A LOAD OF LUXURY: Lexus lavishes on the indulgences with highly stylized 2016 RX 350
It’s all new, this 2016 Lexus RX 350.
In Lexus land, that means, in addition to overall improvements, an all-new version of the marque’s (in)famous “spindle” grille. And that usually means an even larger, more dramatic version of said grille. And that’s what the 2016 RX got.
2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport
VEHICLE TYPE:Four-door, five-passenger luxury SUV
PRICE AS TESTED:$56,995 (incl. delivery fees)
POWERTRAIN:3.5-liter, DOHC V-6; 295 horsepower; 267 lb.-ft. torque; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
CURB WEIGHT:4,222 pounds
EPA FUEL RATING:19 mpg city/26 highway (regular unleaded)
It’s an acquired taste, for sure. In this latest application, it gives the front end a rather angry look. If it scares you, avert your gaze. After all, you can’t see it from behind the wheel, and that is a pretty fabulous place to spend some time.
The redesigned cabin, like the entire vehicle, is larger thanks to an extended wheelbase. That equates into more room for five occupants, with even more generous head- and legroom than the previous model.
It would be difficult not to get comfortable in this luxury-loaded interior. Materials and workmanship are better than ever, hard to believe considering the already-superb quality of the previous version.
Our F Sport-model tester boasted upgraded leather upholstery on sport buckets up front, heated and ventilated, of course. Satiny aluminum dresses up the pedals, shift knob and dash gauges.
With the navigation package comes a massive, 12-inch display screen dominating the top of the dash, operable through a joy stick-type controller on the console. While the large nav maps are easily read, the little controller is overly sensitive, making it too easy to overshoot the icon you’re trying to activate and requiring too much eye time away from the road.
The F Sport also brings a performance-tuned adaptive suspension system that delivers a near-perfect combination of well-controlled handling and smooth highway ride. Sharper steering also adds to driver confidence.
The RX is powered by an improved 3.5-liter V-6 delivering 25 more horsepower (up to 295) than before. Paired with a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, acceleration is quite acceptable, but not necessarily thrilling.
Lexus lavishes nearly every convenience, safety and tech feature into the RX, particularly at the F Sport model level. Its sharp-edged new styling might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the fabulous interior, excellent on-road manners and smooth power delivery can more than assuage any lingering doubts about the radical exterior.
All in all, most likely another home run for Lexus.