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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 170 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Best car I've ever owned

By on Thursday, April 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very comfortable to drive, amazing reliability."

Cons: "Can't think of any."

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

"Car is 5 years old, never needed any repair of any kind, just routine maintenance. Very comfortable to drive and ride in, luxurious interior, has the styling that every other brand copied in their SUV's. This is not a sports car. I have owned BMW's that were more fun to drive but not nearly as reliable as this Lexus. My son had an identical RX350, got in a huge high speed freeway accident, rolled 4 times, looked like it had been used for an artillery target, all air bags deployed with no shrapnel, and he crawled out through the sunroof with nothing but a temporary headache. I call that good safety. He bought another just like it."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Thoroughly reliable, quiet, comfortable.

By on Saturday, April 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quiet, comfortable, dependable, roomy"

Cons: "2010 so no blind spot indicators"

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

"Always pros and cons with cars but in my opinion the RX 350 is the best combination of the factors that are most important to me....Reliable, quiet, very comfortable, everything works and has worked flawlessly for 4 years."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

A Very Fine Luxury SUV For the $ !

By on Friday, February 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,850

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quality, reliable, great looks, nicely appointed"

Cons: "none I can think of...truly"

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

"I compared those I thought were close to this RX350... Mercedes, Volvo, Acura...I will say the closest was the Acura...however, I had owned a Honda Pilot for 10 years, and the transmission always shifted 'iffy'...searching for the right gearing when going up a slight incline. I couldn't believe it, but the brand new Acura seemed to do the same thing the Honda did! So I thought it was time to change to 'the other side'. The Lexus has been nothing but bullet proof so far!"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I Love this car

By on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,500

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable, looks good"

Cons: "Price (for the hybrid)"

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

"This is actually my second RXh. I had the 400rxh and 2 years ago bought the 450rxh and I have loved them both - they are comfortable to drive (and I've driven this one almost across the country and back), I have never had a mechanical problem with it - although I was hesitant to buy a hybrid after reading some of the reviews about the batteries - but I had no problems with the first one and have no problems with this one - in fact I barely remember it has batteries under the back seat. I absolutely love this car."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great car!

By on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,250

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"We traded a Volvo XC 90 in for this vehicle and we were not disappointed one bit! Very comfortable to drive and easy to maintain. Dealership has been wonderful and an experience upon itself with food bar, work stations and the ability to wander around all the new and used Lexus automobiles. Considering a new car but with low mileage and great care we really enjoy the 2010 RX 350 we have. We have never owned a 5 year old vehicle but it is a keeper!"

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Great to drive

By on Saturday, December 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "easy to drive, quiet and well constructed"

Cons: "Narrow seats and outdated NAV"

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

"I had a 2013 RX and traded it in on the 2015 RX as the 2015 is loaded and a great deal. I was waiting to see the 2016 and became very disappointed in it. The 2016 seems to be cheapened up compared to the 2015. There are 2 things I don't like; narrow seats (sat in a 2016 F Sport and the seats are even narrower)and an outdated NAV. The menu is not organized very well. The vehicle is very quiet (quieter than the 2013)and easy to drive. You have to get the RPM's up to get power. I like the blind spot monitor, the parking assist,(drives me crazy in the drive through)and the heated/ventilated seats. (they are only for the fronts seats, not the rear) It took me a while to figure out the rain sensing wipers; sometimes they come on when it's not raining. I think it is moisture. Overall the vehicle is really nice, well constructed and holds it's value really well. I think the 2015 will hold it's value even more now that the 2016 is out."

17 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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