The Lexus recipe has been the same for many years and is very different to the approach followed by the German brands. Essentially, what you see is what you get and there are no options. And what you get is a lot! For example, both the front seats are multi-way electrically adjustable, cooled and heated and offer memory functions. The steering wheel, too, is electrically adjustable. You also get one of the biggest infotainment screens on the market as standard, and there’s a clever pad in front of the transmission tunnel to recharge your mobile phone without the need for wires. Needless to say – this is a Lexus after all – the build quality is superb and the fittings are top class. As we also found on the RX450h, a minor irritation was the noisy ventilating fans in the seats.
The RX350 doesn’t offer the flagship’s Mark Levinson sound system as standard, but the 12-speaker system instead still delivers excellent sound quality and you get two USB slots (as well as auxiliary input socket) in the storage box between the front seats. Voice control and navigation are also part of the package. Of course, the RX350 shares its control interface with the RX450h, too, and while the combination of a mouse-like controller with haptic feedback sounds good in theory, it just doesn’t work very intuitively in practice.
The new RX is slightly longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, and the wheelbase has been lengthened, too. The result is significantly more rear legroom. In fact, the second row is particularly spacious, with seats that can slide forward/backward if needed and come with adjustable backrests. There are even retractable sunblinds for rear passengers. Due to the almost “fastback-like” styling, rear headroom is slightly limited. A standard sunroof is another specification item you're unlikely to find on the competition at this price level.
For the money, it is really hard to argue a case against the Lexus RX350. Yes, a turbodiesel rival would ultimately be more economical and yes, the RX is not the most spacious SUV around. But it makes up for these small deficiencies in so many other areas. It is superbly built, loaded with standard features that would inflate the price of just about any other rival, refined and offers good performance as well as surprising fuel economy. It gets a big thumbs-up.
The Lexus RX350 EX sells for R839 000 and comes with a four-years/100 000 km vehicle warranty and maintenance plan. Servicing is required every 15 000 km.
Above Prices are Recommended Retail Price (Incl. VAT, excl. C02 Tax)