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2012 Lexus RX

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2012 Lexus RX Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

Lexus helped craft the luxury-crossover segment when it debuted the RX 350 SUV more than 10 years ago, and today nearly every high-end automaker offers at least one viable alternative to the vehicle that started it all. Even so, the 2012 RX 350 still counts itself as one of the most popular models in the segment, and with good reason. The vehicle has embraced a slow-and-steady approach to model changes, with engineers refusing to drastically alter a formula that continues to draw buyers into the showroom. With a capable V6 engine, a quiet and well-executed interior and plenty of room inside, the 2012 Lexus RX 350 - along with its carbon-footprint-conscious brother, the RX 450h hybrid version – proves that success doesn't require a reinvention of the wheel. It just helps when you hold the original blueprints.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 RX is a stylish and comfortable luxury crossover that offers an interior that's as intuitive as it is spacious. That's something that's hard to say for every competitor in the field. The RX 450h hybrid also offers impressive fuel economy for the segment.

You May Not Like This Car If...

No one's accusing the 2012 RX of being a sports machine. The vehicle prizes occupant comfort over outright performance in any category. This is a soft-roader through and through, so buyers hunting a sharper driving experience may be more rewarded with a BMW X3 or an Audi Q5.

What's New for 2012

Buyers who found something to love in the 2011 RX 350 won't be disappointed by the vehicle's successor. The 2012 model carries on much the same, though the vehicle's 3.5-liter V6 engine now operates using 87-octane fuel for the first time.

Driving the RX

Driving Impressions The 2012 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 6-speed automatic transmission with direct-downshift control, which allows the transmission to skip over gears, 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 Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Display
Housed in the Multi-Information Display between the dash gauges, the OLED display is composed 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.

2012 Lexus RX Details
Interior

The 2012 RX offers drivers a multifunction, 3-spoke steering wheel trimmed in leather, though a leather-and-wood piece is also available to match wood accents spread throughout the cabin. Lexus still finds itself trailing somewhat in the interior department, especially compared to segment all-stars like the Audi Q5. There are places where the RX clearly shows its Toyota roots, but that doesn't make the cabin unattractive. Everything works and is easy to access without drivers being forced to get cozy with the owner's manual. Both front and rear occupants are afforded plenty of space, and an ample cargo area makes this a vehicle that's built for packing in a small family and heading away for the weekend.

Exterior

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the RX is up to its roof rails in compliments. The luxury-crossover segment is filled with imitations of the vehicle's familiar profile. Lexus designers have worked to give the vehicle an expressive front with a grille set lower than the halogen projector-beam headlights. Buyers may also opt for HID lights. Either way, the lights lead into sculpted fenders with large arches for something of an athletic appearance. Shoppers will enjoy the standard 18-inch alloy wheels, and side mirrors with integrated turning indicators lend both additional style and safety to the mix.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Lexus has built the 2012 RX with all of the necessary luxury trappings, including leather seating surfaces, 10-way power adjustable front buckets, automatic dual-zone climate control and a 10-speaker high-end audio system. Bluetooth streaming audio is also part of the mix, as is XM Satellite Radio. The vehicle isn't shy on safety, either, with an impressive 10 airbags as standard equipment as well as brake assist.

Optional Equipment

Should buyers find the base stereo system lacking, the 2012 RX 350 is available with a stunning 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system. The option is Lexus-exclusive, and the automaker says that extensive audio engineering ensures that each passenger is treated to the same level of audio enjoyment. A wide-view side camera may also be paired with a rearview camera to make parking as painless as possible. Navigation-equipped models display information from the cameras in the center of the dash, while non-equipped vehicles rely on a 2.5-inch screen integrated into the rearview camera.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Lexus RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 produces 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an efficient 6-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. The fuel-smart RX 450h hybrid combines the same V6 engine with an electric motor for higher power (295 hp channeled through a continuously variable automatic transmission) and efficiency (32 mpg in the city for the front-wheel drive RX 450h, 30 mpg in the all-wheel drive form).

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (AWD)

3.5-liter V6, 123 kW electric motor
295 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (electric motor and gasoline engine combined)
234 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/28 (front-wheel drive), 30/28 (AWD)

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2012 Lexus RX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 124 Ratings for the 2009 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

I like this car pretty well

By on Saturday, August 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Problem with Satellite Radio

By on Thursday, August 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "beautiful car, drives great"

Cons: "cannot use and enjoy the Sirius Radio"

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

"Disappointed. I bought a 2015 Lexus RX350 this June (replacing my 2010 RX350), immediately noticed that reception of the satellite radio is constantly being interrupted. I have had Sirius Radio for 10 years now; I am driving down the same streets and have never before had any service interruptions. Lexus has told me they cannot do anything about it. Local dealer has told me it is a problem with all 2014 & 2015’s.Truly affects the enjoyment of my driving experience."

10 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Good HP for Lexus, gets up quickly, good milage

By on Saturday, July 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, very smooth"

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

"I've owned three other Lexus Suv's but this one is only front wheel drive (precious were AWD). MPG is best against the ratings of all, matter of fact consistently outperform the sticker ratings. The pickup from zero can be scary if you punch it."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Very comfortable vehicle on trips.

By on Thursday, July 03, 2014

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

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great ride; very comfortable"

Cons: "Navigation system not worth it; low gas economy"

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

"We love our '13 Rx. Much better equipped than our '02 RX. Navigation system is practically useless to us. We prefer navigating with our iPhone because its so hard to put an address into the Lexus system. The Lexus system is only updated when you buy a subscription ($135+), whereas the iPhone is updated constantly, and $10 per year. Fuel mileage is not as high as we would like, but it uses regular gas which our '02 does not."

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

On my third one now. Never had any problems

By on Sunday, June 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Quiet"

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

"Had a 2003 RX 300, 1006 RX400h and a 2010 RX350 and loved them all. A bit pricey but you can't beat the reliability - never had any problems with any of the 3 and the last one is at 91,000 miles"

13 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Never had a problem with this vehicle.

By on Saturday, May 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "reliability, comfort, reputation"

Cons: "auxillary ports, and premium fuel only"

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

"The ONLY issue I would mention, would be the configuration of the console area in front (on my 2010). The phone charging/MP3 ports are in a hard to reach place. I HAVE HEARD THOUGH,THAT THE NEWER MODELS HAVE FIXED THAT ISSUE. OVERALL, I LOVE MY RX."

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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