$34,339 - $42,725

2018 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Lexus RX 350 was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2018 Lexus RX 350 has decent overall performance. A standard V6 engine produces good power and high fuel economy estimates for the class, and the SUV's ride quality is comfortable, but not at all sporty, thanks to body roll and numb steering.

  • "This SUV is quiet, quick, refined, isolated, and perfectly at home on city streets, suburban boulevards, and fast-flowing freeways. And the F Sport costume makes it look better, if not drive that way." -- New York Daily News
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 … Lexus RX 350 remains a luxury SUV that places an emphasis on comfort and confidence over blistering performance." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Lexus RX comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is available. Fuel economy estimates are around 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 19/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. Those estimates are good for the class. The RX delivers good engine power and swift acceleration, while the transmission is smooth and precise in its shifts.

  • "Its 3.5-liter V6 is linked to an eight-speed automatic, delivering ample power and a commendable 22 mpg overall." -- Consumer Reports
  • "This Lexus feels quick. The transmission steps down swiftly when asked, sending a surge of power accompanied by a naughty growl. It was a pleasure to squirt through traffic and climb up grades, especially when switched into the Sport + driving mode." -- New York Daily News
  • "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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Lexus RX has a smooth and comfortable ride over most surfaces, including bumps in the road. However, it's not as sporty as rivals; it provides little steering feedback and has noticeable body lean.

  • "Superlatives such as silky and supple are appropriate when discussing the ride quality around town. … Ask it to show off its moves on a canyon road, however, and the RX, despite its F Sport finery, balks. Its suspension allows the crossover to roll and wallow, while the tires protest their load with every turn. The steering is indeed well weighted, but lacks accuracy. I had no issues with the brakes, but overall, this isn't a vehicle I'd want as a companion to enjoy a long, scenic drive." -- New York Daily News
  • "Ride comfort is plush, whether you get the base car on 18-inch tires or more uplevel versions with 20-inch tires. Handling, however, is ponderous and devoid of any sporty feel but ultimately secure." -- Consumer Reports
  • "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 (2017)

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