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2013 Lexus RX350 FWD Review – Great Choice for the Conservative Consumer

Posted by on July 2, 2013 in New Cars, Reviews - No comments

The 2013 Lexus RX350 is a luxurious and premium feeling car, but can leave the thrill seekers looking for more as per its reserved character.

When you think of a Lexus, you might conjure up an image of an older guy in the right lane on the freeway, cautiously watching for some mysterious obstacle that hes sure is going to show up. Lexus has been one of the leading brands in the older and middle ages audiences, and has embraced the stigma for years and years, with cars like the last generation GS350 and ES350, both of which cant be said to stand out in any of the segments, and are comfortably average in almost every respect, from performance to luxury and amenities.

white lexus rx350 in snowThe Lexus RX350 has a stereotype of its own, one of that Lexus has clearly done a great job at steering away from with the newest rendition of the affectionately monikered “soccer mom mobile”, with the introduction of the F-Sport line and a much more aggressive look to the car in general, starting from the elegant daylight running lamps in the front fascia to the sharp geometrical accents running through the side panels and the trunk. From an aesthetical point of view, the car is completely different; we’d go as far as to say that the car has progressed to a gorgeous vehicle for almost anyone looking to tote around some surfboards… or at least to comfortably androgynous.

Interior Fit and Finish

The technology in the full Lexus fleet has been upgraded by a multiple of at least 5… complete redesign of the dashboard, an overhaul of new technology, excellent access to key gauges such as the phone, radio and even a skin button that works with Pandora or Slacker radio on the steering wheel. The interior is intuitive and luxurious with high quality materials at any place that you will likely touch– there are some areas that have the cliche Toyota/Lexus cheap hard plastic, but that can be excused in light of the majority of vast, high quality materials in the interior. Some of the highlights of the new interior include a standard 8″ display with Bluetooth and USB connectivity (in our testing the iPhone synced very well and effortlessly), push start/stop engine, universal HomeLink for garages, gate and home security and backup camera. The simplicity and the beauty of the dashboard is very eye catching and is a vast upgrade from the previous generation Lexus RX350 that has since been replaced since late 2012 with the debut of the brand new RX.

rx350 interior lexusThe seating is one of the best in class, if not the best; comfort is excellent, seating position is great, and the adjustable controls (with 3 memory settings) can truly allow for any size person to be comfortable in the car and feel at home at the adjustable steering wheel (which is also driver memory based). Rear seat room is competitive with the other cars in the class such as the Audi Q5 and Infiniti FX35, and the trunk space is vast. The rear lift-gate is power controlled and is easy to operate, with relatively quick open and close operations. Both of the side rear seats allow for car seat connectivity, or when used by adults, an excellent center console can be pulled down from the center seat that makes for a very luxurious and comfortable rear row suitable for a long road trip that would not cause fatigue or back pain. Overall, the interior of the new RX350 is extremely competitive and is one of the best in class as far as design and functionality go.

Performance and Efficiency

rx350 dashboardOne of the weaknesses of all Lexus cars across the board is a lack of power compared to some of the domestic and foreign competitors  that are priced competitively, in some cases within a couple hundred dollars like the Infiniti or the Cadillac. Lexus has used the same v6 engine found in a few cars such as Toyota Camry v6, Toyota Highlander, 2012 Toyota Rav4, Avalon, Lexus ES350 and RX350. Although the engine is semi capable, in the larger Lexus RX350 and suv’s, the engine can be slow to 60 and can be slightly cumbersome in on ramp acceleration and passing. The engine is also aging in efficiency and power delivery; many of the competitors are now using turbo charged 4 cylinder engines that produce similar horsepower to the currently implemented naturally aspirated v6. It should be noted that in a full throttle launch, the front tires experience torque steer and can veer off the mark, completely hindering an unprepared driver looking to pass a car or speed through an on-ramp– it can be almost dangerous to an unskilled or unprepared driver to do a full throttle acceleration in the FWD RX350.

Power delivery comes to the tune of the standard 270 @6200 RPM Horsepower and 248 ft lb Torque @4700 RPM in the FWD RX350. Fuel economy is an unimpressive 18/24 MPG for city and highway respectively and in our testing has yielded 15.6 MPG combined. It should be noted however that the test car was in Los Angeles in medium to heavy traffic and when used in more open situations the car yielded much better results.

Closing Notes

2013-lexus-rx350 interiorRoad noise is pronounced for a luxury car in this class, with wind noise that can be annoying at high way speeds from the A-pillars and side mirrors. The audio system is excellent in the standard trim and the upgraded system is a clear class leader. The seating is comfortable, ride is comfortable and fit and finish is excellent. Great choice for a family vehicle or for all of those soccer moms out there who do not want to be caught dead in a minivan. Overall, great choice and we highly recommend the 2013 Lexus RX350.



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