2014 Lexus RX 350 is the latest iteration of the
luxury SUV introduced in 1998.
introduced the first luxury crossover, the RX 300, in
1998 at the North American International Auto Show in
then, the best-selling RX has been redesigned, updated
and relabeled — RX 330 in 2003, reflecting the
larger-displacement engine, and RX 350 in 2007 when a
3.5-liter V-6 engine was added.
2010, changes included bigger standard wheels (18-inch
versus 17-inch), bigger brakes, more air bags, new
six-speed transmission, mouse-style controller for
on-screen functions, and a keyless ignition.
second-generation 2003 Lexus RX 330 became the first
Lexus built outside Japan at an assembly plant in
2014, the RX 350 brings a pre-collision braking
technology and forward collision warning; a 115-volt AC
power outlet for the Luxury and F-Sport models; optional
Siri Eyes Free mode for the infotainment system; and
Ultra White exterior for the F-Sport trim.
RX 350 comes in three trims — front-wheel drive (my
tester), all-wheel drive and all-wheel drive F-Sport —
priced from $39,760-$47,450, all with a 270-horsepower,
3.5-liter V-6 engine. There are also two
gasoline-electric hybrid versions, called the RX 450h,
ranging from $46,410-$47,810.
has an eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the
six-speed on the other models. My six-speed RX 350 had a
"snow mode" setting, which I didn’t need, as
the "Blizzards of 2014" had (temporarily)
RX 350s are EPA-rated for at least 18 mpg in the city,
with the front-wheel drive rated for 25 on the highway,
the all-wheel drive 24 highway, and the F-Sport
all-wheel drive 26 highway. My RX 350 averaged 20.8 mpg
with mostly local driving, using cruise control whenever
RX 350 was Deep Sea Mica, an almost-black blue, with
parchment leather interior, trimmed in espresso bird’s
eye maple, riding on 18-inch painted five-spoke alloy
wheels. There are nine available RX 350 exteriors and
eight interior combinations with either ebony or
espresso bird’s eye maple.
Premium Leather Package included a blind-spot monitor,
one-touch open-and-close moon roof, power-folding heated
outside mirrors, driver’s seat/steering wheel/mirror
memory with three settings, and roof rails.
tester had a navigation system with voice command, which
included a backup camera and eight-inch display; Lexus
Enform, with destination assist and eDestination;
SiriusXM traffic, weather, sports, stocks, and fuel
prices; and subscription-free Enform App Suite.
Connect is standard on the RX 350 and includes automatic
collision notification; stolen-vehicle location;
emergency-assist button (SOS, located on the headliner
away from other buttons to help avoid accidental
activation while trying to turn on the reading light or
open the moon roof); and enhanced roadside assistance.
display screen sits high on the dash and has a deep
overhang, which helps to cut down on reflected glare and
makes the screen easier to see. The mouse-style
controller sits near the front of the center console,
where the driver’s hand can rest comfortably on the
addition to navigation and the apps suite (includes Bing,
iHeart Radio, OpenTable, Pandora, Facebook Places and
more), the controller/display screen are used for
fuel-consumption information, audio functions, Lexus
Insider (provides occasional audio messages from Lexus
to your navigation system, consisting of tips on using
Lexus vehicle technologies and providing travel
highlights, recommendations and exclusive owner
benefits), climate and Bluetooth services.
climate and audio functions may also be controlled using
old-school buttons and knobs. Controls for phone, audio
and information displays are also located on the
Control allows Bluetooth-enabled phone calls plus
climate, audio, and navigation control using everyday
speech. Siri Eyes Free mode allows texting, emailing and
more without using your hands.
the Fuel Guide, the operator (or co-pilot/passenger) can
search by price/grade/brand/distance and, after making a
selection, display directions on the navigation screen.
shows up-to-date traffic conditions such as speed,
estimated travel time and detour information to avoid
continuously updates local weather reports, including
severe weather alerts and three-day forecasts for a
Sports and Stocks apps bring access to game schedules,
scores and team news and/or customized stock quotes and
these reviews, I program the navigation system, which
also gives insight into the other functions/folders.
With a few exceptions, programming and following
directions was relatively easy, although time-consuming
as I had to click several times to access each function.
The default screen was a split screen showing a partial
map and another chosen function, requiring the operator
to click at least twice to get the full navigation
350’s shifter is at the bottom of the center stack,
where it doesn’t interfere with access to the
controller or to the two large cupholders, located out
of the way to the right of the controller, under a
wood-trimmed door. The driver also has a pop-out dash
cupholder to the left of the steering wheel.
armrest opens on a large bi-level cubby with USB and
auxiliary ports and a removable tray. The glove box is
wide and deep, with a shelf for the large owner’s
manual, and the door opens almost flat (think fast-food
tray). There is a large open space under the front
console with ridges, raised edges and an outlet, handy
for my purse and phone charger.
12-speaker Premium Audio Package (included) with DVD/CD
and HD radio with iTunes tagging provides remarkable
sound, due to the careful placement and angle of every
speaker. HD radio improves the reception on AM stations
and provides CD-quality sound on FM stations. Satellite
radio is included, with a 90-day free trial. The audio
system also provides USB, iPod and MP3 control.
cargo capacity of the RX 350 is flexible, from 40 cubic
feet behind the rear seat to 80.3 cubic feet with the
rear seat folded flat. The cargo area is easy to access
through the power rear door, raised or lowered using a
switch inside the vehicle or the remote SmartAccess key
seatbacks fold and recline in a 40/20/40 configuration
using handles on the side of the seat cushion or on
either side of the cargo compartment, and the seats
slide fore and aft using a lever on the seat front.
middle seat is fairly comfortable, with a flat floor and
reclining seatback. The seatback drops down for a center
armrest with a large covered storage tray and two
flexible cupholders under a wood-trimmed pop-up door.
RX 350 was agile and as easy to handle as a luxury
sedan, with a unique double-wishbone rear suspension and
fully independent MacPherson strut front suspension.
extras on my vehicle included intuitive parking assist,
a cargo mat, a cargo net, and wheel locks.
LEXUS RX 350:
as tested: $46,040
exclude destination charge.