On the Road – Lexus RX 350 [VIDEO]
This is the big kahuna for Lexus. It is the cash cow. This is the primary vehicle in the trophy wife motor pool. The RX series has been a hit ever since it was introduced 4 generations ago, and Lexus is rightfully cautious when it comes to restyling this little beauty.
Actually, we should say, normally cautious. But in 2016, it got the new corporate Lexus trapezoidal hourglass front end, and enough swoops and creases to wrap an Italian exotic. But this is a luxury SUV hauler.
But even by the swoopy standard set by Kia and Hyundai, t is a conservative, attractive, beautifully assembled vehicle for folks who need something like the Toyota Highlander, its mechanical sibling, but by golly, want to lord it over the Joneses a bit.
Inside, the same is true. Superb materials in a very conservative layout, and blessedly, no phony baloney attempt at a 3rd row seat in a vehicle that just doesn’t have the room. Unless you are transporting the remaining Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz to and from the old actor’s home, those miniscule 3rd row seats on many rivals are simply useless.
The built in computer mouse dealy on the armrest, by the way, is brilliant….distracting, but brilliant. Let your passenger work it though while driving, unless you want to test the airbags, too.
Under the hood of the standard model is the 3.5-liter, 295 horsepower V6. And if you are feeling particularly green, there is the RX 450H Hybrid, a category that Toyota continues to dominate. The normal RX 350 becomes the 450H when an electric motor generator is added to the mix, giving it 308 horsepower overall.
The normally powered RX gets but 19-20 miles per gallon in town, 26-28 on the highway depending on whether you choose front or all-wheel-drive.
The price? Start at just under $44,000 for a front-wheel-drive RX 350, all the way up to the sporty F-Sport in all-wheel-drive at just over $51-large. Ours showed a distinct lack of self-restraint on the options page, and came in at $57,800.
Either way, you get a striking, superbly assembled, people mover with more style than its humbler Toyota sibling, and a curvy alternative to the Jaguar and Cadillac entries. To put it in terms Martha Stewart might understand, that’s a good thing.