Lexus was the first automaker to introduce a luxury crossover with the Lexus RX in 1998, and proving that the early bird gets the worm, this crossover has been the best selling luxury crossover/SUV in the U.S. ever since. Over the last 20 years, every luxury automaker (including the likes of Maserati and Porsche) have introduced crossovers, but the RX has remained on top. The RX was completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, and to keep ahead of its rivals, Lexus added even more content to the 2017 Lexus RX 350.
2017 Lexus RX 350 Exterior:
Since its debut, the Lexus RX has maintained a conservative styling, but the recent redesign leaves the 2017 Lexus RX 350 with a bold, aggressive and in-your-face appearance. The all-new RX is longer and wider than its predecessor, and it is an excellent interpretation of Lexus’ current (and sometimes polarizing) design language. The signature spindle grille gets the most attention on this design, but other key elements include the narrow headlight with LED daytime running lights, dual exhaust outlets with a matte metallic finish and the blacked-out portion of the C-pillar that gives the RX a floating roof look. Altogether, this is, by far, the most expressive look yet for the RX.
Taking things a step further, this tester was also equipped with triple-beam LED headlights ($1,615) and 20-inch alloy wheels. Of course, if this design isn’t enough for you, there’s also the F Sport package, which is now available on FWD and AWD models.
2017 Lexus RX 350 Interior:
One area that Lexus has always excelled in is its classy, contemporary interiors, and the 2017 Lexus RX 350 is more of the same. This particular example had a beautiful two-tone leather interior with red accent stitching, metallic trim and matte-finished wood trim ($400). The lines of the interior components are nice and all, but the quality of materials used on every surface is commendable. In terms of technology, it’s impossible to miss the massive, 12.3-inch screen that comes with the high-priced ($2,120) navigation/Entune system. This system might be expensive for a navigation/infotainment system, but it is well worth the money and offers an easy user experience thanks to the Remote Touch controller found on the center console. My favorite part about the RX 350’s interior is the rear seat belt reminder that lets the driver know if one of the rear-seat occupants (and specifically which one) isn’t buckled up.
The bigger dimensions of the fourth-gen RX means more space for passengers and their cargo, and the 2017 Lexus RX 350 had no problem loading up four passengers and a weekend’s worth of gear. The optional panoramic sunroof ($1,600) added to the passenger experience yet doesn’t limit headroom. For cargo needs, the RX can hold 18.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and up to 56.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat; the rear seats can conveniently fold flat using handles located in the cargo area.
2017 Lexus RX 350 Powertrain:
The “350” in the 2017 Lexus RX 350 designates the 3.5-liter V-6 that was introduced last year. This engine benefits from Toyota’s D-4S fuel injection system that combines port and direct injection allowing this V-6 to maximize power, torque and efficiency. Lexus says that this engine is its most powerful V-6 ever with 295 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. On top of that, this front-wheel drive tester returns EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. This engine is paired to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission helping the RX balance fuel economy and acceleration with an official 0-60 time of 7.7 seconds.
On the road, the 2017 Lexus RX 350 definitely rides like a Lexus with a smooth, quiet ride regardless of road or weather conditions. That being said, the new chassis and suspension tuning also allows the new RX 350 to feel more stable and corner confidently. Even the electric power steering has great responsiveness without the numb feedback that some of these systems suffer from.
2017 Lexus RX 350 Safety:
The biggest change made to the 2017 Lexus RX 350 is the addition of the Lexus Safety System+ as standard equipment on all models; this package was an option in 2016. Lexus Safety System+ brings advanced safety features such as Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Not surprisingly, the 2017 Lexus RX 350 achieves top safety ratings like the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2017 Lexus RX 350 Overall:
Despite an onslaught of competition, the 2017 Lexus RX 350 remains the most popular choice for luxury CUV/SUV buyers, and it doesn’t take much seat time to see why that’s the case. This RX has great style with an interior that is adorned with high-quality materials and the latest in cabin technology. The 2017 Lexus RX 350 starts at $43,120, while this well-equipped model carried a reasonable as-tested price of $54,249.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2017 Lexus RX today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.