Options available individually, not just part of packages
Shouldn't use AWD for any off-road
Seating for no more than 5
Lexus is known for their luxurious cabins and smooth comfortable rides. The 2015 Lexus RX 350 AWD 5-Door SUV we are testing this week doesn’t do anything but keep up the Lexus image that the brand has worked so hard to cultivate. The new 2015 RX 350 is what Lexus is all about, luxury, the latest technology and lots of upgrades for consumers to load up on. And Lexus still holds the distinction of building quality automobiles.
This week we’re testing the 2015 Lexus RX 350 AWD 5-Door SUV ($42,195) that comes with a lot of options. This tester came loaded with the Premium package with blind-spot monitoring ($2,760) a sunroof, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, roof rails, leather upholstery and driver memory settings. The Comfort package ($1,390) added automatic wipers, xenon headlamps and heated and ventilated front seats. All of this package’s items are available as individual options. It also came with a Head Up Display ($1,200) and Navigation with Dual-Rear Seat Entertainment ($4,060). This RX 350 tester will all its options has an MSRP of $55,099 after destination.
What’s New for 2015
For 2015, Lexus RX 350 adds the 7-inch display screen and a rearview camera as standard equipment. LED headlights and foglights are new options, and the Remote Touch knob has been updated.
Inside RX 350
Stepping inside the RX 350 is like climbing into a sophisticated machine with lots of new things to look at and try. It’s like trying to figure out that new computer that you just bought and now get to play with it. There aren’t any straight lines or sharp corners in the new RX 350 as every part of this cabin is curved, arched or rounded in some way. The genuine wood trim lends to the luxury feel and the leather heated and cooled front seats make the cabin a place you want to spend lots of time in.
Technology abounds in the RX 350 and the Remote Touch system works like a computer mouse. The remote is located where your hand would fall if your elbow were resting on the center console. This controls the radio, climate control and navigation system. If you are accustomed to using to a computer mouse, you will find it relatively easy to use while driving.
In the rear, passengers get a similar level of luxury with a fold-down center console with a covered wood grain cupholder, separate covered storage compartment and two rear air conditioning vents to cool the rear compartment. The rear seats are comfortable, but come with less reclinability than the front seats, but with good legroom for average-size adults. The rear seat can accommodate three and has a 40/20/40 fold-down split. There is no third row seating option on the RX 350.
Drivetrain and fuel mileage
2015 RX 350 models come with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission with “snow mode.” The RX 350 uses a light-weight full-time all-wheel-drive system that operates through an electronic coupling on the rear differential, eliminating the need for a center differential. RX 350 gets an EPA estimated 18/24 city/highway fuel mileage. The RX 350 beats the fuel economy ratings of many of its competitors like the Acura MDX, Mercedes ML 350, and BMW X5 xDrive3.5i.
On the road with RX 350 AWD
The bigger 3.5-liter V6 in the RX 350 responds well to throttle out on the road in all driving situations. It’s also due to the 6-speed automatic that has a lower first-gear ratio making the luxury SUV quicker off the line than most other SUVs. We kicked the RX 350 in the gas and it responded by kicking down two gears and moving out with authority. Driving enthusiasts can also select their own gears when in multi-mode.
But this is not a sports machine and is designed with passenger comfort in mind. The suspension is smooth and comfortable even on the dirt roads leading up to my house near Evergreen, Colorado. The RX 350 is exceptionally quiet out on the road and it’s what we have come to expect from a Lexus product.
This 2015 Lexus RX 350 luxury SUV came with the optional heads up display ($1,200) and found it makes it much easier to stick to speed limits when traveling in unfamiliar areas of the city. The bright white display is just above the instrument panel on the windshield and can be easily be read by the driver. It’s possible to project the display anywhere on the windshield; but worked well when we displayed it low and to the left. It can also be seen when traveling into the sun.
Overall, the 2015 Lexus RX 350 is comfortable, luxurious and full of the latest technology. The cabin is exceptionally quiet and the ride is extremely comfortable on all road surfaces. This tester came with AWD which works well for colder climates but won’t be for those looking to use it off-road.
Drivers who need off-road capability should look at the Lexus GX models. The 2015 RX 350 is a good choice for people who won’t be using it for extreme recreation, towing or need to move more than five people at a time.