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2017 Lexus RC Review

The 2017 Lexus RC has ample engine power, sharp handling, and great safety scores. However, it places near the middle of our luxury small car rankings on account of its harsh ride, unintuitive features, and subpar cabin space.

Pros & Cons

  • Lineup of strong engines
  • Responsive handling
  • Solid safety and predicted reliability ratings
  • Harsh ride
  • Small back seat and trunk
  • Distracting infotainment controls

New for 2017

  • Scout GPS Link smartphone navigation became standard
  • Triple-beam LED headlamps became available
  • Standard performance dampers in RC 350 models
  • Standard adaptive suspension in RC F models




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 6.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.6
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Lexus RC Overview

Is the 2017 Lexus RC a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Lexus RC is a good used luxury small car, especially if you're looking for a fun weekend vehicle. There are four engine options and several performance upgrades, plus the thrilling RC F trim. As a coupe, this Lexus doesn't provide much room for passengers or cargo, however, limiting its appeal as a daily driver. Also, the infotainment controls take some getting used to. 

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 23 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 2017 Lexus RC?

Prices for the 2017 RC range from about $35,000 to about $63,000, and the average price is around $44,300. This data comes from several dozen listings for the 2017 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 2017 Lexus RC Cost to Own?

The 2017 RC’s five-year cost estimates for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are around $31,500, which is about average compared to the rest of the class. In comparison, a 2017 Audi A5's five-year costs are typically about $1,800 lower than the RC’s, while the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class' costs are about $1,600 higher.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New RC?

For 2018, Lexus added standard features to the RC, including a Wi-Fi hot spot and the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver assistance technologies. This safety package includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a pre-collision system with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The 2018 Lexus RC's optional V6 engines each received a boost of 5 horsepower, the former Lexus RC 200t base model became the RC 300, and the car's navigation screen grew to 10.3 inches.

Lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and Wi-Fi weren't available at all in the 2017 RC. Buying a new 2018 model is the only way to get those features in the RC. The 2018 RC’s starting price is about $3,600 lower than the average price of a used 2017 RC, but the 2018 comes loaded with all those extra standard amenities.

Read about the new Lexus RC »

Nearly all new luxury small cars have base prices below the 2017 RC’s roughly $44,000 average price. You can even consider a high-ranking example like the Alfa Romeo Giulia (MSRP: $38,195). The Giulia boasts truly dynamic handling and a 280-horsepower engine with excellent throttle response. Opt for the midrange trim (just over $40,000), which adds an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, satellite radio, and heated front seats on top of standard features like leather upholstery and three USB ports.

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

Which Model Year of the Lexus RC Is Best?

The Lexus RC was introduced as an all-new vehicle for the 2015 model year. Changes for 2016 include the introduction of two new models: the base RC 200t with a 241-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and the all-wheel-drive RC 300 model with a 255-horsepower V6. If you're shopping for a 2015 RC, your engine options will be limited to that model's 306-horsepower V6 or 467-horsepower V8.

For 2017, smartphone navigation linking became standard, the RC 350 received performance dampers, and the RC F gained an adaptive suspension. If these minor updates aren’t important to you, consider saving thousands of dollars by going with a 2015 or 2016 RC instead of a 2017 model.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 RC »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Lexus RC?

The 2017 Lexus RC has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about RC reliability »

2017 Lexus RC Recalls

At the time of this writing, one recall applies specifically to the 2017 Lexus RC F. The high-pressure fuel pump may crack and leak fuel, increasing the risk of a fire. Make sure this issue has been addressed by a Lexus dealer before purchasing a 2017 RC F.

See more information on Lexus RC safety recalls »

Which Used Lexus RC Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Lexus RC comes in four trim levels – RC 200t, RC 300, RC 350, and RC F. Each trim comes with a more powerful engine than the trim before it. Standard features are pretty much the same across the lineup. Lexus offered most optional features with every model.

Your best bet is most likely the RC 350 and its 306-horsepower V6 engine. Models with the Luxury Package have leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The 350 is available with rear- or all-wheel drive.

See 2017 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.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the RC?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2017 Lexus RC a Top Safety Pick+, the organization’s highest honor. The RC earned the highest score of Good in all six test categories, as well as the second-highest rating of Advanced for front crash prevention. Depending on the trim level, headlights received the second-highest rating of Acceptable or the lowest rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not tested the 2017 RC.

Standard safety features in the RC include a rearview camera and Lexus' Safety Connect, which will make an emergency notification in the event of a crash or locate your vehicle if it is stolen. Available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

See RC safety scores »

2017 Lexus RC Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Lexus RC or 2017 Audi A5?

The Lexus RC and the 2017 Audi A5 are both good picks among small two-door luxury cars. Unlike the RC, the A5 is available as a convertible. Though the A5 has a bigger trunk than the RC, back-seat space is limited in both. The A5 has supportive front seats and high-quality interior materials. This Audi comes standard with all-wheel drive, but you're limited to two engine options. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard, and the performance-oriented S5 comes with a 333-horsepower supercharged V6. The A5’s ride and handling provide a nice mix of sportiness and comfort. Like the RC, the A5 eschews a touch screen for a physical infotainment controller, but you might find Audi's MMI interface to be a little more user-friendly. Both cars are solid choices in the luxury small car class, so your decision might come down to the prices that you find and your personal preference.

Which Is Better: 2017 Lexus RC or 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranks lower than the RC, mostly because it has a below-average predicted reliability rating and the highest ownership costs in the class. Otherwise, there's a lot to like about this Benz. The C-Class has what might be the nicest cabin in the segment. It treats its occupants to a plush ride, even over rough surfaces. There are several engine choices, including high-performance AMG versions, but the C-Class generally lacks the athletic handling of many rivals. You can find this Mercedes as a sedan, coupe, or cabriolet (convertible), though rear-seat passenger space is pretty tight unless you go with the sedan. Both the RC and the C-Class have somewhat confusing infotainment controls. Overall, these two models cater to different priorities. Look to the Lexus if you value a sporty drive and want the peace of mind that comes with a higher predicted reliability rating. However, the C-Class is a better fit if luxury and comfort are your goals.

Compare the RC, A5, and C-Class »

2017 RC Performance

How Does the 2017 Lexus RC Drive?

The 2017 Lexus RC comes with one of four available engines. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder in the RC 200t makes 241 horsepower, which is all you'll need for most everyday driving situations. A slightly more powerful V6 makes an appearance in the all-wheel-drive RC 300, with 14 more horsepower for powering all four wheels. For a significant jump, check out the RC 350 and its 306-horsepower V6. This model provides ample power for accelerating quickly. Finally, for more power than you'll probably know what to do with, the RC F brings the thunder: 467 horsepower from a 5.0-liter V8. This engine's sound and hustle are simply amazing.

Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come with the RC 200t, RC 350, and the RC F. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic is standard with the RC 300, and available with the RC 350.

A major downside of the RC is its harsh ride. You'll be fine on smooth pavement, but you’ll feel every bump and break in the asphalt on less-than-perfect roads. Both the RC F and models with the F Sport package come with an adaptive suspension and higher-quality brake pads. This suspension gives the RC the ability to tackle corners with less body roll, but it does little to improve the ride quality.

Does the 2017 Lexus RC Get Good Gas Mileage?

The standard 2017 RC 200t gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which is a little low compared to some rivals in the class. Fuel economy drops to 19/28 mpg city/highway for the RWD RC 350, and 19/26 mpg for both the AWD RC 300 and AWD RC 350. The RC F and its meaty V8 engine return 16/25 mpg.

Read more about RC performance »

2017 RC Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 RC Seat?

The two-door Lexus RC seats four people. Leatherette upholstery and power-adjustable front seats are standard. Available seating amenities include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and front sport seats.

Space is in short supply in the RC. The front seats are comfortable for short trips, but the standard seats lack support for longer rides. Find a model with the available sport seats for better bolstering. There's very little room for adults in the back seats, as is the case with many coupes. 

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Lexus RC?

The Lexus RC has a complete set of LATCH child-seat connectors for each of its rear seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the highest rating of Good for ease of use. All lower anchors are easy to access.

2017 Lexus RC Features

Standard features include automatic climate control, proximity key entry, push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment display screen, a rearview camera, Scout GPS Link smartphone navigation, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Available features include a heated steering wheel, a moonroof, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo, integrated navigation, and the Lexus Enform App Suite.

The RC's infotainment display is recessed far forward, making it hard to see clearly. The available remote touchpad controller can be distracting to use while driving. It requires more precision than simply pressing buttons or a touch screen like you do in most cars.

See 2017 Lexus RC specs »

Read more about RC interior »

2017 Lexus RC Dimensions

Lexus RC Cargo Space

The 2017 Lexus RC has 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space (10.1 in the RC F), which is low for the luxury small car class.

2017 RC Length and Weight

The 2017 RC is 15.4 feet long. Curb weight values for the standard RC range from 3,737 pounds to 3,891 pounds. The RC F weighs 3,958 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Lexus RC Built?

Lexus built the 2017 RC in Japan.

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