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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 158 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
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Awesome 2015 RX 350

By on Saturday, August 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300

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: "All the options, comfortable to drive, Mark L."

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

"After buying a Lexus NX a few months, I decided that wasn't for me. After having Highlanders, I found the RX350 to be the better Lexus. It's not a sports car, so the ride is not sporty, it is pure Luxury. I purchased the RX with all the options, which makes it in the upper 50,000. price range, but it's worth it compared to others in the same range. Lexus quality is found throughout, and it has a wonderful, smooth comfortable ride. It has great looks as well, and I'm glad I got a 2015 ! I'm not a fan of the new 2016 RX look, and it is going to be larger than the current model. The Mark L. sound system is awesome after you spend some time adjusting the sound so it's just right ! The heads up display is a feature that I love...the speed is projected on the windshield while you are driving so you can keep your eyes on the road. Other features include rain sensing wipers, back up camera, heated and cooled seats, and I got the luxury package which extends the drivers seat for comfort. Being tall, it allows a comfortable ride, and plenty of room. Lexus quality is apparent inside and out. try one..you will love it !"

2nd Lexus and not keeping this one!

By on Friday, August 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Reliable, great service"

Cons: "Driver seat is painfully uncomfortable"

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

"I previously owned a 2001 RX and drove it for almost 200k, loved it, bought another-not even close to being as nice as my old 2001! The seat is so uncomfortable that I have had it at the dealership 4 or 5 times, finally they replaced the seat bottom and it is still bad. The controls are hard to reach (and I am 5'7"). On the good side, I love the reliability and looks, but it just lacks in luxury, the interior quality is not as nice as the older models and they are trying to make a "grocery getter" into a sport SUV. This car is just too expensive for what is is and I really don't consider a Lexus a luxury car anymore, after driving this 2014 RX for a year and a half it feels like a older Toyota with some wood thrown in. I am counting the days to trade mine in for a car that I am comfortable driving!"

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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!"

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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

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