2016 Lexus RX350: Just What the Doctor Ordered
For the past twenty years the Lexus RX350 has set the tone for mid-size luxury SUVs. With the 2016 model being totally restyled inside and out, you might have been expecting more of the same – but you’d be wrong.
Sleek lines, a low roofline, and distinctive wide monster grille give the new RX350 a look that sets it apart in this station-wagon-SUV segment. With an angular grille, creased door panels and “floating” rear roof pillars, Lexus’ franchise model doesn’t beg for your attention – it demands it.
For 2016, the RX 350 has been stretched by about two inches between the front and rear wheels and about four inches in total length. That’s good news for passengers who are treated to a cabin with additional rear-seat space and a larger stowage area for their stuff. The F Sport model comes with real leather seats, AWD, paddle shifters, variable suspension settings and 20-inch wheels.
All RX350s come with the same silky 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing and are linked to an 8-speed automatic. Only the hybrid models, RX450h, feature a different power plant. That’s a V6 combined with hybrid electric power to create 308 horsepower and boost fuel mileage from a moderate 19 mpg city and 26 highway in the test model to 28 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
There’s no disappointment with the power. The V6 creates 295 horses (up from 270 last year) and feels strong, and shifts are smooth and precise. Handling also is fairly precise, and the Sport F gives you a button on the console to go from Normal to Sport or Sport+ mode, each firming the steering and ride and giving you more aggressive shift points.
All-wheel-drive is standard for both gasoline and hybrid RX models. Its electronically controlled system can vary the torque between the front and rear wheels, as well as from side to side, if necessary.
Options include a continuously variable suspension that instantly adjusts to road and driving conditions, additional instrumentation, sport bucket seats, blacked-out grille and unique 10-spoke 20-in. wheels.
For folks enamored with the Lexus’ snazzy looks, a base model with front-wheel drive starts at $42,840, including delivery, while an AWD model lists at $44,240 with delivery. Those come with 18-inch tires. The test crossover also added a sunroof for $1,100, a color heads-up display for $600, plus a blind-spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and panoramic view monitor for $1,300. With a few other goodies added the test vehicle settles at $56,845.
There’s no denying this classic Lexus is bigger, badder, and more beautiful than ever. Come by Lexus of Highland Park to get your prescription for the 2016 Lexus RX350.