For the 2013 model year Lexus has updated the RX 350 and it gets a much needed facelift. The luxury sport utility vehicle looks much different than the previous model and it gets a bolder look up front thanks to the new spindle grille. It also gets new wheels, light clusters, interior updates and option packages for 2013. The new front grille looks more muscular and this writer thinks it’s a big improvement. The Lexus RX 350 had grown stale and definitely needed refreshed exterior styling. The new optional 19-inch aluminum wheels look sporty and add to the character of the RX 350.
This week we’ll be testing a Starfire Pearl 2013 RX 350 model ($40,710) with full-time anti-torque control all-wheel-drive. The system is ideal for winter driving here in Colorado and the RX 350 handled the snow this week without a problem. The RX 350 when equipped with the all-wheel-drive system, operates through an electronic coupling on the rear differential, eliminating the need for a center differential. The system worked well in fresh snow and the system didn’t fail us on the icy interstate commuting to Denver from the mountains.
This RX 350 tester came well-equipped with a multitude of standard features. It featured automatic dual-zone climate control, AM/FM/6CD with nine speakers and a power rear liftgate. It also came with 10-way power front seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and genuine wood trim inside. It was equipped with an optional heads up display ($1,200) that made it easy to keep an eye on speeds on the highway. It also came with a Comfort Package ($1,340) with HID headlights, rain-sensing wipers and heated and ventilated seats that kept us toasty warm in the cold mornings.
The Luxury Package ($4,520) included extras like power front seat cushion extenders, illuminated scuff plates, smog-sensing automatic interior air recirculation and a one-touch open and close moonroof. The heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel, headlamp washers, and heated outside mirrors that were part of the package is a must for those who live in cold-weather climates. They kept the cold commute warm, comfortable and safe during the week long test drive.
Comfortable and flexible cabin space
The cabin of the 2013 Lexus RX 350 is a welcome and luxurious place as you would expect it to be. There have also been changes made to the interior but just not as extreme as the outside. There have been subtle changes made to the steering wheel and center console to improve comfort and convenience. There are new optional wood and leather combinations that give buyers more choices then before.
The Lexus RX 350 is both luxurious and functional and has seating for five adults with the backseat featuring a 40/20/40 fold-down split. The rear seats offer good legroom for average-size adults, and three can sit comfortably on a longer trip. The seatbacks can be lowered easily from behind for loaded extra cargo. There are also two rear air conditioning vents to keep the rear passengers comfortable. Cargo room behind the rear seats measures 40 cubic feet, and has enough room for four snowboards and gear for winter sports fun. It has a total cargo volume of 80.3 cubic feet.
Build for a quiet comfortable ride
On the highway, the 4510 lb RX 350 responds well for a mid-size SUV. The 3.5-liter V6 produces 270 horsepower and 248 lb ft of torque which is average for the class. Where the RX 350 benefits the most is from the six-speed automatic transmission. It features a low first-gear ratio that gets the SUV moving quickly at lower speeds and from the stoplight. But the RX 350 has never been built for speed and the 2013 model is no different. It does gets good fuel mileage with an EPA estimated 18/24 city/highway.
Buyers in this class are generally looking for comfort and that is what it offers. The double-wishbone independent rear suspension gives the RX 350 a smooth and comfortable ride and is agile enough in the corners for most buyers needs. The ride is more cushy than most SUVs on the market, but Lexus has chosen to focus on ride comfort and luxury rather than fast and sporty. Buyers who want that can find it in the Lexus RX F Sport we reviewed in December.
Overall, the 2013 Lexus RX 350 AWD is comfortable, luxurious and practical for a growing family. It rides more softly than other SUVs and is a good commuter vehicle for those keeping it in the city and not needing to go off-road. While it’s not as powerful as some of the competition, the RX 350 is more fuel-efficient than many of the competitors. It is exceptionally quiet on the road and keeps passengers in the rear comfortable on longer trips. The RX 350 is a good choice for people who don’t tow or need to move more than five people.