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.
"Having driven a large, luxurious Cadillac previously, the luxury and comfort of this fine vehicle are somewhat downplayed in my mind. It has never given me any mechanical problems, drives well, has decent gas mileage and is reasonably quiet. The all-wheel drive helps during Lake Michigan snows and it is an all around solid car. Not exciting, but a good, long-term value."
"Premium package. meticulously cared for; clean Car Fax report; Always been garaged, never smoked in, never been to the snow, factory towing prep package with transmission cooler, heavy duty alternator/radiator (does not include ball mount); Intuitive parking assist; heated AND ventilated front seats; blind-spot monitoring; Nav; 19" alloy wheels and much more."
Pros: "Reasonably priced. Premium luxury and performance."
Cons: "More powerports please! Better cargo bay lighting"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The negatives: Power ports please! Cargo lighting please. Hiding only two PowerPoint near the bottom of a deep Center console with a lid with an 75 degree fully open angle makes access insanely difficult for driver. Impossible to access ports while driving. Which may be the point the designers are making. Power port access is very awkward even while parked. There are not enough ports to hook up a Garmin, an Escort and phone at the same time.
Now the goodies: Smooth quiet ride. A vast improvement over my $70k Escalade. Cat like cornering and handling stability instills driver confidence. Especially at highway speed.
The moment you have been waiting for. This thing will climb trees to get to a snow storm. A real sweetheart to drive on treacherous winter roads. Bottom line: bargain priced luxury, quality and performance. In many respects an upgrade over my Escalade."