By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
Having given birth to the midsize luxury crossover SUV 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.
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.
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 Impressions 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.
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.Exterior
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.
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 (RX 350, F Sport)
270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD) 18/26 mpg (F Sport)
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.
By Scott on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The only thing I would change is to get better gas mileage. I average 20 on the road and about 17/18 in city. I have a heavy foot but the best gas mileage on the road was about 23.3 mpg. Long trips it gets about 21.5 mpg."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Retiredliz on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great mileage on long trips."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is by far the best high performing car I have ever owned. Cannot beat it for comfort, reliability and driving."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Edwin on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,400overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quiet interior, Good sounding 12 speaker stereo,"
Cons: "Poor quality interior design & materials,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this 2014 based upon the excellent reliability ratings for the Lexus RX350 and my good experience with my 2008 RX350. The main reason this review scores so low is that I am comparing it to the 2008 that I traded in on this 2014 model. My 2008 had a MSRP of $42,450, the 2014 MSRP was $47,030. I liked the 2008 a whole lot better than this 2014 mainly because Lexus designers have cheapened the interior materials and design on the 2014 most likely to lighten the vehicle so as to achieve slightly better gas mileage. The 2008 was all wheel drive, the 2014 is only front wheel drive, yet the gas mileage is almost identical at 21.5 mpg combined. The best features of the 2014 are 1) Quieter interior noise level. 2) Better sounding 12 speaker sound system. 3) Better cornering capability. 4) Blind Spot Monitoring System. The disappointments are numerous, including 1) Poor back-up camera. 2) Lack of an air conditioning button on the dashboard. You never know if the a/c compressor is on or off unless you toggle through multiple window screens to see if it is operating. 3) Poor interior storage space. The center console is so dark and deep that it is difficult to find anything in it. The door storage bins have all been reduced in size from the 2008 model. 4) Space Saver spare tire takes up almost all of the interior storage space under the rear cargo load floor. You can not even fit a trailer hitch in the remaining small storage space under the cargo mat.(The 2008 had a full size spare located outside under the back of the vehicle). 5) The carpeting and mats are embarrassingly thin. They belong in an economy car, not a luxury vehicle. 6) The leather feels thin on the seats. 7) Stiffer ride compared to the 2008. I could go on, but you get the idea. I expect a newer vehicle to improve from previous designs, not go backwards. I regret buying this vehicle. It will be my last Lexus."
14 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By pegasus on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very comfortable, elegant, roomy well-designed interior for this 6'2" driver. Can readily handle 4-5 adults. Car still looks great inside and out after 72k miles and 4 1/2 years. Handles well. Hybrid gas mileage on this pretty heavy vehicle is pretty respectable (about 25 mpg combined for me which includes a fair amount of driving up and down a mountain). I've owned Lexus vehicles for 20 years and this is the first one that I had any mechanical problem, namely the fuel injection pump failed at 47k miles. Luckily, the vehicle was under warranty (barely) and the Lexus towing/car rental/repair experience was all excellent (happened on Friday evening and there was a 24-hour Lexus service location that we were able to go to). I was of course disappointed that this happened in the first place. This was around the time that Toyota was getting some bad publicity for more quality problems than usual due to growth/outsourcing of parts and it did make me wonder if they were compromising quality: time will tell. My only other complaint is the NAV system, which you're forced to buy if you want the back-up camera, is overpriced (NAV dvd updates are also a rip-off) and not well-designed. All in all I'd highly recommend the vehicle to anyone looking for an SUV in this price range."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Mary on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own the RX350 for a year. I love the car. very smooth ride. high quality material. I enjoy the ride as well as my family. I have been shopping around, I have test drove the Highlandar, Murano and other Suvs. the RX350 by far better ride and quality."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Transmissiongawd on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have been in auto repair for over 30 years, and own one of the best shops in the northwest, specializing in transmission repair, I know cars. We are on our 3rd Lexus, and like the preceding 2 cars, our RX350 has never been a problem. We love Lexus, cars, suvs, whatever Toyota puts the Lexus badge on will deliver a quality experience for the lifetime of ownership. While buying a new Lexus can stretch a budget, the lack of repairs will more than make up the difference."
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful