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Wearing a new front fascia for 2013, the RX350 now has a spindle-style grille that fits in with the rest of its' Lexus family. Also new but shared is the aggressive F Sport trim; more commonly seen on models like the Lexus IS sedan. Yet the entire RX lineup seems altogether sportier, in large part due to the front-end redesign that better incorporates the sheet metal’s defining line, which stretches from the headlights to taillights.
Other new 2013 additions are found on the standard equipment list, consisting of a power liftgate and iPod/USB interface. Lexus comfort is included in the ride quality, which feels responsive but not stiff. However, this smooth ride is lost on the F Sport trim as it receives a performance-tuned suspension much too rigid for the RX350’s powertrain.
Speaking of which, a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower powers both the base model and F Sport. Although, an eight-speed automatic transmission is equipped on the F Sport while base RX350s have a six-speed automatic. Furthermore, the F Sport is all-wheel drive only, unlike the base that offers front- or all-wheel drivetrains. With all-wheel drive equipped, the base RX gets 18/25 mpg city/highway, falling just short of the F Sport that delivers 19/25 mpg. An impressive cabin does not have a third-row yet provides a spacious rear-seat that even adults shouldn’t complain about. Plus the second-row is a 40/20/40 split-folding seat, not 60/40 like in other crossovers. This means if an RX owner is, say, loading four-passengers (including themselves) and a 6-foot 2x4, they can fold-flat the middle “20” section of the rear seat to fit the 2x4, and still have both of the comfortable bucket seats (“40” sections) for two rear-passengers.
Though once the horse everyone else was chasing, the rest of the auto industry has caught up to Lexus in terms of crossover development. Almost as popular as the RX, Acura’s MDX is the epitome of what’s desired in a crossover/SUV and is equipped with three-rows of seats for a seven-passenger capacity. Plus the MDX is a good performer though it could use a little more low-end torque. The Infiniti FX is a thrill to drive, especially with the available V8 engine yet it has an uncomfortable interior when compared to the Lexus. Diesel power/efficiency is offered in the cramped Volkswagen Touareg while off-road prowess comes with a gas-guzzling engine in the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
The Lexus RX helped introduce the world to car-based SUVs and remains relentless in pushing the segment forward.
Being a Lexus base model, the RX350 is outfitted with plenty of features. A Smart Access key is included with push-button start and touch sensors on the exterior’s two front-door handles. Dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch power windows and a powered tilt/telescopic steering column are found in the interior. Also inside is a nine-speaker premium audio system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer. The optional Sport Appearance Package gives the base model a F Sport look by borrowing the wheels and front bumper from the pricier trim. An available Comfort Package equips heated/ventilated front seats, HID headlamps and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Also available is the Luxury Package, which includes semi-aniline leather seating, LED-illuminated doorsills and headlamp washers.
Though technically not faster, the F Sport has a more aggressive appearance than the base model thanks to 19-inch graphite-finish wheels, a special front bumper with upper/lower grille inserts, and the F Sport badge. Upgrading the interior is a black leather trim with white perforations, a black headliner, and paddle-shifters. The standard equipment of the F Sport trim lists features such as the Comfort Package and Premium Package. Optional for the base model, Premium Package equipment includes perforated leather, memory settings for the powered driver’s seat and a rear-armrest storage compartment. Other Premium additions are a power tilt/slide moonroof, roof rails and heated mirrors. For buyers with safety on the mind, the Premium Package is also offered with an optional blind spot monitoring system.
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|Build & Price|
Poor acceleration but seats seven passengers in comfort.
Athletic performance but not the best people/cargo-hauler.
Offers on- and off-road capability but undesirable fuel-mileage too.
Efficient and powerful diesel-engine option but a small cargo area.