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 gp345 on Thursday, September 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Cons: "break pedal ,lousy navigation"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"when i release break pedal it make very unoying sound .dealer said is normal i think is manufacture defect ride is ok why spend prime dollar just to drive lexus name tag ford and chevrolet makes same for lower price."
By togatown on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ride, responsiveness, safe feeling vehicle, looks."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought a 2011 rx350 AWD and felt it was the finest car I have ever driven for 3 straight years. Every time my wife drove it or in it she felt the same way. So we now own 2 RX350's AWD, since we purchased a second one this summer. The cars are amazing! They are quiet (the 2015 a little more so) and the ride is sensational. Every time you get in it, the car engulfs you with luxury. If you like your current luxury SUV do not test drive this car because you will be buying one!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By air force guy on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,789overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great ride.. lots of space good vision.cup holders"
Cons: "no sun glass holder... blind spots.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Goes good ..only draw back is need for premium fuel.. but that helps the environment so its all good.."
15 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By jdshaw on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid and quiet, with excellent build quality."
Cons: "A little "floaty"."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very solid vehicle. With only 2,500 miles there are no problems. Excellent build quality. Very quiet with responsive engine and smooth six speed transmission. MPG - 20.5 city, 26 highway (AWD). Slightly "floaty" - could use some firming up. Highly recommend blind spot monitor and parking assist."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By DOC on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "F-Sport has quick, firm and precise handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the F Sport model, handles tighter and has a big anti sway bar in ther rear and is tight. Pick up and acceleration with F paddles on the steering wheel are awsome for downshifting going up hills or passing, 8 speed tranny is nice! Very very quiet, in fact this has always been the quietest SUV on the market, easy to drive, very reliable and hands free phone and audio are superb! Just dont aim the mid console front a/c vent to high or it hits the mic and causes noise on phone...all over the highest recommendation!"
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By beckbo on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, smooth ride"
Cons: "to noisey with the wind sound. very annoying!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I bought this vehicle in a hurry at the end of the year. Was between this and Infinity but test drove this and liked it so well, never test drove the Infinity. The car is very stylish and comfortable as I am small in stature. My most favorite vehicle of all times was a 2005 Toyota 4 runner. It was great to drive and never had a problem one with it. Biggest complaint I have with the RX350 is the wind noise. I hear it constantly even with the radio high. Took it in and did not get any answers why it is so noisy. For a luxury vehicle I do not think it should be so noisy. Do not think I would purchase another one. Can not master the Satellite radio either!"
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful