Test Driving The Lexus RX350 F Sport – It’s got F’ in Everything
I recently had the chance to spend a week with the Lexus RX350 F Sport and to see how it performed with my day to day life – it’s a pretty SUV that has heaps going on but I was keen to see what it was like to actually live with.
Lexus gave me one all dressed in white Nova; which gave a stark contrast to the rest of the Mid Sized SUV’s Black and chrome trim. It has an exterior that is all angular and arty and a face that is reminiscent of a storm trooper from Star Wars. The signature L mesh grille is massive and incredibly eye-catching especially with its satin finish and chrome plated lower spoiler but later; as I was driving in traffic and in close proximity to a truck in front of me (and in particular its protruding tow bar) I couldn’t help but wonder what the replacement cost of the grille would be – I am quite probably wrong but the grille does seem fragile and possibly a magnet for scuffs and cracks.
The rest of the body sits up high on its 20” alloys and with black trim accenting the wheel arches and sills it has an appearance of huge ground clearance (8.2” in reality). Lexus have ingeniously broken up Its C/D pillar with black ‘glass’ trim, it gives the SUV a sportier look and a ‘floating’ roof. The Lexus badge takes pride of place on the grille and tailgate, while there is a discrete F badge on the front wings.
The cabin is a bit more conformed, especially in comparison to the outside. The layout is modern but everything is more structured, less ‘Flow’ than some of their other models. Of course it’s loaded with hand stitched leather and chrome inlays, just what you’d expect from Lexus and despite having a CD player you still get a sense that it’s more than kept up with technology. The infotainment is accessed via an easy to use ‘mouse’ and there are plenty of settings to play with. Under the centre dash column there is a wireless charging area for your phone and (probably not coincidently) it’s the area that you’d instinctively choose to put your phone. The leather wheel features the Lexus badge in the centre with the F Sport badge at the bottom which brings me on to my main point, if you look around you start seeing F’s everywhere. At first I thought I was imagining it but thankfully I’m not going mad; they are subtle but they are in the trim, in the digital displays and even in the door cards (with the handles)!
There is plenty of leg room in the rear thanks to an additional 2 inches on the wheelbase and the sports seats up front have raised side bolsters to keep you in place when you start to put the SUV through its paces which brings me on to its powertrain. Under its nose is a 3.5L V6 engine that is happy to throw 221kW at you when the needle hits 6,300rpm, while its 370Nm of torque has made itself known way before then; kicking in at 4,600 rpm. Its 8 Speed Auto Box helps the SUV get down to 9.6L/100k’s which in my mind is not too shabby for this size of vehicle.
The ride is comfortable but rigid, higher speed cornering is assisted with the SUV’s G AI-Shift system that uses info from the G force sensor to downshift for optimum performance. It has Adaptive cruise control for the long(er) drives and cameras and sensors throughout for the city. It has an automatic park brake function which is cool to use but it is something that I still struggle with – sitting in gridlocked traffic with the engine in gear and just the electronic park brake (that can be deactivated with the touch of the accelerator) being the difference between you and an insurance claim is unnerving – must trust technology.
Grocery shopping is made simpler with the RX, a wave of the hand over the Lexus emblem on the tailgate has it opening wide for loading and standing close to the SUV (with keys in your pocket) will unlock all the doors – great for those rainy days.
So after spending a week in our family I can say that with its arty style, raft of technology, grunty engine, class leading safety, analogue clock and F badges the RX350F Sport really does have F’in everything.