AUTO REVIEW: 2017 Lexus RX 350 F Sport pushes the envelope for luxury SUVsSep 22nd, 2017
Vehicle: 2017 Lexus RX 350 F Sport
Price as tested: $58,760
Best feature: Bold design, sporty drive
Rating: 4 out of five stars
Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers who want something a bit bolder than the alternatives
Lexus’ lineup has become increasingly bold-looking in recent years, particularly up front in their grille designs. But does the drive offer that same bold feel?
If you’re talking about the F Sport models they offer, absolutely. I recently tested a 2017 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, which isn’t your typical grocery-getter luxury midsize SUV, and I’m back with a full report.
Inside, the looks are typical for Lexus — lots of refined, comfy, high-end materials, plus the extra wide, multi-paneled infotainment system screen to greet you.
Outside though is where things get interesting on the RX. It’s a bold and aggressive design for a luxury SUV, by any measure — even moreso on the F Sport version — and puts out a strong attitude before you even step in the vehicle. It’s a bold contrast against more stodgy SUV designs you’ll see from German automakers like Audi, Benz and BMW. And sales of the RX show that this type of bold design is a hit with the public.
Inside the RX is still cozy, with a heated leather steering wheel, but the seat itself was at times not comfortable due to its crunched sport setup.
The F Sport package is what stands out here too, including:
• 20-inch F Sport aluminum alloy wheels
• F Sport tuned suspension with front and rear performance dampers
• F Sport exclusive aluminum pedals
• F Sport unique exterior trim
• Chrome dual exhaust
This package not only affects the looks, but makes for a more engaging drive.
Under the hood on the 2017 Lexus RX F Sport is a 3.5-liter, V6 engine; paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission (also included are paddle shifters).
The output is 295 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque. Both the F Sport and standard RX models are available in either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive.
You have a driver select mode to decide how you want the car to handle. Upgrading to Sport and Sport+ are instantly noticeable in the performance of the vehicle.
Simply put, the F Sport variant of the Lexus RX is a bit more on the edge than your standard RX. Unlike a standard luxury SUV — with its smooth, family-friendly ride — this is is a bit louder at times, and a bit harsher in the transitions. It’s also much more fun to drive as you make your way around town and hopefully on the open road when you get a chance to go somewhere other than the supermarket.
The feel of the ride is a lot bolder than other luxury SUVs, which tend to be more smooth and less sporty. At times you won’t even remember it’s an SUV.
First let’s talk infotainment.
The RX continues to offer Lexus’ unique (and somewhat divisive) Remote Touch mousepad-like control setup. I’m not a huge fan, as it’s overly sensitive and hard to use, and I would much prefer a dial or some other simpler control than what is offered. The system does feature a large and easy-to-read color LCD display.
Beyond that, it’s all good on the safety and tech fronts. You get a ton of safety features on the RX, making it one of the most secure luxury vehicles available.
All RX models include a tire pressure monitor system, 10 airbags, antilock brakes,
LED fog lamps and tail lamps, auto on/off LED headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers.
You also get a 9-speaker audio system ($1,200 more gets an updated Premium audio setup); HD radio, Dual USB connections, and satellite radio free for three months., plus a backup camera is standard Other standard safety features include: Forward collision warning; auto emergency braking; lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
Optional safety features are:
• Blind Spot Monitor, Intuitive Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Automatic Braking and Panoramic View Monitor ($1,665)
• Color Heads-up display ($600)
• Panorama Moonroof ($1,600)
The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2017 Lexus RX 350 F Sport are 19 city/26 highway/22 combined; This is respectable in the segment, though it is beaten by some of the luxury competition.
My test vehicle came in at $58,760, and was a decked-out F Sport edition; base price of the non F Sport RX350 will cost you about $42K, and the F Sport starts about $50K.
The reliability factor is one to consider here too, as Lexus and its more pedestrian counterpart Toyota generally top reliability rankings lists.
The Lexus RX F Sport comes out with guns blazing in a competitive luxury category, and it’s aimed at the luxury SUV buyer who doesn’t want the typical sedated and smooth experience, and instead wants to push the limits a bit.
Those who want a bit more serene experience can skip the F Sport package and go for a standard RX, but either way the time you spend in this most-popular luxury SUV is time that will be well-enjoyed.