The Lexus RX has had a complete new design for the 2016 version.
To start with, the new 2016 Lexus RX 350 comes with a very large grille. Yet it also has enough designs and sharp curves to give you the feeling that the manufacturers choose the design phase to a sword-slashing car.
However, there are many other substantive changes that make this luxury crossover SUV more carlike and now more improved than before. First, there’s an increase in the 2016 RX 350’s wheelbase and overall length to create interior space for passengers, while at the same time raising the ride height and slimming out the roof line. The result thus is a very sleek and less SUV-like profile, yet you still have sufficient head- and leg room in both seating rows.
Up in front, the dashboard is lowered and the center control stack is more designed toward the driver (whose seat is a bit lowered too) and the improved materials and construction are completely first grade. Most RX brands available on a dealer lot will always have the Navigation package with its very large new 12.3-inch display, one of the largest available. This display comes installed with a revised, but still distracting-to-use Remote Touch controller that would require more driver attention than it should. In general, though, the new RX’s infotainment options have been significantly revised to the expectations of tech-savvy customers.
For power, the RX 350 has a state of the art 3.5-liter V6, but now it produces 25 more horsepower a total of 295 and comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission that aids boost fuel economy efficiency. The Lexus suspension has been returned to give better handling than other RX brands. The Lexus RX 350 F Sport particular, gives the goods, boastful sharper steering wheel than the previous version, plus an adaptive suspension that yields yet maintains an impressive control and a comfortable ride.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and features
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 is a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV available in two options; the regular and F Sport. The RX450h hybrid would however be reviewed separately.
Standard components of the RX 350 includes the 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights and running lights, rear privacy glass, a power lift gate, keyless ignition/ entry, selectable drive mode settings (alter steering, gas pedal sensitivity and transmission shift program), dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, superb power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, 40/20/40-split rear seat (reclining, sliding and folding), and the “NuLuxe” premium vinyl upholstery. There is also a rearview camera, “Safety Connect” emergency communications, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity option, the Display Audio tech interface (has a knob controller and an 8-inch display) plus a nine-speaker sound system and a CD player, satellite and HD radio, auxiliary audio jack, two USB ports and a media player interface.
The F Sport series is technically packaged with a sportier exterior styling, a 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, additional drive mode options,engine noise enhancer, transmission paddle shifters, special gauges, greatly heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery and special interior design.
Features are summed into packages or are stand-alone items. The prevalence of both may often depend on your location.
The Premium design package adds roof rails, automatic wipers, driver’s memory functions, leather upholstery, fine wooden trim and a rear armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package adds the Remote Touch electronics interface, a bigger 12.3-inch display, voice controls system, the Lexus Enform App Suite and a 12-speaker sound system.
The Luxury package has the Premium package items and includes a 20-inch wheels ( choice of color inserts), heated and ventilated front seats, also heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, four-way front seat lumbar adjustment, heated rear seats and power operation when folding and reclining the rear seatbacks. The Luxury package can be upgraded with a rear seat entertainment system, which is inclusive of two 11.6-inch angle-adjustable screens, a DVD player, an HDMI port and a 120-volt household-style volt outlet.
Options that require the Premium, Luxury or F Sport packages are a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic-view back-up camera and either a regular or panoramic sunroof. There’s also a the “Lexus’’ Safety System + package that include an adaptive cruise control and accident avoidance option.
Other options are front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free power lift gate, upgraded LED headlights (with 18 individual LED accent lights), a color head-up display, a heated steering wheel and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Powertrains and Verve
All the 2016 Lexus RX 350 is driven by a 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 295 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are all standard. All-wheel drive is purely optional but standard in F Sport brands.
In a certain front-drive RX 350 had the 0-60-mph sprint in 7.4 seconds, a little below-average time for a luxury car. towing capacity when properly equipped, is 3,500 pounds maximum.
Lexus expects EPA-estimated fuel economy is kept at 20 city/28 highway with front-wheel drive, and 22mpg combined that is 19/26 in all-wheel drive.
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 has standard with antilock brakes, superb traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is also a standard feature of LexusEnform Safety Connect, which is inclusive of an automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and a stolen vehicle location identify.
Optional safety options are inclusive of a blind spot warning system added with rear-cross traffic alert. The Lexus Safety System + (only in Premium, Luxury or F Sport package) includes adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane departure intervention.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RX the rating of good in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests, and still a “Good” rating in the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
With its lower seating position and driver-focused dashboard design, the 2016 Lexus RX 350 is palpably more carlike than its predecessors. But rest assured, you still get that elevated view of the surroundings that makes crossovers so popular. The overall design is also visually appealing (especially in the available two-tone color schemes), while the quality of materials and construction has been elevated to the same level as most upper-crust competitors (and above that of the Acura MDX).
There’s plenty of headroom in the cabin despite the more radically raked roof line, even if some may find it a tad claustrophobic compared to some competitors (especially the airy Volvo XC90). The sliding and reclining backseat is wide and comfortable, with abundant legroom for even tall occupants, while further benefiting from optional power adjustment. The front seats seemed supportive during our initial test-drives, though larger drivers may find the F Sport model’s sport seats too confining.
Cargo capacity leaves something to be desired. With that radically raked roof line, there’s not much space above the cargo cover, meaning bulkier items are less likely to fit. Furthermore, the 40/20/40-split rear seatback doesn’t quite fold flat. Listed cargo capacity is 18.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 56.3 cubic feet with the seats folded. Lexus has changed the way it measures total capacity, so these numbers aren’t directly comparable to the previous RX, but suffice it to say that the new RX has less overall space than its competitors. There’s also the fact that the MDX and XC90 have an extra row of seats.
Another downside is the Remote Touch electronics interface. Its mini-joystick-like controller is superior to the irritating touch pad found in the Lexus NX and RC, but this interface still requires a distracting degree of dexterity and concentration to operate effectively. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Lexus bundles Remote Touch with the upgraded and truly sharp and impressive-looking 12.3-inch display.
Power is merely sufficient in the RX 350, whereas the acceleration of most competitors would be described as at least energetic. The nebulous response and inconsistent effort of the standard RX steering setup also leaves something to be desired, while the standard suspension tuning doesn’t instill the same level of confidence and control provided by most rivals. This RX is dynamically better than before, and certainly plenty comfortable and supremely quiet, but that’s about as far as the platitudes go.
The exception, though, is the RX 350 F Sport. It doesn’t do anything for the engine apart from piping extra noise into the cabin, but the rest of the dynamic package is greatly improved. The steering is more consistent in its weighting, even when switched into one of two Sport modes. It’s the F Sport’s adaptive suspension, though, that makes it the best of the RX bunch. Never mind the handling improvements. The main benefit is that the RX’s body is more controlled when driving over bumps, yet the ride remains genuinely comfortable. We were surprised to find that it was perfectly pleasant even in the suspension’s firmest, Sport S+ setting. Really, the F Sport feels “just right” and drives in a fashion similar to the MDX, if not quite the BMW X5.