2016 Lexus RX 350 reigns supreme

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2016

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By David Goodspeed
Special Contributor
autoworlddavid@yahoo.com

Sometimes automakers have to be careful with their own success.
Take the RX for example, a vehicle that defined a new segment when it
launched more than 17 years ago. That was the birth of the luxury
utility vehicle and since then many have tried to dethrone the king.
Does Lexus still reign supreme with the 2016 RX 350?
For its 2016 model RX, Lexus went back to the drawing board and
has delivered an all-new midsize luxury ute for the masses. This
fourth-generation vehicle brings more aggressive styling while not
forgetting the comfort and amenities that got it here.
In my week behind the wheel of the newest RX 350 I found many to
be polarized by the edgier look of the new Lexus family of vehicles.
One thing that was undeniable however is Lexus’ ability to deliver an
overall solid performer.
The 2016 RX lineup still features gasoline 350 models in front-
and AWD (where W stands for weather instead of wheel) and hybrid 450h
gas/electric variant.
All new RX models can be ordered with the F Sport package as
well. Our tester was a “base” model RX 350 but with Lexus the term
“base” is relative. The vehicle arrives with nearly every amenity or
creature comfort feature one could wish for and at the end of the week
we wanted for almost nothing else.
Charting the changes for the 2016 model are proportions that see
higher body panels and lower roofline for a more athletic look.
Occupants sit a bit higher for a more commanding presence on the road
and it feels as if Lexus added a ton of interior space inside the new
model.
Overall length has increased 4.7 inches with a longer wheelbase
and ground clearance has increased nearly an inch. Wheel positions
have been move forward and the spindle grille styling is even more
aggressive in the new RX.
The powertrain in the RX 350 consists of a nicely responsive
295hp direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers 267 lb. ft.
of torque. It is mated to a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission
with fuel economy rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Drivers can select one of three driving modes in the RX between
Eco, Normal, or Sport, and manual shifting is available via the
steering wheel paddle shifters.
While we played with the various drive modes we found nearly all
our needs met in Normal mode, even when the urge struck for more
aggressiveness.
Slipping inside the new RX the first thing you notice is the
billboard across the top center dash. This is the infotainment display
and it is huge – 12.3 inches wide to be exact. Enough real estate to
work as dual displays providing more than enough information for
drivers and occupants between audio, navigation, climate, and other
vehicle systems.
A controller in the center console allows the driver to
“navigate” their way across the expanse of this display screen.
The new RX also features a new color heads-up display for
drivers, putting vital information higher in the sightline for safer
driving.
Thanks to the new dimensions, the 2016 RX features more rear seat
legroom and more cargo space as well. Five occupants can ride in full
luxury and the flat rear seat floor allows for more comfort for center
passengers.
Lexus interiors are some of the nicest around and the new RX is
no exception. Leather is everywhere and craftsmanship is obvious, some
may find themselves taking the long way to their destinations just to
enjoy the RX experience a little bit longer.
Pricing for the 2016 Lexus RX begins at $41,900 with our tester
arriving with a final sticker of $54,025 thanks to quite a few add-ons
(panoramic sunroof, Mark Levinson premium audio system, intuitive
parking assist, touch-free power rear door, premium content package,
Lexus Safety System+, etc.).
Lexus created this segment and has enjoyed absolute success in
it. This fourth-generation RX is destined to bring continued success
to the automaker and not just because RX clients are very loyal. The
new model will attract new buyers thanks to its more aggressive
styling and driving experience as well its wide expanse of models
offered. Lexus RX is still the king.

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