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2015 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus RX 350 was new.


Performance: 7.8

Auto writers say the 2015 Lexus RX 350 isn’t very nimble, but they like its comfortable ride and strong highway passing power.

  • "Where other SUVs try to blend sporty handling and voracious power with their utilitarian ways, the 2015 Lexus RX makes no apologies for what it is: a comfortable everyday cruiser." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Overall, the RX 350 is best-suited for long drives on long, straight interstates, where you'd just as soon relax, take your time and arrive at your destination not feeling like you just got out of a bar fight. For that, it's one of the better entries in the field." -- Cars.com
  • "The RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 engine is exceptionally smooth, but all-around performance of the RX isn't exactly pulse-raising. Lexus does offer a sporty F Sport version, but we've found it does little to enhance the experience." -- Edmunds
  • "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 base 2015 Lexus RX 350 has a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The RX 350 F Sport has an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. According to the EPA, the 2015 RX 350 gets up to 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is lower than the fuel economy of some competitors, like the BMW X5 and Acura MDX, but better than the fuel economy of others, like the Mercedes-Benz ML350.

Though some critics note that certain rival SUVs are more powerful, most are pleased with the Lexus RX 350’s acceleration in town and on the interstate. They also write that the RX 350’s V6 revs smoothly and is remarkably quiet.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 is notably quiet, but it's also powerful enough to accelerate this crossover with ease." -- Edmunds
  • "The RX 350 responds willingly when you press the gas. It gets up and goes, whether that's from a stoplight or when you need to pass." -- Cars.com
  • "The standard V6 engine's 270 horsepower is enough to get this midsize SUV onto the freeway without drama (0-60 mph comes in 7.7 seconds), but again, outright performance is not the RX's domain." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The RX 350's V6 is essentially a Camry engine tasked with pulling around an extra 500 pounds, so you're not going to set any speed records. But what a lovely motor this is -- so smooth and restrained, yet so eager to charge toward redline." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the 2015 RX 350, and all-wheel drive is available. Automotive writers agree that the RX 350’s soft suspension gives it an extremely comfortable ride. However, they also write that the RX 350 isn’t very agile, and that its steering system is incredibly numb. The RX 350 F Sport comes with larger wheels and a sport-tuned suspension system. However, reviewers write that the F Sport model’s suspension is far too stiff and doesn’t do much to improve the RX’s handling.

  • "The suspension is soft, allowing it to soak up road imperfections. This makes for a plush ride, and we don't suggest trying to corner too quickly as that isn't the RX's forte (though the F Sport does firm things up a bit)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "When it comes to getting a comfy ride quality, you're not going to be able to do much better than the 2015 Lexus RX 350." -- Edmunds
  • "The too-light steering meant there were a few anxious moments. Instead of feeling the road, I was looking at it and sort of guessing what was going on." -- Cars.com
  • "Frankly, the ride is too harsh." -- Autoblog (2013 F Sport)

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