July 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great radio. Nice Power."

Cons: "Ride is rock hard. Arkward placement of powerports"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I was really psyched to purchase this vehicle after owning 4 Mini-vans prior. I did include upgrades with the vehicle. I guess my biggest complaint is the ride of this car. My vehicle came with the Bridgestone Turenza 400 tires which have to be the worlds worst.Shortly thereafter, Lexus changed the line to a Michelin tire which is much softer and more comfortable riding, but not my car. In fact all my other cars have Michelin. Its amazing how a terrible tire can change the entire dynamics of a ride. I also am dissapointed on some of the display features on the dashboard, which I expected in this SUV. Information is austere and not as comprehensive as much less expensive cars, i.e. digital number display of speed. I am 1 year into my lease and am already counting the days until it is up. Incidentlly, I also have a Toyota Camry, which has a 10 times more comfortable ride. I'm not sure what "they" are referring to when they say this car has a plush ride...Already have rattles in the interior."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

"Great vehicle, pleasant to drive, technology lag"

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "car-like ride, storage and utility, gas mileage"

Cons: "Not as sporty to handle as some"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The title of my review quotes a previous reviewer. I don't understand how this person can say Lexus's technology lags if he really owns this vehicle. The RXH has all the technology you claim it doesn't, blind spot monitoring, pre-collision, etc., albeit some at additional costs. Lexus has always been on the forefront of technology but has incorporated this so flawlessly inside their vehicles that some are not immediately noticeable. As the owner of my 4th Lexus which includes 2 LS's and my second RXH, I am surprised by your review. The newer Lexuses have a hard drive for the navi and no longer uses a DVD. It is possible to gain access to the listings in the phone book and previous destinations. You just wont be able to run through the entire nav features due to safety. Although I have been sometimes tempted to try other cars, I generally come back to Lexus because of their exceptional reliability, dealership experience for maintenance, quality, and how flawlessly everything works once you are in the car."

7 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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