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2021 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.4

The 2021 Lexus RX delivers good acceleration, impressive fuel economy, and a comfortable ride. Some rivals have more athletic driving dynamics though.

  • "Every RX makes a relaxing commuting conveyance or road trip companion, thanks to its comfortable and composed ride, tranquil cabin, smooth transmission, and predictable power delivery." -- Autotrader
  • "With this primary mission to pamper and coddle, the 2021 Lexus RX 350 isn’t focused on aggressive cornering or breathtaking acceleration. Conversely, it’s not sloppy or slow." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In the Sport and Sport+ settings, the RX's steering firms up nicely and the powertrains are quicker to respond, but you still shouldn't call this Lexus 'sporty.'" -- Car and Driver (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic

This luxury crossover SUV offers strong acceleration, both from a stop and when getting up to highway speeds. The automatic transmission is refined, but it occasionally hunts for the right gear.

  • "There’s not much we can say about the venerable 3.5 liter V-6 … except that it does its job with perfect competency, if not much enthusiasm." -- Automobile Magazine (2020)
  • "The engine delivers enough power for an SUV of this size, but the transmission was always hunting for the highest gear. Thankfully, paddle shifters are standard … so the transmission holds gears longer when the shifter is in its sport position." -- Motor Trend (2020)
  • "The strong 3.5-liter V6 doesn't waste any time when you merge onto the highway or pass on a two-lane road, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is a willing partner. It sprinted to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds at our test track." -- Edmunds (2019)

MPG Estimates

The 2021 RX 350 has above-average fuel economy estimates for the luxury midsize SUV class.

  • RX, FWD: 20/27 mpg city/highway
  • RX, AWD: 19/26 mpg
  • RX L, FWD: 19/26 mpg
  • RX L, AWD: 18/25 mpg

Handling and Braking

The Lexus RX isn't particularly athletic, but it delivers a pampering ride and controlled body motions through turns.

  • "Even in basic trim, the 2021 Lexus RX has composed handling and instills plenty of driver confidence. This is enhanced in the F Sport package, thanks to sharper steering and an adaptive suspension that not only reduces body roll but also improves ride quality." -- Autotrader
  • "There's still a good amount of body roll in corners and basically zero steering feedback, but the RX is nicely composed and super quiet." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "Turn-in feels a hair sharper and more responsive, but overall this still feels like the same RX as before. New 'active corner braking' stability control should aid at near the limit handling, but there wasn't much of that during my fairly relaxed day of driving." -- CNET (2020)
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2021 Lexus RX 350

MSRP: $45,070 - $52,350

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