Monday, December 26, 2011

The 2011 Lexus RX 350 Review notes

Base Price: $40,250

As-Tested Price: $52,775
Drivetrain: 3.5-liter V6; AWD, six-speed automatic
Output: 275 hp @ 6,200 rpm, 257 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,343 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 20/18.4 mpg

The 2011 Lexus RX 350 is the near-luxury crossover to beat, targeted by the likes of the Cadillac SRX and the Lincoln MKX from the United States, the Acura MDX and the Infiniti FX from Japan, and the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz M-class from Europe. C’mon, Mercedes, where’s the X? It can’t be a crossover without an X, right?

Anyway, suffice it to say that the Lexus has a big bull’s-eye on its tailgate right now. Having spent seat time in nearly all of the above-mentioned utes, I can tell you that the RX remains competitive, but just barely. Fortunately for Lexus, a few simple changes will help tremendously.

From a ride-and-handling perspective, the RX 350 handles itself just fine. There are no surprises, nor is there engagement. That’s just how the vast majority of Lexus customers like their cars. Ditto the powertrain: perfectly adequate, nothing to see here, please enjoy the stereo.
Options: Dual-screen rear-seat entertainment with navigation including rear-seat DVD system with wireless headphones, a/v inputs, 120V power outlet and navigation with voice command, XM weather and traffic, backup camera, remote starter ($5,005); luxury package including semianiline leather trim, one-touch open/close moonroof, retractable electrochromic heated outside mirrors, wood and leather steering wheel/shift knob, wide-angle camera, 19-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, power rear door, illuminated scuff plates, headlamp cleaners ($4,900); comfort package including rain-sensing wipers with mist control, high-intensity headlamps, adaptive front lighting system and driver/passenger heated and ventilated seats ($1,950); 12-speaker audio system with in-dash six-DVD changer ($610); cargo net ($59).

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