Stand Up and Take Notice of the 2014 Lexus RX
Heading into the midsized luxury crossover SUV segment shows the top of the line offering from Lexus in the form of the Lexus RX. The RX is everything that any owner would expect from the stand out luxury car maker and offers a prescription that is just what the doctor ordered. No matter what the competition throws its way, the RX sends it back as wanting and needing improvements to even come close to competing with the RX. Offering a spacious cabin and tall height the RX is a comfortable and enjoyable ride for any adults riding in all the seats of the vehicle.
Keeping in mind this is a luxury SUV, as with many in this segment of the SUV class the RX is not the ideal vehicle to take off-roading. It can handle short stints off the pavement, but is meant more as a great looking SUV that carries people and gear to their destination in style and luxury at a much better price than many of its competitors. After a complete remake last year, this year’s model has only modest upgrades including the Siri Eyes Free technology that allows drivers to communicate via text through the audio system.
Many times offering a well handling vehicle means the ride is stiff and uncomfortable, but the RX offers both a very smooth ride and great handling, but of course it does because it is a Lexus. The suspension and steering are well-tuned to offer this smooth ride and easy to enjoy steering through turns. The Lexus RX is not going to zip in and out of turns like a sports car, but does offer a model, the F Sport, that offers and even stiffer suspension and highly tuned steering to handle the canyon runs with speed and precision that is matched only in sports cars.
Inside the engine compartment a 3.5-liter V6 is found on the RX 350 and F Sport models offering a strong 270 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. The unique six-speed automatic transmission uses direct-downshift technology that allows it to skip over gears on the way down making for a much more immediate response when needed. This power pairing offers a fuel efficiency of 18 city/25 hwy mpg in the front-wheel drive (FWD) versions, and 18 city/24 hwy mpg for the all-wheel drive (AWD) models. The F Sport model is set up on the same engine, but offers an eight-speed transmission instead of the six-speed which comes in with a fuel efficiency of 18 city/26 hwy mpg.
The Lexus RX offers a hybrid model as well with the RX 450h which is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 plus a 123-KW electric motor. This offering comes in with 245 horsepower for the gas engine only and 295 total combined horsepower and 234 lb.-ft. of torque. When mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) the fuel efficiency reaches 32 city/28 hwy mpg for FWD and 30 city/28 hwy mpg for the AWD models. All versions offer a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds for a light load when equipped with the prep package.
The cabin of the Lexus RX offers the quietest ride in this class, offered through the outstanding noise lessening technology. The overall feel inside the vehicle is warm, inviting, and luxurious. With excellent materials used all over the interior, accented with some polished metal the inside is comfortable and easy to enjoy. With plenty of leg room for all occupants to enjoy the 40/20/40 folding rear seat will even recline and slide to accommodate a variety of cargo configurations. Cargo space reaches up to as much as 80.3 cubic feet offering plenty of space to bring home a weekend or head out for a camping hiatus project when coupled with the towing package.
From the outside, the Lexus RX offers additional cub appeal to any home. With the signature hourglass shaped grill smooth and stylish curves, and high stance the RX is both beautiful and formidable. With one of the longest slope from front to rear, the RX offers a deep curve from the roofline all the way to the rear of the vehicle. Riding high on 18-inch wheels that are heavily spoked adds a serious amount of style and aggression to the vehicle which is adorned in beautiful chrome accents.
No matter which model of the Lexus RX is chosen, the equipment list is lengthy and very enjoyable. This list includes dual zone automatic climate control, a power rear door, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a ten-way power driver’s seat and a nine-speaker premium audio system with satellite radio and a six-disc CD changer and auxiliary port. The F Sport model adds heated and ventilated front seats, leather trim, roof rails, and the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system for improved traction control.
Optional features for the Lexus RX can make this vehicle seriously surpass many luxury SUVs. The optional feature list includes a color LCD display, a dual screen rear entertainment system, a navigation system, Siri Eyes Free, a rearview camera, a 12-speaker audio system with Lexus Enform that adds a ton of apps to enjoy, leather seating, a heated wood and leather trimmed steering wheel, and a smog sensing automatic recirculating climate system. All of this added to the vehicle almost makes owning a Lexus RX unfair as there really isn’t a comparable vehicle in its class.
A FWD Lexus RX 350 will fetch a starting price just over $40,500 and the AWD version adds $1,400 to the price. The hybrid version Lexus RX 450h comes in at an opening price of $47,000 and the Lexus RX 350 F Sport will come in just under $48,500. Checking all the option boxes will offer a fully loaded RX that reaches up into the mid-$50,000 price range. With all the features included in the RX lineup, this is certainly a vehicle to consider when shopping this segment.