As one of the first manufacturers to introduce a luxury crossover to the U.S. market, Lexus was able to not only define but to set the standard for those that followed. This was almost 20 years ago with the original Lexus RX300. With the changing times, however, come changing expectations and with that brings the 2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport. It combines luxury, utility and a bit of sport in an effort to lure people away from the competition and reset the bar on an entire class of vehicle.
2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport Exterior:
Redesigned for 2016, Lexus has seen fit to infuse a lot of aggression into the F Sport version of their mid-size crossover. A longer wheelbase means a greater road presence while the highly sculpted lines make your eyes dance from surface to surface. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot going on here. Every element of design stems from the new (and massive) chrome-trimmed black mesh grille that encompasses the front end. Flanked by tri-beam LED headlamps and recessed driving lights, it sets the stage for a body package that’s anything but subtle.
Sculpted fenders with sharp arches and black trim house new 20” F Sport alloy wheels wearing 235/55-series all-season Michelin rubber. Out back you’ll find a steeply raked rear hatch that employs a large roof spoiler, LED taillights and a blacked-out rear diffuser with twin-brushed exhaust ports. The design of this new RX is a far cry from the soft and suburban lines of the original, but times change, and with that comes a consumer that demands higher style and of course, more performance.
2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport Interior:
The exterior isn’t the only aspect of the RX350 F Sport that went through a redesign. Slimmed down and more refined, the interior of the new RX350 is a much nicer place to be than the previous generation. Gone is the bulky overgrown center console and dash that seemed to have consumed the cabin, and in its place is a more sophisticated layout that feels both upscale and sportier. A large 12.3” navigation screen dominates the upper portion of the dash, but it in no way feels out of place or oversized. Instead it offers clear access to such integrated systems as 3-D Navigation, climate and audio controls as well as a full-screen map. All functions are accessed via a center-mounted console mouse. There’s a bit of a learning curve here, but once mastered the interface works well. Steering wheel-enabled voice commands allows access to Bluetooth phone calls and everyday speech commands. Like the mouse, it’s a bit odd at first, but the more you use it the more you’ll become accustom to it.
Contrasting leather-covered sport seats offer great support and come equipped with heat and ventilation. The dash combines analog and digital technology, the cabin materials used are of high quality and there is plenty of room for five full-size adults. 60/40 split rear folding seats are also in place for enhanced storage capacity.
2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport Performance:
With a special 3-mode F Sport tuned suspension, a 295 hp V6 with direct-injection and all-wheel drive, Lexus has enhanced the RX350 F Sport to deliver a more performance-oriented driving experience. Push the throttle to the floor and the F Sport accelerates with briskly. 0-60 mph comes up in just under 8-seconds with mileage coming in at an EPA rated 26-mpg highway, 19-city and 22-mpg in combined driving**.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth with shifts being almost transparent. The adjustable suspension, when set in either in ECO, Normal or Sport S/S+ softens or stiffens road and steering feel at the turn of a dial. Taking the 2016 RX350 F Sport down some of my favorite back roads was an enjoyable experience. Operating the transmission via the steering wheel mounted paddle controls was also quite amusing. With a curb weight of 4,222-pounds and “only” 267 lb-ft of torque coming from the V6, I was expecting the F Sport to handle a bit like an old truck. To the contrary though, it lays flat in corners and thanks to all-wheel drive, inspires nothing but confidence, even when the weather goes south.
2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport Safety:
The Lexus Safety System + is the most comprehensive package ever offered by the manufacturer. It incorporates features like Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High-beam Headlamps, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Anti-lock brakes, Airbags throughout the cabin, a standard backup camera and rain sensing wipers.
2016 Lexus RX350 F Sport Overall:
With the redesign of the Lexus RX350 F Sport comes a crossover that lends itself to the sportier side of things. Its performance on twisty roads means fun when you want it, while a quiet cabin coddles you in luxury. Combine that with the safety and confidence of all-wheel drive and you’ve got a sport crossover that’s definitely worth looking at. Drop by your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $49,125.00 (sticker price $56,995.00) excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.