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2012 Lexus RX

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2012 Lexus RX Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the RX

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.

2012 Lexus RX Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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).

3.5-liter V6
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)

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2012 Lexus RX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 147 Ratings for the 2009 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

"Great vehicle, pleasant to drive, technology lag"

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "car-like ride, storage and utility, gas mileage"

Cons: "Not as sporty to handle as some"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The title of my review quotes a previous reviewer. I don't understand how this person can say Lexus's technology lags if he really owns this vehicle. The RXH has all the technology you claim it doesn't, blind spot monitoring, pre-collision, etc., albeit some at additional costs. Lexus has always been on the forefront of technology but has incorporated this so flawlessly inside their vehicles that some are not immediately noticeable. As the owner of my 4th Lexus which includes 2 LS's and my second RXH, I am surprised by your review. The newer Lexuses have a hard drive for the navi and no longer uses a DVD. It is possible to gain access to the listings in the phone book and previous destinations. You just wont be able to run through the entire nav features due to safety. Although I have been sometimes tempted to try other cars, I generally come back to Lexus because of their exceptional reliability, dealership experience for maintenance, quality, and how flawlessly everything works once you are in the car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, pleasant to drive, technology lags

By on Monday, June 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Reliable, driveability, roomy"

Cons: "Technology lags others, somewhat pricey"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is my second hybrid vehicle, the first being a 2008 Rx400h FWD. Lexus gets a lot of things right in their vehicles but they are pretty conservative when it comes to adopting new technology, which is my biggest complaint. My next vehicle will definitely have some options that weren't available in June 2013 unless I wanted to wait another 3-4 months: adaptive cruise, blind spot, lane change, cross traffic alert, pre-collision alert (a lot of the safety features available on other makes). MSRP on my Rx450h was $61K - a bit on the pricey side. Bottom line: I will probably buy another Rx450h in a year or 2. I'd really like to try a Tesla Model S P85 but the price tag is just too high. The AWD hybrid experience: The Rx450h is a pleasure to drive. It has good acceleration with electric motor assist up to about 20 mph. The electric motors kick in during normal driving which do help MPG. If you drive it like you would any other vehicle the MPG won't be great. The AWD version has a sticker average of 29 for combined city/highway driving but you need to baby it a bit to get that. Ignoring any change in driving habit still yields 27-28 in my experience, which is 2X what my 2007 Chevy Suburban was getting. (That was my primary justification for the hybrid.) Another nice feature is how quiet this thing is when at a stop light. Assuming the hybrid battery is not low on charge the engine will shut down and run on just the battery, making the vehicle very quiet. All you will hear is the AC fan and the radio. It takes a little getting used to for someone who is "aware" of your car's noises when you feel the engine shut down. Most all vehicle systems are electric. One important implication of this is that when the engine shuts off the AC continues cooling like it would on the highway with a non-hybrid vehicle. You can turn on EV (Electric Vehicle) mode and move pretty quietly as long as you stay under 25 mph and don't accelerate quickly. Around 2013 Lexus added a ghostly whining sound whenever the vehicle is moving so people can hear you coming...so much for stealth mode! Infotainment systems: I am a tech guy and would rate this area only average. The Nav system uses a DVD for map data and was out-of-date the day I bought it. Lexus needs to update this area specifically to use more available technology like Google Map data. In the area where we live there are many areas that have built up over the past 3-5 years that show as blank spaces on the Nav map where whole neighborhoods and new schools now exist. Upgrading the map DVD costs about $200 which I also think is ridiculous given that you can pull out your smart phone and have a map app show you exactly where you are and where you need to go. I also detest the waypoint instructions in the system. Every time you near a major exit on a freeway it pops up instructions to go straight. I'm not stupid and have turned off all voice communication when I'm using the Nav guidance because it's just annoying to hear "in 1 mile continue going straight." There needs to be an option to turn off those waypoints and just tell me turns and exits. My biggest beef with the Lexus system is that it literally disables every useful thing you can do when the vehicle is in motion. About the only thing it lets you do is change the radio station. OK, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. You can't scroll thru previous destinations or your address book, you can't change the destination or even go to an eDestination folder (like an online address book you setup) that is on the next screen. Consequently I have to use the Lexus Destination Assist and have one of their humans download the address I need, even tho I have it already in one of my folders. And, of course, Dest Assist has an annual subscription fee. I will say that I have become spoiled and use it quite a bit to find restaurants and other locations but I could just as easily live with the BlueLink system in my wife's 2015 Hyundai Sonata where you just say a destination name, it looks it up somehow and presents the address on the Nav screen. An annoying tech limitation is the number of phone contacts it will download when you connect via BT. The limit is 1,000 which sounds like a lot unless you have 2500 contacts in your phone. The 1,000 contact limit also restricts you to 3 phone numbers per contact. If you have 4 phone numbers it requires 2 contact slots. When I first discovered this limitation I talked to the tech guru at the dealership who thought they should be able to raise the limit because they weren't using even a third of the hard drive space in the system. He raised the issue with engineering 3 years ago and nothing has happened since. The result is that I can only voice dial about a third of my contacts. Other features: One option I really like is the Heads-Up Display. While pricey, it does present animated Nav info on the windshield so you don't have to glance down at the main display. It also shows speed and drive gear (not sure how useful that is) as well as radio info whenever you change stations. I would like to see a lot more info in the HUD or the ability to select what I want to see. I would love to have the power meter up there because when you're trying to keep the vehicle running on battery that's the only indicator of when you're about to engage the engine. Driving experience: My only complaint about drivability is road noise. Wind noise is pretty acceptable but road noise definitely detracts from the highway driving experience. Obviously blacktop roads are quieter than concrete. The vehicle needs a lot of additional soundproofing for the highway. The speed-controlled-volume setting does not do much in the ON position to overcome road noise. In fact, I can't really tell much difference at all and have to manually adjust radio volume to overcome the road noise."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Excellent driving in town and on highway. Very com

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "See above"

Cons: "No complaints or concerns"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Vehicle has been regularly service by Lexus de alert whenever required has been regularly washed and professionally cleaned. No smoking ever in this car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

reliable, problem-free

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "reliable, luxurious, practical"

Cons: "computer mouse is distracting"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"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."

11 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Low miles, fully loaded

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"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."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Asian Luxury!

By on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

31 people out of 43 found this review helpful

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