Wood and leather play starring roles inside the 2015 Lexus RX, but that's not what makes this luxury SUV stand out. Where the Lexus RX excels is with its ingenious cargo solutions and emphasis on passenger comfort. From rear seats that slide, recline and fold in a 40/20/40 split to the storage compartments sprinkled throughout, the Lexus puts a priority on pragmatics. Details like the pop-out bottle holder to the left of the steering wheel make this hauler extra helpful. For larger items, the 2015 RX swallows 40 cubic feet of stuff behind the rear seats, or twice that with them folded.
For its recent design refresh, the RX luxury SUV gained an edgier look with Lexus' familial "spindle" grille and LED daytime running lights, but relative to some rivals, the RX remains softer. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. Like the interior, the exterior design is meant for more than just style. Its sloped rear window line, for example, offers a good view out. Within the lineup, the F Sport model has 19-inch wheels (vs. the standard 18-inch), a unique bumper and badges, while the RX 450h hybrid features a blue-hued badge in front.
Notable Standard Equipment
Inside a base 2015 Lexus RX 350, amenities that include ebony wood interior trim, dual-zone climate control, 10-way power front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, a power-operated liftgate, and the new 12-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. About the only surprise in the standard-feature set is the use of fabric-trimmed seats instead of leather, which can be rectified via an option package or by electing the F Sport model. The F Sport also comes with a sport-tuned suspension for better agility. The hybrid model stands apart with bamboo interior trim and selectable drive modes (normal, sport, eco and electric).
Notable Optional Equipment
All Lexus RX SUVs can be equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD) in place of front-wheel drive for better traction (F Sport models have AWD standard). Most other major upgrades for the 2015 RX are bundled into packages and include a navigation/infotainment system with an 8-inch high-resolution display and the Lexus Enform App Suite of smartphone apps, leather interior with heated and cooled front seats, heated wood and leather steering wheel, and a sweet-sounding Mark Levinson audio system. Rear-seat passengers can enjoy a twin-screen DVD system. Optional safety equipment includes blind-spot monitoring, a pre-collision alert system, and radar-based dynamic cruise control.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 uses a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission featuring direct-downshift control to allow for quick shifting when needed (such as rapid acceleration) from 6th gear to 3rd, or 5th to 2nd, skipping gears for a more immediate response. The RX 350 F Sport adds no extra horsepower, but does have two additional gears in its 8-speed transmission to eke out improved fuel economy. It also includes steering wheel-mounted paddles for manual-style shifting. The fuel-efficient RX 450h hybrid combines the same V6 engine with an electric motor for higher power channeled through a continuously variable automatic transmission and significantly greater fuel efficiency. 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 2015 Lexus RX 350 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $41,700. The well-equipped F Sport model starts shy of $50,000, while the RX 450h hybrid begins at over $48,000. Loaded, a 2015 Lexus RX can reach the mid-to-high $50,000 range. At its base price, the 2015 RX 350 begins slightly above the entry prices of rivals such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX and Land Rover LR2. Undercutting the RX by several thousand are the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50 and Volvo XC60, while the Mercedes-Benz M-Class begins several thousand higher. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Lexus RX. The Lexus RX has a superb tradition of holding its value, and the 2015 RX is predicted to follow suit as one of the best in its segment.
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