2016 Lexus RX 350 Test Drive

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“2016 Lexus RX 350 5-Door luxury SUV”
All-New Design Inside and Out
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The first Lexus RX model appeared in 1998, and has proven to be immensely popular serving consumer needs with the versatility and flexibility of a sport-utility vehicle, blended with the comfort and convenience of a luxury sedan. The 2016 lineup will offer the stylish SUV in three models: the Lexus RX 350; the Lexus RX 450h; and the Lexus F-SPORT RX.


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All Lexus RX models display a bold, all-new expressive interior and exterior design, delivering an SUV with premium comfort features. Up front the view of the new RX is characterized by a bolder version of the Lexus brand’s signature spindle grille, featuring a chrome-plated border and triple L-shape-LED headlamps. The available L-shaped LED headlight is accompanied by 18 individual LEDs that surround the headlights and act as turn signal indicators. A compact Bi-LED headlight is standard.
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The spindle design theme of the RX grille carries over to its rear design, providing a high level of aesthetic balance and consistency to the vehicle’s overall styling. The LED rear combination L-shaped taillights envelope the tailgate while wrapping forward around the rear fender sections, projecting a powerful and wide stance. In profile, the C-pillars are blacked-out, providing a floating-roof effect. Other new exterior features are flush-fitting headlight washers, a panoramic moonroof design, solid roof rails, redesigned SmartAccess door handles and convenient door handle illumination. All RX models feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat in the body paint, which utilizes a high-performance macromolecular polymer. The high elasticity of the material helps resist scratches, such as fingernail marks around the door handles. The paint also possesses a high level of gloss retention to help enhance the initial gloss and color of the paint over a long period of time. A choice of three distinct 20-inch wheels are now available with the RX. The F-SPORT package is available for both Gas and Hybrid AWD models.
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As with the exterior, the interior of the new RX showcases a balance of functionality and richness. There have been a number of enhancements to the interior trim of the new RX. Available interior trims include Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim or Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum, emphasizing the RX’s peerless new design theme. For the Striated Black Trim, a glossy black is used for the base, and a three-dimensional embossed pattern is then applied creating a high-quality film design with a sense of depth.
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The interior space is optimized for five passengers with the new lowered rear floor section helping to provide a seating position comparable to that of the rear-seat passengers in the flagship Lexus LS luxury sedan. The new RX features enhanced rear cargo space with room enough to fit large items including up to four large suitcases or multiple golf bags. New for this model year is an available Touch-Free Power Rear Door, which allows users to open the rear hatch by placing a hand near the Lexus emblem.
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A great deal of consideration to the layout of the redesigned center console was given by Lexus designers and engineers leading to enhancements in the usability of the switches and the accessibility of cup holders and storage areas. Based upon the concept of Lexus’ Human Machine Interface (HMI), an available Heads-Up Display (HUD) is incorporated into the instrument panel, which allows the driver to focus on the road ahead. The redesigned instrument cluster provides large and easy-to-read gauge faces.
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There are several powertrain choices that add to the versatility and capability of the all-new Lexus RX: the RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 gasoline engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission; the RX 450h hybrid employs a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 gasoline engine along with revised hybrid powertrain componentry. The V6 Gas engine delivers 295 horsepower at 6,300 rpm long with 267 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm.

The 3.5-liter Direct-Injected V6 Hybrid Engine and Lexus Hybrid Drive combines efficiency with plentiful power when needed. The completely reengineered 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 hybrid engine is an evolution of the base six-cylinder drivetrain, and now produces a combined system output of 308 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with 247 pound feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. The transmission includes a hybrid front transaxle that features a transmission oil cooler for motor cooling, as well as a pre-loaded differential for performance and enhanced control. The rear transaxle (for models equipped with AWD), which combines an electric motor with a reduction drive, features a new three-shaft configuration and aluminum case and cover to reduce weight.
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Among other updates to the hybrid system are a design evolution of the Power Control Unit (PCU) and HV Engine Control Unit (ECU) that delivers enhanced energy efficiency; driver-friendly operation and refined performance; implementation of a lighter, efficient hybrid system coolant electric water pump; and packaging changes to the hybrid battery that result in a more compact design to save space. Also, the control functions of the E-Four rear drive electric motor (AWD models) have been enhanced for better response when accelerating during turns.

Both FWD and All-Wheel (Weather) Drive configurations are available for Lexus RX models.

The Lexus RX utilizes a front-strut and rear double-wishbone suspension system with major engineering improvements that provide better steering response and ride comfort,
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My test 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-Door SUV came with an exterior finished in Autumn Shimmer metallic, complemented by a Gray leather interior with Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum trim elements. Pricing was not officially set at the time of this writing, but it is estimated that the Base Price is estimated to begin at under $40,000. I later reviewed an RX 350 FWD at home with a Matador Red Mica exterior and a Chocolate and Almond toned interior with Gold striated polished wood trim and satin silver accents. Its base sticker read $41,900., while the as tested price came to $54,820. After adding options and the Delivery, Processing and Handling fee.
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SUMMARY: The 2016 Lexus RX 350 is a most impressive luxury SUV. The fuel economy is EPA rated at 20 mpg city /28 mpg highway FWD / 19 and 26 mpg respectively AWD.

Acceleration is instantaneous and the damping should prove pleasing to both the performance oriented driver, and the driver seeking a more luxurious ride.
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It will undoubtedly take an extended familiarization period to master all that the Lexus RX 350 SUV has to offer in terms of its technology. Not everything is completely intuitive and may require some time to master for the technologically challenged.
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All Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000 basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months with unlimited miles. Coverage is also in place for the powertrain, restraint system and for corrosion protection.

Bottom line, the 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-door is one fine SUV that provides an ultra high-end ambience.


 

SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Lexus RX 350


  

Base Price: $41,900
Price as Tested: $54,820
Engine Type and Size: 3.5 –liter, DOHC, 24-valve V-6 with VVT-iW and sequential Multiport fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 295 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 267 @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: Electronically controlled 8-speed with sequential shift and AI-Shift. Or CVT with intelligence.
Drive Train: Transversely – mounted front engine / FWD or full time all-weather drive (AWD).
Suspension: Front -MacPherson strut with lower arms and 28.6 mm hollow stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double-wishbone with coil spring and shock absorber located separately.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs with ABS, EBD, BA, TC, Enhanced VSC, Hill-start Assist Control, Brake Hold and VDIM.
Tires: Michelin Premier LTX 235/65 R18 – std / 235/55 R20 opt. mounted on 7 spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Length Overall: 192.5 inches
Width: 74.6 inches
Height: 67.7 inches
Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs. – FWD / 4,387 AWD
Fuel Capacity: 19.2 gallons – Premium fuel required.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 20-mpg city /28-mpg highway FWD / 19 and 26 AWD.
Drag Coefficient: 0.34
0 – 60 mph: 7.7 seconds – FWD / 7.9 seconds AWD. Top speed electronically limited to 124 mph.

  


Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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