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2015 Lexus RX 350 Overview
Those in the market for a luxury midsize crossover with a history of groundbreaking innovation ought to take a look at the 2015 Lexus RX 350 lineup. Entering its 16th year of production, this 5-seat package of posh totes all the comforts, gizmos, power and panache the well-heeled family could want in a premium mini-ute, with trims once more including the base RX 350 and the up-featured RX 350 F Sport. Again, the traditional 80.3 cubic feet of cargo space is offered with the rear seats folded, while a cavernous 40 cubic feet of schlepping area remains available behind the second-row seats for those instances when the whole gang comes along for the ride.
Some minor changes for the 2015 model year, meanwhile, include a standard 7-inch dashboard-mounted Display Audio System that doubles as a screen for the also new-for-2015 rear-view camera, while high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and LED fog lights are now standard in both trims. A new Cabernet leather interior is now optional in the F Sport, while brand new 5-spoke 19-inch wheels finished in a subdued gray are now optional lineup-wide. Finally, the remote touch interface knob for the available navigation system is tweaked a bit for this year, perhaps in response to historical complaints that the old interface has consistently been plagued with glitches.
Front-wheel drive (FWD) returns standard in the base RX 350, with full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. Said AWD configuration once again comes standard in the F Sport.
Also returning from 2014 is the solidly performing 3.5-liter V6 powerplant that in the base RX 350 mates with a standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission and, in the top-shelf F Sport, combines with a standard 8-speed shiftable automatic. No matter the gearbox, this peppy 6-banger puts out 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, good enough to tow up to 3,500 pounds of trailer with the optional trailer towing package installed. Mileage numbers, by the way, remain 18 mpg city/25 highway in the FWD-equipped base trim, 18/24 in the base RX 350 with AWD and 18/26 in the F Sport.
As for amenities, look for the base trim to pack 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, reverse-tilt, heated power-adjustable mirrors and a rear spoiler outside, with cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and full power accessories adorning the inside. A universal remote garage door opener again comes standard, as do cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and dual-zone auto climate control. Oh, and leather, alloy and wood accents continue to add that upscale feel to the tolerably roomy cabin.
Techno-wise, the base RX 350 offers Lexus’ Bluetooth-integrated “enform” Safety Connect emergency communications and roadside assistance, as well as a 6-CD player with 9 speakers, satellite radio and auxiliary audio input, all integrated into the aforementioned new dashboard display.
The F Sport, meantime, adds a standard power sunroof and 19-inch painted alloy wheels, along with leather upholstery, upgraded cabin accents, heated front seats, memory for driver's settings and an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler.
Options, in addition to those available add-ons described earlier, include remote engine start, front and rear parking sensors, rear-seat DVD entertainment and a 330-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system boasting 15 speakers.
Again, the 2015 RX 350 comes loaded with standard safety features, including the usual antilock braking system (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front and rear side-mounted airbags, and active front headrests. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors, daytime running lights and the new LED fog lights complement a post-collision safety system, while a remote antitheft alarm can be bolstered with an optional glass breakage sensor. Adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking, meantime, also remains available to both trims.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.