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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 137 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

best SUV ever owned

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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"

18 people out of 24 found this review helpful

My second ex 350. I love this car

By on Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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."

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Intense dislike!

By on Saturday, November 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

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"!"

8 people out of 19 found this review helpful

GREAT Attractive Reliable Mid-Size SUV

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Best luxury SUV on the market.

By on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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: "Fun to drive everyday"

Cons: "needs sunglass holder"

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

"This luxury SUV with 4AWG handles like a sports car. It has rapid acceleration and we have driven it 9 hrs. in a day without feeiing worn out at the end of the day. I test drove all the other luxury SUV's and each had their advantage but they were not a Lexus. Everyone driving with me is amazed at the comfort, speed, and attention to detail. If you are looking for a sportier ride that gives up comfort for a greater feel of the road then this is not the car for you. If you want a car that gives you excellent control and handling in a ver comfortable ride then this is the one for you. I wish there was a place for sunglasses like the older models."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I don't like this vehicle very uncomfortable

By on Monday, October 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"Worst crossover I ever owned, I took a 24 month lease and I regret it. very uncomfortable, backup camera is very confusing lacks back up lines, the button for garage door opener works half the times, the car shacks on stop lights and when starting the vehicle the car wine for a second. I am starting to have back issues because of the uncomfortable seats."

18 people out of 43 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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