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2021 Lexus RX 350 Review

The 2021 Lexus RX ranks in the top half of the luxury midsize SUV class on the strength of its great predicted reliability rating and well-rounded performance, but it's short on cargo space.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Good acceleration
  • Long list of standard and optional features
  • Subpar cargo space
  • Very cramped available third-row seats

New for 2021

  • Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors now standard
  • Wireless device charging newly optional




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 6.6
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.4 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Lexus RX 350?

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Is the Lexus RX 350 a Good SUV?

The Lexus RX isn't the flashiest or most fun-to-drive vehicle in the class, but it is a good SUV. Most of its positives are hallmarks of other good Lexus vehicles: outstanding predicted reliability, great overall quality, and a long list of standard and optional infotainment features and active safety tech. With a robust V6 engine, the RX is no slouch off the line, and it corners with poise.

However, the RX sits at the lower end of the luxury midsize SUV class when it comes to overall cargo space, and its optional third-row seats are very cramped.

Why You Can Trust Us: 34 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 34 Lexus RX reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 RX 350 is the right new car for you.

This 2021 RX 350 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Lexus RX 350?

With one of the lowest base prices in the class and a healthy dose of standard equipment, the 2021 RX is a good value. It has a comfortable ride and a pleasing interior, as well as a long list of options that allows you to add the extra features you want while staying within your budget.

Find a 2021 Lexus RX 350 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Lexus RX 350: What's the Difference?

For 2021, Lexus makes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors standard in the RX. Wireless device charging is a new option.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 RX 350 »

Here are the key changes for the Lexus RX 350 since it was redesigned for 2016:

  • 2017: Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver assistance features became standard
  • 2018: three-row RX L model debuted
  • 2019: added available Amazon Alexa integration
  • 2020: refreshed interior and exterior design; gained a standard touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • 2021: gains standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors; adds optional wireless device charging

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 RX 350, 2019 RX 350, and 2020 RX 350 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Lexus RX 350 Cost?

The 2021 Lexus RX starts at $45,070, which is one of the lowest base prices in the luxury midsize SUV class. The three-row RX L retails for $47,900, and the RX F Sport has a starting price tag of $48,550. Lexus offers a multitude of packages and individual options that can raise the price of any RX model by several thousand dollars.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus RX 350 Versus the Competition

Lexus RX vs. Acura MDX

Both the Acura MDX and the Lexus RX feature strong V6 engines, decent handling, comfortable rides, and a long list of infotainment and driver assistance equipment. The MDX comes standard with three rows of seats, while a third row is optional in the RX. For lengthy trips, however, neither third row is large enough for anyone but smaller travelers. You'll get more cargo space with the Acura, but the Lexus has the edge in interior quality and predicted reliability. That's probably enough to declare it the winner, since these two SUVs are closely matched in most other categories.

Compare the RX and MDX »

Lexus RX vs. Lexus RX Hybrid

Lexus offers the RX as a hybrid that likely won't be as good a value for most shoppers as it might seem. The RX 450h has better fuel economy estimates, but the most efficient version of each SUV has the same annual fuel cost estimates, according to the EPA. Since there's not much savings to be had the pump, it's hard to justify the RX Hybrid's higher price tag. These Lexus SUVs have a similar list of features, excellent predicted reliability ratings, and comparable seating and cargo dimensions.

Compare the RX and RX Hybrid »

Compare the RX, MDX, and RX Hybrid »

RX 350 Interior: Nothing to Write Home About

RX 350 Cargo Space

The Lexus RX has less cargo room than most other luxury midsize SUVs. In the standard two-row model, you get 18.4 cubic feet of space behind the back seats and 56.3 cubic feet with the back seats folded down.

The three-row RX L only offers marginally more space. You get about 7.5 cubic feet with all the seats upright, around 23 cubic feet with the third row folded, and up to 58.5 cubic feet with all rear seats folded down.

How Many People Does the RX 350 Seat?

The standard Lexus RX is a two-row SUV that seats five people. The RX L is a three-row model that seats up to seven. In three-row models, you can swap the second-row bench for two captain's chairs, which drops the seating capacity to six.

The first two rows of seats are comfortable and supportive with plenty of room for taller occupants. The third row of seats in the RX L are very confining and not recommended for anyone besides smaller passengers.

RX 350 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, and the middle seat can borrow lower anchors from each side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the highest rating of Good+, which indicates that it's among the easiest to use.

RX 350 Interior Quality

The RX has outstanding build quality with an exemplary fit-and-finish. The cabin is full of upscale materials, and the design is sleek and straightforward. However, it lacks some of the over-the-top elegance found in European luxury SUVs.

RX 350 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Lexus RX comes standard with a touch-screen infotainment system that is responsive and easy to use. A larger touch display is optional, but it comes with the frustrating Lexus Remote Touch controller.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, HD Radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, six USB ports, Bluetooth, and a nine-speaker premium stereo
  • Available infotainment features: two second-row USB ports, wireless device charging, a 12.3-inch touch screen, a Remote Touchpad, navigation, a 12-speaker premium stereo, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: tri-zone automatic climate control, interior ambient lighting, a moonroof, and a panoramic roof

Read more about interior »

RX 350 Performance: The Strong, Silent Type

RX 350 Engine

Every Lexus RX model comes with a very capable 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. It helps you pull away from a stop with authority, and power deliver is smooth and steady as you continue to accelerate.

The standard eight-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly in general, but it can occasionally jump around, hunting for the right gear.

RX 350 Gas Mileage

The 2021 RX 350 returns above-average fuel economy for a luxury midsize SUV. It gets between 18 and 20 mpg in the city and between 25 and 27 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive and RX L versions are just slightly less efficient than their front-wheel-drive and regular-wheelbase counterparts.

RX 350 Ride and Handling

This Lexus prioritizes a comfortable and composed ride over agility. Most bumps in the road are no match for its forgiving suspension. There's not much feedback when you go around turns, but the SUV feels sure-footed and confident.

Read more about performance »

RX 350 Reliability

Is the Lexus RX 350 Reliable?

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 has a stellar predicted reliability rating of five out of five.

Lexus RX 350 Warranty

Lexus covers the RX 350 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RX 350 Safety

RX 350 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Lexus RX 350 five out of five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. The 2021 RX has not received an overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 RX, but the very similar 2020 model earned the highest rating of Good in all six crashworthiness tests.

RX 350 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Surround-view parking camera system

Read more about safety »

RX 350 Dimensions and Weight

The RX 350 is 16 to 16.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,222 to 4,619 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 5,666 and 5,986 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Lexus RX 350 Built?

Lexus builds the 2021 RX 350 in Canada and Japan.

Which Lexus RX 350 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Lexus RX comes in several variants. The RX 350 and RX 350 F Sport are two-row SUVs, while the RX 350 L is a three-row SUV. All trims come standard with a V6 engine and front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional for an additional $1,400. We review the hybrid Lexus RX 450h separately.

The only reasons to buy something other than the base model are if you need the extra seats of the RX L or if you like the sporty performance upgrades afforded by the RX F Sport. Thanks to the many packages and individual options available for all trims, you can pick and choose the amenities you want to stay within your budget.

Lexus RX 350

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 starts at $45,070. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a reclining second row, proximity keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, paddle shifters, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, and a power liftgate.

The standard 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes voice recognition, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, HD Radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, six USB ports, Bluetooth, and a nine-speaker premium stereo.

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera.

The RX has a long list of optional packages and individual amenities. Getting some of these may require the purchase of other add-ons. The Luxury package costs $3,890 and includes semi-aniline leather seats, manual rear-window sunshades, wood and aluminum interior trim, interior ambient lighting, and a heated, wooden steering wheel.

For $2,285, the Navigation package adds a 12.3-inch touch screen, the Remote Touchpad, navigation, and a 12-speaker premium stereo. Another package pairs those features with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo for $3,365. The $480 Premium package adds wood interior trim and memory settings for the driver's seat, steering wheel, and outside mirrors.

Adaptive and auto-leveling LED headlights are optional for $1,975. You can get heated front seats for $440 or heated and ventilated front seats for $640. A $1,480 bundle contains heated and ventilated front seats along with a power-folding second row and heated second-row seats. A moonroof is $1,350, a panoramic roof is $1,850, and wireless device charging is $200. A hands-free power liftgate is $150.

For optional driver assistance features, a head-up display costs $600, and $565 gets you front and rear parking sensors and reverse automatic emergency braking. Those parking assist features with a surround-view parking camera system cost $1,365.

Lexus RX 350 L

The 2021 Lexus RX L starts at $47,900 and gains a power-folding and reclining third row, tri-zone automatic climate control, two second-row USB ports, and a second-row armrest.

The RX L offers the same optional features as the base model, and second-row captain's chairs are available for $405.

Lexus RX 350 F Sport

The Lexus RX F Sport retails for $48,550. Its added features include enhanced exterior styling, front sport seats, a performance suspension, an F Sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and performance instrumentation. The F Sport Handling package ($1,050) contains a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, a heated steering wheel, sport-tuned steering, and an additional Sport S+ driving mode.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2021 Lexus RX 350 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Lexus RX's excellent predicted reliability rating, relatively low starting price, attractive interior, and wealth of technology make it a comfortable and value-oriented choice among luxury midsize SUVs.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Lexus RX combines a sumptuous passenger experience with technology and meticulous construction. … There are a few nits to pick, though, like the frustrating Remote Touch interface (Lexus has addressed this by adding a touchscreen), stingy cargo space and a third-row seat in 'L' versions that’s only suitable for smaller members of the family." -- Autotrader
  • "The Lexus RX 350 is a midsize crossover that serves as the bread and butter of Lexus' SUV lineup. Given its well-rounded nature, it's easy to see why so many buyers flock to the RX." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2021 RX excels in the areas of quality, reliability, and resale. … The RX is one of the smoother-riding members of the luxury SUV/crossover community. Although the F Sport version is intended to deliver a more athletic drive (it doesn’t add any more power), it’s no match for the muscle and handling found in the BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace or Porsche Cayenne." -- Kelley Blue Book
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2021 Lexus RX 350

MSRP: $45,070 - $52,350

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