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2016 Lexus RC Review

The 2016 Lexus RC sits near the middle of the luxury small car rankings. Although the RC has an outstanding safety score, engaging handling, and peppy engine choices, its tricky infotainment controls and tight rear seats hold it back in the segment.

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble handling
  • Energetic powertrain options
  • Top-tier safety score
  • Cramped back seat
  • Tiny trunk
  • Unintuitive infotainment controls

New for 2016

  • Added base RC 200t trim with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Added AWD RC 300 trim with 3.5-liter V6 engine




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 6.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.9
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Lexus RC Overview

Is the 2016 Lexus RC a Good Used Car?

Yes, the 2016 Lexus RC is a good used car. Whether you’re looking for luxury or sportiness, its high-end cabin and agile handling are sure to please. However, its limited passenger and cargo space – a product of its two-door coupe body style – can make it difficult to live with on a daily basis.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 20 Lexus RC reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Lexus RC?

Prices for the 2016 RC range from about $30,000 to around $51,000, with the average price landing just above $37,000. This data comes from around 130 listings for the 2016 RC on our site. Actual prices fluctuate depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Lexus RC Cost to Own?

The 2016 RC tends to be slightly more affordable than many of its luxury competitors when it comes to gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. Expect to pay around $27,800 over five years for these expenses. By comparison, the 2016 BMW 4 Series and 2016 Audi A5 have higher five-year costs by about $3,300. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class' five-year costs are about $1,900 higher than the RC's.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New RC?

Both the 2016 and 2018 Lexus RC belong to the same generation. For 2018, the Lexus RC gains a standard Wi-Fi hot spot along with the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver assistance technologies. This package includes pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams.

The optional V6 engines also get a 5-horsepower boost for 2018, from 255 to 260 and 306 to 311. Lastly, the former Lexus RC 200t base model is now named the RC 300, despite keeping the same 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A new RC model is appealing because you don't have to hunt around for a model with driver assistance features. However, buying a used RC will likely save you thousands of dollars over a new model.

Read about the new Lexus RC »

The 2016 RC has held its value pretty well. Still, there are plenty of new luxury small cars that retail for less than the 2016 RC's average price. The all-new 2018 Kia Stinger (MSRP $31,900) receives almost universal critical acclaim. It’s packed with value, with standard amenities like leather seats and an infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Its cabin is roomy and upscale. However, those looking for the best performance will have to spend thousands more for a GT model, which comes with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine.

Rivals like the 2018 Audi A4 and 2018 Cadillac ATS have base prices that are closer to the average price of a used 2016 RC. However, our Best Price Program or current car deals may help to widen that gap a bit, making a new car more attractive.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Lexus RC?

According to J.D. Power, the 2016 Lexus RC has an above-average reliability score of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about RC reliability »

2016 Lexus RC Recalls

As of this writing, one recall applies to the 2016 Lexus RC F model. The cover of the high pressure fuel pump may crack and leak fuel, increasing the risk of a fire. Before buying a 2016 RC F, make sure this recall has been addressed.

See more information on Lexus RC safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Lexus RC Is Best?

The Lexus RC was introduced as an all-new model for 2015. For 2016, Lexus introduced two new models: the RC 200t base model with its 241-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and the all-wheel-drive RC 300 model with a 255-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. You can likely save money by going with a 2015 RC instead of a 2016, and your engine options will be limited to that model's powerful 306-horsepower V6 or 467-horsepower V8. The 2017 RC gained standard smartphone navigation linking, and the RC 350 received standard performance dampers.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 RC »

Which Used Lexus RC Model Is Right for Me?

The RC is available in four trims: RC 200t, RC 300, RC 350, and RC F. All trims have essentially the same standard features; the main differences are related to the powertrain and drivetrain. There are also several options packages that add more luxury or tech features. Most buyers should stick with the RC 200t. It has the lowest price, satisfactory engine power, and the best gas mileage of the bunch. Drivers who want the best performance should consider the RC F. But be ready to pay a much higher price.

See 2016 Lexus RC trims and specs »

What Does Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Lexus offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 70,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Lexus extends its original new-car warranty to six years or unlimited mileage. From the day you purchase or lease your Lexus CPO vehicle, you receive complimentary maintenance covering the next four factory-recommended services for two years or 20,000 miles. Every CPO Lexus must pass a 161-point inspection. Additional benefits like loaner cars, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Lexus warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Lexus has the best CPO program in the industry.

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How Safe Is the RC?

The RC earned the top rating of Good in six crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS also named the RC a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. Models with the available pre-collision warning and braking system earned the second-highest rating of Advanced for front crash prevention. Depending on how it's equipped, the RC received either the lowest mark of Poor or the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

A rearview camera is the only standard safety feature. Adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors are available.

See RC safety scores »

2016 Lexus RC Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus RC or 2016 Audi A5?

The 2016 Audi A5 ranks neck and neck with the 2016 RC, and choosing between them is a matter of preference. Both vehicles have slightly above-average reliability ratings, good (but not great) performance, and impressive cabin designs. However, both luxury coupes also have cramped rear seats and underwhelming infotainment systems. The A5 has more cargo space and a lower average list price than the RC, and it can also be had as a luxury convertible. On the other hand, the RC has top-notch safety ratings and lower ownership costs.

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus RC or 2016 BMW 4 Series?

The 2016 BMW 4 Series leads the segment in overall performance. A lineup of powerful engine choices and deft corner-carving ability make this BMW incredibly fun to drive. The cabin quality is excellent, and four-door Gran Coupe models provide enough rear-seat space for adult passengers. You can also get the 4 Series as a coupe or a convertible. Both the RC and the 4 Series have good reliability ratings. Although the RC has lower ownership costs, the BMW is the better pick overall.

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus RC or 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class boasts an exquisite interior that earns heaps of praise from automotive critics. Like most cars in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, there's a wide range of powertrain options. Its handling focuses more on comfort than sportiness. The C-Class is one of few luxury small cars to earn a below-average reliability rating, but if you’re willing to overlook that (maybe by purchasing a CPO model), it’s a better choice than the Lexus.

Compare the RC, A5, and 4 Series »

2016 RC Performance

How Does the 2016 Lexus RC Drive?

There are several engines to choose from in the RC, ranging from the base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the RC 200t, up to a 5.0-liter V8 that powers the RC F trim. The 200t and 300 powertrains produce 241 and 255 horsepower, respectively. Both have adequate oomph to get you going. The RC 350's 306-horsepower V6 is outright muscular. Even better, the 467-hp V8 in the RC F is especially punchy. In fact, it can throw you back in your seat. Rear-wheel-drive models have a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models have a six-speed automatic that feels clunky. The RC is a treat to drive on twisty roads, with poised cornering and well-weighted steering. For the most part, the RC has a comfortable ride.

Does the 2016 Lexus RC Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base RC 200t gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which is in line with rivals. Some competitors like the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class may get you an extra mile or two per gallon.  Fuel economy estimates for mid-range RC models are 19 mpg in the city and 26-28 mpg city on the highway, while the 2016 RC F gets 16/25 mpg.

Read more about RC performance »

2016 RC Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 RC Seat?

The 2016 Lexus RC coupe seats four. The RC's handsome cabin has an excellent build quality and top-notch materials. The front seats have plenty of side support to keep you comfortable, but they might feel too narrow for some adults. Like most coupes, the RC's back seats are only suitable for smaller passengers. Luxury features like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and leather upholstery are available.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Lexus RC?

The RC has complete LATCH child-seat connections for each of its two rear seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system a rating of Marginal for its ease of use. The lower anchors are deep in the seat, and it's hard to maneuver your hands around them.

2016 Lexus RC Features

Standard features in the 2016 RC include proximity key entry, push-button start, Bluetooth, two USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 10-speaker audio system, and a 7-inch display screen. Available features include navigation, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium stereo, and an infotainment system with smartphone app integration. The infotainment system employs a touchpad controller that works like a laptop mouse. While it may sound user-friendly, it's frustrating and distracting to use while driving. The screen is mounted deep within the dash, making it hard to see.

See 2016 Lexus RC specs »

Read more about RC interior »

2016 Lexus RC Dimensions

Lexus RC Cargo Space

The 2016 Lexus RC has 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is low for the class. Lexus RC F models have 10.1 cubic feet.

2016 RC Length and Weight

The 2016 RC is 15.4 feet long. RC F models are a fraction of an inch longer. Curb weights for the 2016 RC range from 3,737 pounds for a base RC 200t model, up to 3,958 pounds for the RC F.

Where Was the 2016 Lexus RC Built?

Lexus manufactured the 2016 RC in Tahara, Japan.

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