Class: Premium midsize crossover
Miles Driven: 117
|Corporate Governance Report Card|
|Rooms and Facilities||B+|
|Power and performance||B-|
|match and finish||ONE|
|Scores in the report card are taken from the consensus of the test driver’s assessments. All classes are compared to other vehicles in the same class. The value type is for the specific trim level evaluated and may not reflect the Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire product line.|
|Comfortable Big & Tall|
|The Big & Tall comfort rating is for the front seats only. The “Big” rating is based on a male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, the “Tall” rating is based on a 6’6″ tall male tester.|
|Engine Specifications||275 hp 2.4 liters|
|Engine type||Turbocharged 4 cylinders|
|Transmission process||8-speed automatic transmission|
Observed fuel economy: 20.1 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 28/21/24 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel Type: premium gas
Snow performance: do not apply
Cost: $56,600 (excluding $1150 destination fee)
Options on test vehicle: Cold Zone Package ($100), Digital Key ($275), digital rearview mirror ($200), LED headlights ($1565), Panorama glass sunroof ($500), Mark Levinson audio system ( $2265), power tailgate ($150), Traffic Jam Assist ($620), door edge guards ($155), rear bumper stickers ($90), skateboard ($725)
Like a test: $64,395
Wonderful thing: Comfortable and high-class cabin, exquisite highway for long trip
Good: Easy-to-use infotainment system
What’s not so good: Clumsy low speed power delivery at times
Tom calls for:
Any discussion around the Lexus RX should include a clear acknowledgment of the car’s place in automotive history. Today largely forgotten, the 1998 Lexus RX is arguably the first luxury crossover. More importantly, it remains an industry benchmark in terms of sales volume and in defining the category itself.
The RX formula is simple enough: Borrowing the architecture of an excellent crossover (Toyota Highlander), crafting a chassis for optimal passenger comfort, adding a tweaked and upgraded V6 powertrain cabin up to premium standards.
Despite its formulaic simplicity, God is in the details, and the Lexus RX consistently outperforms the sum of its parts. The quality of design and build execution plays a big part here, and the RX has always looked and felt as if the designers and assemblers responsible for the car were building it for themselves.
Redesigned for 2023, the RX hasn’t deviated from its core mission. Indeed, it’s still as refined and comfort-focused as before, but… the V6 is gone. There’s still plenty of power left to tap, and it seems this author is the only one to lament the passing of the old-fashioned, relatively low-tech engine, but with it a bit of powertrain improvement. moving — just a little bit — and I miss it. More on this is a moment…
Although the RX’s overall length hasn’t increased, its wheelbase has been stretched to 112 inches, an increase of more than 2 inches. Most of the space created by that ramp has been allocated to the rear seating area, where passengers will get a bit more legroom.
With the redesign, the number of trim levels/powertrain configurations skyrocketed—from eight to ten—and the number of powertrain offers, in this case, from two to four.
The RX 2022 is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 or a hybrid version of the same engine. As noted earlier, the V6 will be gone by 2023, replaced by a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder. The V6 hybrid engine is replaced in most trim levels with a 2.5-liter hybrid four. New for 2024 are turbocharged and hybrid 2.4-liter engines. The new engine delivers 367 hp and is only available in the performance-oriented RX500h. Not yet available, but coming soon, is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that borrows heavily from the setup found in the Toyota RAV4 Prime—a powerful compact crossover.
The RX350 models are equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. The RX350h models are equipped with a 2.5-liter hybrid engine, and as noted above, the RX500h is available exclusively with the turbocharged/hybrid 2.4-liter engine.
The trim levels go up from base, Premium Plus, F Sport, Luxury and F Sport Performance. Base prices range from about $50,000 to $65,000, excluding options, none of which, except for the Mark Levinson sound system, are particularly expensive.
Note that in the future, RX will not be supplied with 3rank row of seats. A new longer Lexus model, the TX, based on the recently introduced Toyota Grand Highlander, will fill that role.
Consumer Guide recently spent a week with the 2023 RX 350 F Sport AWD and was impressed with the latest example of Lexus’ midsize crossover. Our test car, fully equipped with gadgets like LED headlights, the aforementioned premium audio system and dashboard, costs $64,395.
Sometimes referred to by Lexus, mainly on its website as the RX 350 F Sports handling, the 350 F Sport, unlike the 500, doesn’t boast a power pump compared to its RX stablemates. Instead, the F Sport enjoys unique interior and exterior trim upgrades—and supposedly sporty—as well as a specially tuned version of the company’s Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) RX. Note that, perhaps because the drivers don’t bother them very often, the drive mode selector has been moved from the control panel to the touchscreen. This is kind of a hassle when you’re on the highway and want to switch from Sport to Comfort mode, an action some drivers may often do.
As for the powertrain, the new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine produces 275 horsepower and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The four makes less horsepower than the V6 it replaces, but torque is significantly higher and the net impact of the new powertrain seems negligible. That said, the powertrain isn’t as smooth as the smooth V6 setup, shifts too often at low speeds, and throttle input lags briefly when rolling from a stop. There’s really nothing wrong with the 4-cylinder powertrain, it’s just not as perfect as the old powertrain. On the plus side, the EPA’s combined fuel economy estimates for models with the 2.4-liter engine are up 2 mpg in 2023.
As we’ve noted before, even in the F Sport trim, most Lexus models aren’t exactly sporty, and the 2023 RX 350 F Sport is no exception. Our test car proved nimble enough, with responsive steering, plenty of power and efficient braking. This driver has no complaints, but know that the F Sport is not a direct competitor of the BMW M models, not the Mercedes-Benz AMG. That said, we wait with the desire to spend time with the RX 500h, which promises to be a lot of fun spending time with it.
Inside, the RX 350 is very much like the old RX, only better. The cabin is still an underrated luxury, and there’s plenty of adult space in both rows of seats. And, likely to please most regular Lexus customers, the old touchpad-style infotainment interface has been replaced with a conventional—and well-designed—touchscreen system— . I don’t hate the touchpad, but it seems like most others do. Now it has disappeared. Problem solved.
We were disappointed that several times during our review, our phones were suddenly disconnected from the infotainment system, which happened while playing music/podcasts. The only way we found to reconnect our devices was to shut down the car, restart it, and reconnect it.
And a big thank you to Lexus for not downplaying the desired convenience and safety features for expensive packages the way German luxury brands do. The Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 suite comes standard with virtually every such system available, including Traffic Sign Assist, adaptive cruise control, Cornering Speed Management, Survival Assist, and adaptive cruise control. at safety and Intuitive Parking Assist.
The new RX is more refined, efficient and technologically advanced than the car it replaces. While we (I will) miss the smooth old V6 engine, it’s hard to argue that this standard premium midsize crossover still isn’t the best in its class, especially when it comes to pricing. enter the equation. And even if it’s not really sporty, we appreciate the F Sport for its improved handling and aggressive styling.
Lexus RX 350 F Sport 2023
Click below to enlarge the image