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2014 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Lexus RX 350 was new.


Performance: 7.7

Most critics say that the 2014 Lexus RX 350 doesn’t offer a particularly thrilling or sporty driving experience. Still, some test drivers say the base model has a more comfortable ride. While reviewers note that the RX 350 F Sport offers better handling than the base model, some also think that it rides too harshly for their tastes. Auto writers are divided when it comes to the RX 350's acceleration, as some say it gets up to speed with ease, while others thinks it isn't particularly quick.

  • "Still, those seeking a more engaging driving experience should consider the Acura MDX or Audi Q5. We don't recommend the RX 350 F Sport, as it suffers from an overly firm and poorly damped ride, with no appreciable increase in driving feedback or involvement. Worse still, its handling and braking numbers at our track were actually worse than those of the regular RX 350." -- Edmunds
  • "A corner-carver the RX is not, even with the firmer suspension of the F Sport. If driving excitement is your thing, look to the BMW X3 or Audi Q5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "We were genuinely looking forward to the promise of a sportier, more dynamic RX F Sport, but it let us down." -- Autoblog (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Lexus RX 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower. The base model is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the F Sport model comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The RX 350 gets up to 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class, but SUVs like the Acura MDX use a bit less fuel.

Reviewers are somewhat divided on the RX 350’s powertrain. Some critics say its V6 engine is quiet and provides quick, effortless acceleration, while others claim that the RX 350 isn't particularly speedy. One reviewer mentions the F Sport model's paddle shifters and says that while they work well, they're unnecessary.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 is notably quiet, but it's also powerful enough to swiftly accelerate this crossover with ease." -- Edmunds
  • "From a performance standpoint, the RX is not particularly quick, making the 0-60 run in just 7.7 seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The paddle shifters are a gimmicky add-on. They work well, shifting the wet eight-speed between gears exactly as commanded, but there is no compelling reason to ever use them." -- Autoblog (2013 F Sport)

Handling and Braking

The RX 350 comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is available. Test drivers say that the base Lexus RX 350 offers a comfortable ride and handles rough patches of road with ease. Some critics are disappointed with the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport model's ride quality, calling it harsh and overly stiff. However, others note that the RX 350 F Sport offers better cornering than the base model.

  • "Good handling shouldn't come at the expense of a comfortable ride, which is exactly why we like the 2014 Lexus RX so much. Rough patches and expansion joints are quickly dispatched, yet the RX's steering and ability to negotiate turns are still well within the limits of reason. Razor-sharp steering and a taut suspension are not what the RX is all about, but if you are, there is the F Sport model that tightens things up quite a bit." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Frankly, the ride is too harsh. Much like the automaker flubbed its suspension tuning in early IS Fsport sedans (Lexus recalibrated the model's suspension for 2010 with much better results), this first-attempt RX F Sport needs a bit of tweaking." -- Autoblog (2013 F Sport)

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