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2011 Lexus RX

Overview
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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 147 Ratings for the 2009 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, pleasant to drive, technology lags

By on Monday, June 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Reliable, driveability, roomy"

Cons: "Technology lags others, somewhat pricey"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is my second hybrid vehicle, the first being a 2008 Rx400h FWD. Lexus gets a lot of things right in their vehicles but they are pretty conservative when it comes to adopting new technology, which is my biggest complaint. My next vehicle will definitely have some options that weren't available in June 2013 unless I wanted to wait another 3-4 months: adaptive cruise, blind spot, lane change, cross traffic alert, pre-collision alert (a lot of the safety features available on other makes). MSRP on my Rx450h was $61K - a bit on the pricey side. Bottom line: I will probably buy another Rx450h in a year or 2. I'd really like to try a Tesla Model S P85 but the price tag is just too high. The AWD hybrid experience: The Rx450h is a pleasure to drive. It has good acceleration with electric motor assist up to about 20 mph. The electric motors kick in during normal driving which do help MPG. If you drive it like you would any other vehicle the MPG won't be great. The AWD version has a sticker average of 29 for combined city/highway driving but you need to baby it a bit to get that. Ignoring any change in driving habit still yields 27-28 in my experience, which is 2X what my 2007 Chevy Suburban was getting. (That was my primary justification for the hybrid.) Another nice feature is how quiet this thing is when at a stop light. Assuming the hybrid battery is not low on charge the engine will shut down and run on just the battery, making the vehicle very quiet. All you will hear is the AC fan and the radio. It takes a little getting used to for someone who is "aware" of your car's noises when you feel the engine shut down. Most all vehicle systems are electric. One important implication of this is that when the engine shuts off the AC continues cooling like it would on the highway with a non-hybrid vehicle. You can turn on EV (Electric Vehicle) mode and move pretty quietly as long as you stay under 25 mph and don't accelerate quickly. Around 2013 Lexus added a ghostly whining sound whenever the vehicle is moving so people can hear you coming...so much for stealth mode! Infotainment systems: I am a tech guy and would rate this area only average. The Nav system uses a DVD for map data and was out-of-date the day I bought it. Lexus needs to update this area specifically to use more available technology like Google Map data. In the area where we live there are many areas that have built up over the past 3-5 years that show as blank spaces on the Nav map where whole neighborhoods and new schools now exist. Upgrading the map DVD costs about $200 which I also think is ridiculous given that you can pull out your smart phone and have a map app show you exactly where you are and where you need to go. I also detest the waypoint instructions in the system. Every time you near a major exit on a freeway it pops up instructions to go straight. I'm not stupid and have turned off all voice communication when I'm using the Nav guidance because it's just annoying to hear "in 1 mile continue going straight." There needs to be an option to turn off those waypoints and just tell me turns and exits. My biggest beef with the Lexus system is that it literally disables every useful thing you can do when the vehicle is in motion. About the only thing it lets you do is change the radio station. OK, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. You can't scroll thru previous destinations or your address book, you can't change the destination or even go to an eDestination folder (like an online address book you setup) that is on the next screen. Consequently I have to use the Lexus Destination Assist and have one of their humans download the address I need, even tho I have it already in one of my folders. And, of course, Dest Assist has an annual subscription fee. I will say that I have become spoiled and use it quite a bit to find restaurants and other locations but I could just as easily live with the BlueLink system in my wife's 2015 Hyundai Sonata where you just say a destination name, it looks it up somehow and presents the address on the Nav screen. An annoying tech limitation is the number of phone contacts it will download when you connect via BT. The limit is 1,000 which sounds like a lot unless you have 2500 contacts in your phone. The 1,000 contact limit also restricts you to 3 phone numbers per contact. If you have 4 phone numbers it requires 2 contact slots. When I first discovered this limitation I talked to the tech guru at the dealership who thought they should be able to raise the limit because they weren't using even a third of the hard drive space in the system. He raised the issue with engineering 3 years ago and nothing has happened since. The result is that I can only voice dial about a third of my contacts. Other features: One option I really like is the Heads-Up Display. While pricey, it does present animated Nav info on the windshield so you don't have to glance down at the main display. It also shows speed and drive gear (not sure how useful that is) as well as radio info whenever you change stations. I would like to see a lot more info in the HUD or the ability to select what I want to see. I would love to have the power meter up there because when you're trying to keep the vehicle running on battery that's the only indicator of when you're about to engage the engine. Driving experience: My only complaint about drivability is road noise. Wind noise is pretty acceptable but road noise definitely detracts from the highway driving experience. Obviously blacktop roads are quieter than concrete. The vehicle needs a lot of additional soundproofing for the highway. The speed-controlled-volume setting does not do much in the ON position to overcome road noise. In fact, I can't really tell much difference at all and have to manually adjust radio volume to overcome the road noise."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Excellent driving in town and on highway. Very com

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "See above"

Cons: "No complaints or concerns"

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

"Vehicle has been regularly service by Lexus de alert whenever required has been regularly washed and professionally cleaned. No smoking ever in this car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

reliable, problem-free

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "reliable, luxurious, practical"

Cons: "computer mouse is distracting"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Having driven a large, luxurious Cadillac previously, the luxury and comfort of this fine vehicle are somewhat downplayed in my mind. It has never given me any mechanical problems, drives well, has decent gas mileage and is reasonably quiet. The all-wheel drive helps during Lake Michigan snows and it is an all around solid car. Not exciting, but a good, long-term value."

11 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Low miles, fully loaded

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Premium package. meticulously cared for; clean Car Fax report; Always been garaged, never smoked in, never been to the snow, factory towing prep package with transmission cooler, heavy duty alternator/radiator (does not include ball mount); Intuitive parking assist; heated AND ventilated front seats; blind-spot monitoring; Nav; 19" alloy wheels and much more."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Asian Luxury!

By on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reasonably priced. Premium luxury and performance."

Cons: "More powerports please! Better cargo bay lighting"

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

"The negatives: Power ports please! Cargo lighting please. Hiding only two PowerPoint near the bottom of a deep Center console with a lid with an 75 degree fully open angle makes access insanely difficult for driver. Impossible to access ports while driving. Which may be the point the designers are making. Power port access is very awkward even while parked. There are not enough ports to hook up a Garmin, an Escort and phone at the same time. Now the goodies: Smooth quiet ride. A vast improvement over my $70k Escalade. Cat like cornering and handling stability instills driver confidence. Especially at highway speed. The moment you have been waiting for. This thing will climb trees to get to a snow storm. A real sweetheart to drive on treacherous winter roads. Bottom line: bargain priced luxury, quality and performance. In many respects an upgrade over my Escalade."

31 people out of 43 found this review helpful

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