Need a midsize luxury crossover that also packs some practicality, a posh ride and plenty of cachet? Take a look at the 2012 Lexus RX 350. This family-friendly ute totes over 80 cubic feet of cargo (with the rear seats folded), proffers a pleasingly spacious cabin packing a ton of standard high-end features and sports a peppy V6 drivetrain.
Standard appearance and cabin amenities include a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and a generous helping of wood and alloy interior trim accents. Cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, dual-zone climate control, remote power door locks and power windows all come standard, as does a universal remote garage door opener. Entertainment, meanwhile, is provided by an MP3-capable 6-CD changer with 9 speakers, satellite radio and a USB connection. Finally, Lexus’ Enform-interfaced Safety Connect telecommunications is bolstered by standard Bluetooth hands-free technology.
Options for this top-shelf ute are decidedly package-heavy, with the Rear-Seat Entertainment System with Navigation Package being the most elaborate. This techno-heavy bundle includes a GPS-based navigation system, enhanced Bluetooth music-streaming capability, a rear-view camera and rear-seat DVD entertainment, all managed through the touted Remote Touch user-friendly dash-mounted display screen. The Luxury Package, meantime, throws in leather-trimmed upholstery, driver memory settings, a side-view camera and a power liftgate, while the Sports Package adds 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and some added traction with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system. Finally, the Towing Prep Package boasts heavy-duty transmission cooling and a beefed-up alternator, the new Appearance Package boasts 19-inch alloy wheels and black-on-black headlight bezels and the Comfort Package offers heated front seats, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
Standalone options, by the way, include 19-inch aluminum wheels, remote engine start, a head-up display, heated front seats and a kickin’ 12-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
Powering this suitable ute is a variable-valve-timed 3.5-liter V6 engine. Matched with the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, the six-banger puts out 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, good enough to tow up to 3,500 pounds with the proper equipment. The 2012 RX 350 Base is front-wheel-drive (FWD) only, thus gas mileage is estimated at 18 mpg city/25 highway. Meanwhile, this year Lexus has tweaked the V6 to burn cheaper 87-octane regular unleaded gas, with only a marginal decrease in performance.
Standard safety features aboard the 2012 RX 350 Base include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head-restraint whiplash protection. Additionally, this top-shelf crossover boasts standard daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.
Finally, available radar-interfaced dynamic cruise control is bolstered by a pre-collision braking system aboard this high-end ute, while Intuitive Parking Assist and a sensor monitoring glass breakage are also optional.