The Lexus RX350 shows why it’s so popular
Recently I had the opportunity to spend time with the best-selling vehicle from Lexus – the RX350 luxury SUV. Since its introduction in 1998, the Lexus RX has been a top seller for the premium Toyota division. Good ride, excellent build quality, decent price – year after year Americans seem to fall for the RX like a fish to water. Now in the middle of its fourth generation, the 2020 RX350 receives a handful of minor changes to keep it fresh and on top of the market it seems to dominate.
It’s hard to trace the styling of the current RX350 back to its original model as today’s RX350 has gained some muscle in an attempt to attract more male buyers. The current RX incorporates the Lexus “spindle” grille” as well as a floating roof design, both of which keep the design of the RX fresh and in line with the Lexus L-Finesse theme.
For 2020, Lexus changed up the front even more. The spindle grille has a more complete pattern than before and the bumper has a new design, as well as new (optional) LED headlights. Other external changes include new wheel designs as well as paint colors.
Just as it has been since day one, the RX continues to be a five-passenger mid size luxury crossover vehicle – although if a third-row is a must, you can opt for the RX350 L, which adds a little more than 5 inches to the back of the vehicle so that it can accommodate a 3rd row.
The RX that Lexus had me in was the standard size, but was equipped with all-wheel drive as well as the attractive F Sport package. Going with the F Sport package adds 20-inch wheels, a stiffer suspension, enhanced engine sound, paddle shifters, unique gauges, heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery and unique interior trim. The F Sport package is available in both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive RXs.
But most like the RX for its luxury and it doesn’t disappoint – with acres of leather and fine trim placed throughout the cabin. If you do want to put the RX350 to work, there is about 18.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the back seat. Fold the 40/20/40 split folding seatback down (or as down as it will go – it doesn’t go completely flat) cargo space expands to about 56 cubic feet. That’s on the small side in this class – seems there is a price to pay for the RX’s floating roof styling.
As the name implies, the RX350 is powered by a 3.5 liter V6. Making 295 hp this engine is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive being an option. While other markets get a turbo four-cylinder option, that option is not available here.
When it comes to safety, the RX350 is hard to be beat. It comes standard with 10 airbags as well as the Lexus Safety System which includes a Pre-Collision with pedestrian detection. Also included in this system is a radar cruise control and a lane departure system.
On the road it should come as no surprise that the RX delivers a serene driving experience. The ride is a little stiffer with the F Sport package, but for the most part, it still delivers a very smooth and quiet drive – in that typical Lexus tradition.
For over 20 years now, the Lexus RX has been a best-seller. And it’s easy to see why. Good looks, safe, and equipped with a luxurious cabin along with the Lexus reputation of dependability and quality makes it hard to look past the RX350.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Lexus RX 350 AWD F Sport
Base Price: $51,750.00
Price as Tested: $61,270.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5 liter V6
Transmission: 8 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 295 hp
Torque: 268 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 19 city / 26 highway
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