By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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)
By Black Beauty on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, luxurious ride with kick butt sound system"
Cons: "Soft paint clumsy controls poor rear seat env ctrl"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"When searching for this car, it had to fit 4 sets of golf clubs and 4 persons in it comfortably. It had to have good smooth pickup, luxurious ride, and superb sound system. It had to have passenger lumbar support control and air/heated seats. We drove every model with comfort in mind over sportiness. BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Subaru, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda all either to sluggish or crisp and uncomfortable. Like Goldilocks says, this one is just right. Cons: Paint scratches easily, interior controls not always intuitive and somewhat clumsy, needs mud flaps (way too much dirt splashes up on rear of car), not enough rear seat environmental control."
By Dave on Monday, February 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Outstanding luxury. Comfortable seats."
Cons: "Need bigger engine -- more power."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The vehicle is faultless -- except it needs more power. It is generally ok but Lexus should add more power or a turbo. Merging onto an express can be a harrowing experience. The F sport is worth the extra money."
15 people out of 32 found this review helpful
By ballon 2318 on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "the best SUV the most reliable"
Cons: "get better tires next time, that are not as noisey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"great dealership and service SUV handles great in snow plus very comfortable on long trips cargo space outstanding do not like dunlop tires, to nosie coming from them sound system very good. 61000 miles on Lexus Rx 350 and running outstanding heated and cooled seats outstanding steering outstanding as well as braking"
34 people out of 57 found this review helpful
By Kathy on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price is right , rides smooth"
Cons: "Charging port, blind spot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Had a 2007 and bought 2010 in dec 2010! Love the keyless entry and ignition, ride is so smooth. Never had any service issues except routine maintanence. Only dislike is they moved the USB ports for phone charging, put them in the console. Very difficult to get to, esp for someone else riding with me if they can't use my iPhone charger. No backseat port either for riders. But this car is a keeper and would suggest to anyone."
20 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By Marty on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Where do I start? Very uncomfortable driver's seat, noisy fan and air leak whistle, confusing navigation, radio and media pkg., turning circle is too wide, center console is too small and deep, not enough storage compartments, trying to right the rear seat after folding down almost gives you a hernia it's so heavy, etc, etc. Don't be seduced by a pretty "face"!"
20 people out of 51 found this review helpful
By Baymom on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great fuel milage, lots of space, fun"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second RX 450h 5-DR SUV. It's been terrific and I love the star fire pearl (white) exterior with the tan interior. Clean, sporty and easy to maintain! Excellent milage and I rarely have to go to fill up anymore."
12 people out of 25 found this review helpful