Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Reviews 2018 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Review

2018 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Review

The Lexus RX is one of the cars that I’ve always enjoyed driving and reviewing. Thing is that every time I return it, I find myself thinking that I’d never actually buy one. The first reason is simple enough; I can’t afford it. The second is that it’s too perfect.

The RX is a perennial best seller, be it in its category or out of all luxury utility vehicles. This gives you an idea of its massive appeal – this luxury crossover holds no particular failings, no shortcoming. This is irritating to me. This might sound weird but then I own six trouble-laden complicated and delicate cars…

Sales of the Lexus RX continue to be strong and my latest week-long test once more supports the unwavering love consumers have for this vehicle. Lexus’ segment-creating and owning vehicle is a very smart purchase. If you’re looking for a little more spice in your life, perhaps look into an Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Otherwise, look no further for your next high-end mode of transportation.

Styling inside/out

As a crossover, the RX shines from a number of angles, especially when the rear is involved. The hurt comes from the front where Lexus insists on promoting its spindle grille. I’ve come to accept it on some of the cars but on the utility vehicles, its size and relative height are part of what throw me off.

2018 Lexus RX350 F Sport

With the F sport packages, the fascia goes “mesh” and I’m not convinced the end result is any better. Having said that, while driving the RX, I came across dozens of 2016- and younger examples and well over half sported the F Sport group… This RX’s F Sport’s saving grace are the lovely 20” wheels included in the ensemble.

The cabin’s identical to the shell in the sense that design- and layout-wise, it’s very nice, with one exception. This “exception” is not exactly aesthetically-challenged but it’s so bad that it deserves to be brought up at every opportunity: Remote Touch. It’s terrible. Sadly, to access the multiple menus on the available 12.3” display, which replaces the standard 8”, one needs to deal with the joy-less stick.

I do like the dashboard’s presentation. The majority is ergonomic if we overlook the heated and ventilated seat switches ahead of the shifter. Lexus craftsmanship is always tops and remains true in the RX.

Comfort/space

While it doesn’t look huge on the outside, the RX is actually quite spacious inside. The boot provides 695 liters of volume with a wide opening at the bottom. The rear bench is most impressive. Not only are the seat cushions firm and comfortable but there’s loads of room legs, arms and head. Three can sit across in the second row with few reasons to complain.

2018 Lexus RX350 F Sport

The F Sport packages include Sport Seats which are delightful. Lateral support is spot on however I found the power lumbar bump to be positioned too high. I’m 5’10” and thus average…

There are many storage bins throughout the cabin. Up front, the door bins actually open up to swallow larger items and Lexus has included a small soft opening spot to the left of the steering wheel.

Value/equipment

To step into a 2018 Lexus RX 350, you need to pony up $56,750. There are numerous inclusions at this price such as a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated leather-clad front seats, heated rear bench, power hatch, satellite radio, LED headlamps, AWD and more. The RX 450h begins at $71,150.

My tester included the F Sport Series 3 group. It featured a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, head’s up display, 20” wheels, navigation, adaptive variable air suspension, the sport seats, rear power adjustable seats, and the panoramic glass roof. It bumps the price up to $70k even.

The beauty with the Lexus RX is that you can’t really go wrong. You’ll curse the Remote Touch’s cursor, nevertheless you’ll be happy otherwise. The hybrid version might be a little riskier, but resale values and reliability are excellent for this luxury crossover.

Powertrain/handling

The operative words behind the 2018 Lexus RX’s drive are smoothness and refinement. The RX simply executes. Keep in mind that this Lexus is not the greatest at anything but by the same token is far from the bottom at anything.

2018 Lexus RX350 F Sport

The standard, well-used, 3.5-liter V6 is actually one of the least powerful 6-cylinder engines in its segment. The Stelvio I touched on earlier has a boosted 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that’s good for 280-horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. The RX’s rolls on with 295-horsepower and 268 torques. But this matters little as the RX hovers along nicely, always.

This Lexus includes drive modes but they seem to have no direct impact on the drive, that is unless “ECO” is selected. In Sport or Sport+, I barely noticed a change in throttle or transmission mapping, and nothing in the suspension’s damping. Again, it is all inconsequential as the CUV rides and drives beautifully at all times.

Would I have liked more power? Yes, if mostly because the engine’s torque comes on at 4,700 rpm and requires many revs to get going. The sound the V6 produces is nice and despite my complaining about power, the RX is plenty quick.

The overall sentiment from behind the wheel is that of little fuss. The cabin is quiet, acceleration is linear and drama free, and steering and brakes are perfectly responsive. This vehicle is the perfect gentleman, capable and civilized. It’s no small wonder why it’s such a strong seller.

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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