2018 Lexus RX 350

Test Drive: 2018 Lexus RX 350

If you are looking for bold styling in your midsized crossover, look no further than the 2018 Lexus RX.

It grabs your attention the second you set your eyes on it, especially the large – very large – spindle grille up front, a Lexus signature.

Couple that with the Matador Red Mica paint on our tester, and it will be hard for you not to get noticed driving around town.

Now in it’s fourth generation, the RX is offered in several variants, and now includes longer RX L models with three rows of seats.

We got behind the wheel of the five-seat RX 350, which has a starting price of $56,500, jumping quickly when the optional F Sport Series 3 package is added.

That costs $13,250 and adds vehicle dynamics integrated management, 3-Spoke F SPORT steering wheel, steering wheel paddle shifters, adaptive variable air suspension, 20-inch F SPORT alloy wheels and automatic air recirculation control.

Under the hood of the RX 350, you will find a peppy 3.5-litre V6 engine, which is paired to a very smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Power from the engine is rated at 295 horsepower and 267 ft-lb of torque, which translate into some spirited drive when called upon.

Fuel economy is rated at a combined average of 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres, but unfortunately our test didn’t come close to matching that.

Our average worked out to 12.8 L/100 km, and that’s burning premium fuel.

Also, premium is the exterior styling of the RX 350, which is quite shapely.

Once you look past the spindle grille – if you can take your eyes off it – you will see some crisp bends in the body panels that enhance the sportiness of the RX.

From the side, the design is supposed to evoke a floating roof look thanks to the apparent lack of a rear pillar behind the passenger doors.

The swooping nature of this design element also gives the RX an elongated feel.

The rear features dual exhausts embedded in the lower fascia, and the rear wheel haunches further enhance the RX’s stance.

And the optional 20-inch wheels cap off the exterior look quite nicely.

Inside the RX, the cabin is a welcoming place.

The tester had an all-black interior, but there are some other choices for the RX, including a red interior.

Despite the blackness, the cabin never felt cramped or dark.

The materials are a good quality, and the fit and finish is on point for what you would expect in a luxury crossover.

There’s a decent amount of legroom for rear passengers, and cargo space behind the rear seats is 24.5 cubic feet, increasing as needed thanks to the 60/40-split rear seat – to a maximum of 55.8 cubic feet.

The centre stack, which is fairly wide, is topped by large landscape-style display screen and the buttons for the audio system and ventilation system are neatly organized.

The driver benefits from a heated steering wheel for those cold winter mornings, as well as steering-wheel mounted audio controls, which could limit the urge to reach for the mouse in the centre console to input commands. It can be somewhat infuriating at times, but is better than in the past.

Making up for that is the sweet 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio system that comes with the optional package on our tester.

The infotainment system, while on the whole a decent offering, could use an update – and the discontinuation of the mouse in favour of a touch screen.

Behind the wheel, the driver quickly forgets about the infotainment system thanks to an enjoyable drive.

There are five different settings to select for the RX 350: Normal, eco, custom, sport s and sport s+.

With normal the default setting, much of your driving time will be spent in it, which is just fine for most conditions and situations.

If you want to improve your fuel consumption, switch to eco, but for more fun, the Sport S and Sport S+ settings are for you.

Even in normal mode, the RX 350 is quick and it does a good job of handling rough roads while keeping a quiet cabin. Overall, the ride is quite pleasant.

The Lexus RX, in whatever form you select, offers styling, power and comfort for all.

2018 Lexus RX 350
Price as tested: $71,921.25
Freight: $2,045.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.5-litre V6/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 295 horsepower/ 267 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (72.5 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 10.7 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 12.8 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKX, Acura RDX

Related links:
Lexus Canada

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