Having given birth to the midsize luxury crossoverSUV segment, the Lexus RX continues to reign supreme, offering a combination of quality, luxury, reliability and resale that buyers flock to again and again. Despite a huge onslaught of competitors, none seem to have nailed the RX's formula for success. Fresh from a complete redo last year, the RX for 2014 continues to impress with its comfortable ride and finely crafted cabin filled with numerous luxury amenities. The spacious cabin is more flexible than in any sedan, and the tall ride height provides a commanding view of the road yet isn't so high up that it requires a stepladder. The broad RX model range includes a fuel-efficient hybrid gasoline-electric model and enthusiast-oriented F Sport.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're set on a moderately sized luxury SUV, but put off by the stiff ride common on so many luxury cars these days, take the 2014 Lexus RX for a spin. A smooth ride, good handling and a whisper-quiet interior make this the perfect choice, as do the RX's excellent service and resale reputation.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for performance ride and handling, even the F Sport may not cut it. Those seeking diesel-power will have to look to Audi, Mercedes and BMW to get their fix, while those who plan to venture off-road will be happier with a Land Rover.
Changes for the 2014 Lexus RX are limited to some package upgrades and the availability of Siri Eyes Free technology. Available with iPhone 4S and above, this technology enables Siri to voice-control your music selection, text messages and navigation all through the car's audio system.
Driving the RX
Good handling shouldn't come at the expense of a comfortable ride, which is exactly why we like the 2014 Lexus RX so much. Rough patches and expansion joints are quickly...
... dispatched, yet the RX's steering and ability to negotiate turns are still well within the limits of reason. Razor-sharp steering and a taut suspension are not what the RX is all about, but if you are, there is the F Sport model that tightens things up quite a bit. Passengers will appreciate the impressive rear-seat legroom and the copious cargo storage that includes numerous bins and cubbies. From a performance standpoint, the RX is not particularly quick, making the 0-60 run in just 7.7 seconds. Front-wheel drive is standard in the RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid, with all-wheel drive standard on F Sport models and optional on the others.
POWER REAR DOOR When you're juggling groceries, kids and keys, you quickly run out of limbs and digits for opening doors. For the 2014, a power opening-and-closing rear door is standard on the Lexus RX. If only those groceries would load and unload themselves with the touch of a button.
REMOTE TOUCH CONTROLLER Think of this available console-mounted controller as a computer mouse for the car. With it, you can control commands for navigation and more on the center screen.
2014 Lexus RX Details
The RX's cabin is warm, polished and cozy, but not quite as sophisticated as some European rivals. Still, amenities abound, from the plush seats to the power tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Starting and stopping the Lexus is done with the press of a button, and even the base audio unit is impressive with its nine speakers. Rear passenger legroom is good, and the 40/20/40-folding rear seat is able to recline and slide to accommodate people or cargo. Likewise, the innovative storage bin up front slides and has dual power outlets. With the rear seats folded, cargo capacity expands to an impressive 80.3 cubic feet.
The 2014 RX takes on a more aggressive nature with its signature grille, but the rest of the SUV is similar both to past designs and its many imitators. From the side, the Lexus is defined by its steeply-sloped rear window line. That sloping motif then extends to its nicely-angled rear. Hybrid models are distinguished with a subtle blue-hued L Lexus badge in front. The RX rides on 18-inch wheels, and F Sport models are on 19-inchers. It all adds up to a pretty if not cutting-edge profile, which should please the majority of buyers.
Even a base 2014 Lexus RX 350 boasts plenty of luxury touches and comfort amenities to make day-to-day driving easier and more enjoyable. Dual-zone automatic climate control, power rear door, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power driver's seat and 9-speaker premium AM/FM/satellite audio unit with 6-disc changer and auxiliary input are all included. F Sport models include heated and ventilated front seats, leather trim and roof rails. F Sport and RX 450h Hybrid models also feature the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system for improved traction control.
The Lexus RX can further be upgraded with packages that bundle items such as color LCD display, dual-screen rear entertainment system, navigation, Siri Eyes Free, a rear backup camera, 12-speaker audio system and the Lexus Enform suite with apps for everything from streaming music on Pandora to making restaurant reservations with OpenTable. Leather seating is also optional, as is a heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel and a 115-volt outlet (standard on F Sport). Those who spend copious amounts of time crawling in traffic should consider the smog-sensing automatic recirculating climate system.
Under the Hood
The Lexus RX 350 for 2014 utilizes a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine is linked to a 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-efficient RX 450h hybrid combines the same V6 engine with an electric motor for higher power (295 horsepower 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). The RX 350 F Sport adds no horsepower but does have two additional gears in its 8-speed transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds for models equipped with the prep package.
3.5-liter V6 + 123-kW electric motor (RX 450h) 245 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (gasoline engine alone) Total system horsepower: 295 234 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm (gasoline engine) EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 30/28 mpg (AWD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base 2014 Lexus RX 350 with front-wheel drive is just over $40,500. All-wheel drive adds $1,400. Hybrid RX 450h models start just over $47,000, and RX 350 F Sport models starts just under $48,500. A fully-loaded RX can reach the mid-$50,000 mark. Competitors in this midsize luxury crossover SUV segment, which include the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Lincoln MKX, have similar pricing. The Acura RDX and Cadillac SRX, meanwhile, are less. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 RX. As for resale value, the Lexus RX is at the top of its segment, outpacing the Q5, X3, GLK and SRX in the long run.
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 !"
"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!"
"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!"