Lexus first introduced the RX to the world in 1998, although it had been making a name for itself as the ‘Harrier’ in 1997 in its home market of Japan. For nearly twenty years, the RX has been dominating the luxury crossover and SUV market – it seems that Lexus got it right on the money straight from the word go.
Unlike many of the vehicles from a decade or two ago, the Lexus has never really looked ugly – sure, the early models look dated now, but if you look at some of their contemporaries, the still look half-decent.
Safety Conscious 2017 Lexus RX350
|Contents||Lexus have gone all-in with the safety on the RX350. Both the RX350 and the RX350 F Sport come equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ which incorporates pedestrian detection, pre-collision warning, automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and lane keeping assist. All as standard equipment.|
If you pick the F Sport trim over the base model (just two trim levels for 2017), you’ll get 20 inch wheels, adaptive damping, an ‘engine sound enhancer’ and an even bigger grille. And believe us – the standard grille is pretty big – going from the hood shut line to the bottom of the bumper. The front of the F Sport is all grille.
The 2017 Lexus RX350 is fitted with the same 3.5 liter V6 engine as fitted to the predecessor. This means 295 BHP and 267 lb/ft of torque from the ultra-smooth gas engine. The engine is coupled up to an 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, the ratios are narrow enough to not leave big holes in the power and helps to improve the gas mileage.
There is a hybrid version of the RX, but gas mileage isn’t that great – just 22 MPG, so we aren’t quite sure why you’d pay the extra dollars for it – surely the point is to give you a significant improvement in economy?
For 2017, Lexus have made the RX350 F Sport available with just front-wheel drive – last year’s model was only available with all-wheel drive. You can spec either trim level with front or all-wheel – at an additional cost of course.
Reworked 2017 model year Lexus RX350
Although the 2016 Model Year had significant upgrades and restyling, Lexus still decided to give the new model a little makeover. It actually went further than skin deep – with the actual architecture and structure being changed, updated and improved suspension and steering.
It has clearly worked – even though the 2016 model sold well, sales figures are up for the new 2017 version, so it looks like Lexus have hit the butter-zone with the combination of looks, ride and handling.
Of course, the high-quality trim of the interior has helped that.
But Lexus have also changed the interior quite a bit – a lowered dashtop and thinner A-pillars gives the impression of a much bigger cabin space, although in reality, it isn’t something that you could feel – it’s just a great optical illusion, unless of course you use the dashtop for storage as you’re driving along.
The whole interior is wonderfully finished, and the sound quality is beyond much of the competition – you really could have a whispered conversation with your passenger, even at highway speeds.
As for the outside, the RX350 is rather unique looking – all angular, aggressive and front grille. Gone are the days of curving and swoopy bodywork, the RX looks like it has been pressed using square-edged tools – there doesn’t seem to be any softer elements of the styling.
Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the new RX350 is the ‘floating roof’ design – the rear pillars are designed to blend in with the body, giving (at first glance) the impression that the rear of the roof isn’t attached to anything. It looks great.
Show Me The Money
So what will the new 2017 Lexus RX350 cost in cold hard cash?
The base model comes in at $43,120 for the front-wheel drive and the all-wheel drive version isn’t that much more expensive – just $44,520; an extra $1,400 for a full all-wheel drive system is a steal – if you don’t mind the higher gas consumption, then the all-wheel drive option is definitely the one to pick.
All Lexus RX models are available right now. Although you’ll get significant discounts on old 2016 stock, the 2017 version is so much better – you should absolutely buy the newer model.
|2017 Lexus RX 350|
|Engine type||DOHC 24V V6, direct fuel injection|
|Power/torque||295 HP; 267 lb-ft|
|Passenger volume||108 cu ft|
|Cargo volume||18 cu ft|
|Top speed||129 mph (Limited)|
|PRICE RANGE: $44,100-$55,000 (est)|
|Competitors: BMW X3, Porsche Macan, Mercedes GLC|