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2017 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Lexus RX 350 was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2017 Lexus RX 350 offers a comfortable ride with a relatively powerful engine, although not as powerful as many competitors. It isn't a particularly athletic car, but the F Sport model ups the ante with superior handling and steering. The RX 350 has a smooth and quiet engine and can get up to highway and passing speeds with little issue. It also provides a comfortable ride in the city. Its suspension cushions bumps and dips in the road, with only minor disturbances. Although there is an emphasis on comfort over blood-pumping performance, the RX 350 isn't a dull ride.

  • "Although the current RX is far more athletic than previous versions, it's still geared toward comfort above all else. Its engine is smooth and quiet with enough power for most passing situations, and the refined suspension filters out all but the most jarring bumps and potholes. It's a setup that makes for a serene environment in the city or out on the highway." -- Edmunds
  • "Lexus recently overhauled the entire RX line giving it a more aggressive exterior and a more fluid interior design. Changes were made to the suspension and drivetrain as well, but the 2017 Lexus RX 350 remains a luxury SUV that places an emphasis on comfort and confidence over blistering performance. We're not saying the Lexus can't handle tight turns or twisting back roads, but if you're seeking razor-sharp reflexes, a step up to the F Sport trim is in order." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The powertrain, suspension, and driving dynamics all lean toward the comfort side of the luxury SUV spectrum. The RX is quiet and composed at all times. But contrary to the brand stereotype this vehicle is serene without being boring." -- Autoblog (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Lexus RX 350 has a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Lexus designed the SUV for comfort more than power, and many rivals have more-powerful engines than the RX 350's. However, the RX 350 has plenty of thrust for the highway, and the transmission shifts seamlessly.

The RX 350 gets above-average fuel economy for its class. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy drops just a bit to 19/26 mpg city/highway with all-wheel-drive models.

  • "In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive RX 350 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, a pace slightly slower than many of its luxury competitors." -- Edmunds
  • "The RX's V6 is both powerful and impressively smooth, matched to an 8-speed automatic that should be the standard by which all automatics are judged." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The transmission does hunt a bit in spirited driving, but with eight speeds to play with, that's to be expected. The result of that hunting is a vehicle that's always ready with power when you need it; the powertrain is really the best part of the RX experience." -- Cars.com (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 RX 350 was designed with comfort in mind. It comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. It also has an optional adaptive variable suspension that allows drivers to choose from several different drive modes depending on road conditions. The RX 350 has a smooth ride, with minimal roll and bounce. The steering with the base model could be more responsive, but the F Sport steering is precise and communicative. The base RX isn't as athletic as some rivals, but the F Sport is sharper with superior handling.

  • "Handling is better than in previous RX generations but still not what we'd call sporty, unless you opt for the F Sport with its sharper steering and adaptive suspension. The F Sport is aimed at mildly sporty rivals such as the Acura MDX rather than more performance-oriented models such as the BMW X5 or Audi SQ5." -- Edmunds
  • "Driving dynamics of this crossover have improved a bit in all models, but it still offers that cushy smooth ride with little roll and bounce its customers favor. For drivers who want a sportier driving experience and better handling, the F Sport model is there for the taking." -- Forbes (2016)
  • "Its steering is nicely balanced, but it feels slow to react. In normal driving through parking lots and on interstate roads, it won't be an issue, but when trying to negotiate switchbacks or mountain twisties, it becomes more apparent. The RX 350 is prone to understeer in both front- and all-wheel-drive versions, with pronounced body roll that makes the heavy SUV push through corners instead of slice neatly through them." -- Cars.com (2016)

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