2017 Lexus RX 350 Review

RX 350

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2017 Lexus RX 350 Overview

The Lexus RX was all-new for 2016, so there won’t be significant changes for the 2017 model year. The RX 350 is the base trim of the RX lineup, with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that provides 295 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque, paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is your only engine choice, unless you’re willing to spend a little more cash for the hybrid RX 450h, with 308 net hp. The RX350 has Variable Valve Timing that monitors engine speed, increasing torque at lower speeds for improved acceleration and boosting performance at higher speeds.

The RX's adaptive variable suspension can be altered with the touch of a dial to adjust the electronically controlled shock absorbers at each wheel to match the road surface, vehicle speed, or your driving preferences. The drive can be further tweaked with Drive Mode Select. Choose Sport S mode for stronger throttle response or Sport S+ mode to add in adjustments to the suspension that increase responsiveness. Everyday driving in Normal mode offers a balance between fuel efficiency and performance, while Eco mode focuses on adjusting climate, throttle, and engine power to achieve optimum fuel efficiency. Those who want the most performance-focused RX 350 can opt for the F Sport trim, with a sport-tuned suspension, LFA-inspired instrumentation, and F Sport styling inside and out.

Outside, you get aggressive styling with that big spindle grille. Love it or hate it, the grille is a signature of the Lexus brand and makes a bold statement. There are available triple-beam LED headlamps with a three-projector design. Swing around back and you’ll find L-shaped LED tail lamps. The LED lights last longer than conventional lightbulbs and brighten faster, making sure drivers behind you notice when you slow down. Adding an open feel to the interior is a retractable panoramic glass roof.

This is a luxury car, so it includes luxury amenities like an optional Mark Levinson premium Surround Sound audio system with 15 speakers carefully placed for optimum sound quality. There’s also an available 11.6-inch dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system that allows rear passengers to view two different video sources simultaneously. Control is through a single remote that lets you flip between media. It includes wireless headphones and an AC power outlet.

Lexus Enform Service Connect provides ready access to information about your vehicle. It’s accessible online or through a mobile app and gives you information on fuel level, mileage, and any maintenance needs. Lexus Enform Remote, another mobile app, connects with your car to remotely start the engine, lock and unlock doors, and even find it when you can’t remember where you parked. Lexus Enform Destination gives you 24-hour access to a live person who can help you locate a specific address or find a point of interest to guide you on your way.

And as convenience features go, the RX 350 has a touch-free power door that is one of the easiest to use we’ve ever encountered. You don’t have to wave your foot under the tailgate or stand there with the key fob in your pocked until the car realizes you’re there and opens the trunk. Instead, there’s a sensor in the rear door that recognizes you and pops open the tailgate. It’s right at the Lexus emblem and will work with your hand, shoulder, arm, or whatever you can easily hold in front of it.

The technology in the RX 350 isn’t solely about entertainment. There’s also Lexus Enform Safety Connect, which offers roadside assistance whenever and wherever you need it. Even if you’re involved in a collision and are unable to call for assistance, the system will do that for you and use your GPS location to direct help. The Lexus Safety System+ provides a suite of features designed to keep you safe on the road. It includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, intelligent high-beam headlamps, and lane-departure alert with steering assist. You have your choice of front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD), too, so winter weather is easier to conquer. There’s even a panoramic-view monitor that shows a bird’s-eye view of the car to help navigate narrow lots and tight parking spaces.

The 2017 Lexus RX is available at dealerships now. Pricing starts at $43,020 for FWD and $44,420 for the AWD trim. The F Sport starts at $48,920 with FWD and $50,320 with AWD.

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Nicole Wakelin's passion for cars started on the day she went for a ride in a bright red Ferrari as a teenager. She writes reviews and covers everything cars for CarGurus, The Boston Globe, BestRide, and Be Car Chic and blogs all things geek over at TotalFanGirl.

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