2018 Lexus RX350 Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

The 2018 Lexus RX350 represents an exceptional blend of sophistication, practicality, and flexibility. In fact, its luxurious yet minimalist cabin could be featured in a modern design magazine. Fully appreciative of those qualities, it then came as a pleasant surprise when the sleek crossover was also spacious enough to competently haul consignment store furniture finds, demonstrating flexibility.


Elegant enough to garner nods of respect at black-tie galas in the city, the five-passenger sport utility also seamlessly functions as a hauler for school-aged children. In fact, when it comes to serving families the RX350 is capable of accommodating kids, groceries, appurtenant accessories and the family dog all at the same time. In other words, you can run several errands on the way to collect the kids from school, confident you can bring everyone and everything home—all at the same time.


To this end, the Lexus provides a useful 56.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the second row folded and 18.3 with it in place. Enhancing that capability is a power-operated liftgate and rear privacy glass to obscure precious items from would-be interlopers.


Up front, the RX350’s ginormous 12.3-inch infotainment screen prompted one awe-struck friend to refer to it as the SUV’s “iPad”. Sizable enough to readily display navigation and audio system information simultaneously, its crystal-clear high-resolution graphics made the display one of the jewels of the interior. Sadly though, the loosey-goosey inaccuracy of the Lexus Remote Touch infotainment controller employed to operate it diminished the experience.  


On the other hand, the premium materials on display throughout the hospitable interior were truly uplifting. My F Sport-trimmed test vehicle was graced with a magnificent panoramic sunroof, sumptuous leather upholstery  and wonderfully supportive sport seats with heat and ventilation for front seat occupants. What’s more, the standard sliding and reclining rear seats also offered heat as well as power folding capability.


For motivation, a 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of 268 lb-ft of torque was paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy for my AWD-equipped F Sport was 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. I saw an average of 22 overall.


Easy to maneuver, I especially liked its car-like refinement and the noise isolation, which reduced stress when I was stuck in traffic. Getting back to the audio system for a moment, the Mark Levinson stereo fitted to my tester was easily one of the clearest, most powerful sound systems I’ve ever heard in a car. It was absolutely glorious. Also on the technology front, active safety features included automatic collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, all as standard equipment. 


Pricing for the 2018 Lexus RX350 starts at  $43,470.