Introduced in 2010, the third-generation Lexus RX remained popular among customers looking for a luxury crossover utility powered by either a conventional gasoline drivetrain or a hybrid one. Lexus was aware of that with each year and continued to update the SUV in order to keep it fresh.
The current RX received its most important update for the 2014 model year, when the vehicle gained Lexus’ spindle grille, now available on most of the lineup, LED daytime running lights and a pair of reshaped taillights. Upgrades were more substantial equipment-wise, but we’re not here to talk about the 2014 model. The 2015 version is out and it’s time to have a look at what Lexus is offering on the RX 350.
As a vehicle that defined the luxury, midsize class and that has a well established group of loyal owners, the RX 350 is an SUV that apparently can make it through a model year with only minor updates. And that’s what the 2015 version is trying to do. No need for disappointment though, these new bits and pieces won’t let it fall behind its rivals just yet.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus RX 350.
For 2015, things didn’t change much on the outside. In fact, the only addition that modifies the appearance of the SUV in any way is a set of 19-inch, triple-split, five-spoke wheels with light gray paint and machined finish. However, consumers won’t benefit from them unless they order either the Premium or the new Luxury Package.
Having either HID or LED headlamps on the RX 350 is also a matter of checking a box on the options list. LED fog lamps are also available for the 2015 model, but aside from these additions, the RX 350 is the same well-proportioned vehicle that looks somewhat menacing in a rear-view mirror.
2015 Lexus RX 350 - Exterior Dimensions:
|Overall Length||187.8 inches|
|Height||66.7 inches (without roof rails); 67.7 inches (with roof rails)|
|Ground Clearance||7.3 inches|
Although the overall design of the SUV’s cabin remains the same, Lexus is trying to sweeten the deal with a standard Display Audio system with a seven-inch screen and rear backup camera. There’s also a Lexus Enform connectivity system for smartphones included with the optional navigation package, which features an updated remote touch interface knob as well.
The 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system comes with anything from a classic CD player to the more fashionable USB/iPod control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth audio streaming. But if you’re looking for more wattage, an optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system can be added for a crystal clear musical experience.
Available with 10-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustment, personal door-lock preferences and light adjustments, the RX 350 remains highly customizable, while the multi-information switch on the leather-wrapped steering wheel enables the driver to access many settings in a matter of seconds.
A new Cabernet leather-trimmed interior with silver contrast stitching was also added to the options list, but it can only be selected on the F Sport model.
2015 Lexus RX 350 - Interior Dimensions:
|Headroom||39.0/37.7 in (w/o moonroof) (front/rear)|
|Legroom||43.1/36.8 in (front/rear)|
|Shoulder Room||57.9/57.5 in (front/rear)|
|Hip Room||55.5/54.5 in (front/rear)|
2015 Lexus RX 350 - Standard Interior Features:
- Lexus nine-speaker Premium Sound System with Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) and in-dash, single-feed six-disc CD auto-changer
- USB iPod connectivity
- Bluetooth audio profile for wireless integration of compatible music players with in-vehicle audio system
- Electroluminescent instrumentation
- SmartAccess with push–button Start/Stop
- Steering-wheel-mounted audio, phone and display controls
- LCD multi-information console display on upper console
- Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) multi-information display in gauge cluster
- HomeLink universal transceiver to operate compatible garage, gate, home lighting and home security systems
- Cruise control
- Outside temperature gauge
- Illuminated entry system
The RX 350 continues into 2015 with the proven 3.5-liter, DOHC V-6 under the hood. Output remains unchanged at 270 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. While it falls short of its segment rivals, the unit offers the same confident yet smooth feeling under full throttle.
The vehicle needs around 7.7 seconds to accelerate from naught to 60 mph on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 112 mph. You won’t miss the extra kick as long as you’re not racing a 2014 BMW X5 .
The unit sends power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with torque converter and Intelligent Shift Control that can be had with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.
The latter is aided by the same Active Torque Control system that varies torque distribution, allowing the SUV to deliver proper ride quality based on driving dynamics and road conditions.
While the base RX 350 kept its six-speed box, the F Sport gained an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The gearbox provides the sportier model with greater acceleration and helps boost fuel economy from 24 mpg to an EPA-estimated 26 mpg.
2015 Lexus RX 350 - Drivetrain Specifications:
|Type||60° V6, aluminum block and heads|
|Displacement||3.5 liters (211 cubic inches)|
|Valvetrain||Four cam, four valves per cylinder, with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)|
|Horsepower||270 hp @ 6,200 RPM|
|Torque||248 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM|
|Emission Rating||Certified Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV II)|
The 2015 RX 350 starts at $41,705, which represents a $1,305 increase over the previous model. However, the extra amount may go unnoticed considering that the vehicle’s new standard display screen and backup camera were previously optioned for $2,775. The all-wheel drive will fetch an additional $1,400, setting the base price for the RX 350 AWD at $43,105.
Redesigned for the 2014 model year, the Acura MDX boasts an impressive cabin that’s roomy and has seating for seven, a feature not commonly available on other midsize SUVs. Sure, that hurts cargo space behind the third row, but it remains a key selling point. The 3.5-liter, V-6 engine shared with the Honda Odyssey minivan delivers 290 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque while returning 27 mpg on the highway, which places it above many of its rivals.
Priced from $42,290, the MDX can fetch more than $55,000 when fitted with its array of luxury goodies, but value for the buck is really outstanding on this underrated SUV.
Gallery Acura MDX
Far from being impressive by design, the Cadillac SRX shines when it comes comfort, quality and safety features. Its advanced CUE infotainment and long list of deluxe features are among its strong selling points. Although it starts at only $38,530 with a decently-equipped entry-level, FWD model, the SRX becomes a bit pricey up the trim level ladder.
It’s more powerful than most midsize SUVs with a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 in its bay, which allows it to zoom from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds.
Gallery Cadillac SRX
Although it lacks the performance figures of its competitors and comes with very little exterior updates, the 2015 Lexus RX 350 isn’t an SUV you should ignore. At least not if you’re looking for a comfortable crossover that offers a generous list of standard features. The RX 350 is renowned for its luxurious cabin adorned with high-quality materials and modern technology and that hasn’t changed for 2015.
The lack of a third-row seating option could be passed on as a let-down, but think of all that cargo space you can enjoy.
- Comfortable ride
- New standard features
- Plush cabin
- No third-row seat
- Too few exterior changes
- Conservative performance
Gallery Lexus RX 350
The 2015 Lexus RX 350 is the Rx for drivers who want a luxury crossover utility vehicle. Lexus’ top selling luxury utility vehicle provides driving pleasure with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-weather drive (AWD). Introduced last year, the available F SPORT, model exclusive to all-weather drive, adds a fresh, aggressive design inside and out plus changes to driving dynamics.
Drivers and passengers alike will appreciate the convenience of the new standard Display Audio with backup camera.
The RX 350 continues with a silken-smooth 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with 270 horsepower. The standard model (FWD and AWD) uses a six-speed automatic transmission while F SPORT uses eight-speed automatic transmission.
The RX F SPORT is a special model, with an exclusive drivetrain and chassis tuning. It’s the first RX model equipped with an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, and it exhibits a greater appetite for the road with split-spoke 19-inch wheels and F SPORT tuned suspension. The F SPORT is clearly the driver’s RX 350, yet still a crossover that coddles passengers in quiet comfort.
The eight-speed transmission not only makes the RX 350 F SPORT more responsive, but also boosts EPA highway fuel economy estimates from 24 mpg to 26 mpg.
The Lexus signature spindle grille gets the distinctive mesh style finish with the F SPORT, which is also distinguished by its own front bumper design. The F SPORT interior stands apart, as well, its black or cabernet leather accented by contrasting silver stitching, ebony bird’s-eye maple wood trim, black headliner and aluminum pedals and footrest.
The F SPORT steps up the standard luxury by including all features from the Premium and Comfort Packages, which remain options for the standard model. The Premium Package equips the RX 350 with a perforated leather-trimmed interior, power moonroof, memory system for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and more. The Comfort Package adds heated and ventilated front seats, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers.
Intelligent All-Weather Drive
With available Active Torque Control All-Weather Drive, the RX 350 is ready for any weather. The electronically controlled system can vary the torque distribution from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 split between front and rear wheels. When accelerating, or starting on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, prioritizing fuel efficiency.
Where Agility Meets Versatility
The deft balance of excellent handling with serene ride comfort that Lexus achieved with the RX 350 reflects the brand’s obsessive attention to true luxury. For example, the front suspension coil springs are inversely wound and compress in opposite directions. That arrangement prevents the negative effects of suspension compression on steering, helping to result in enhanced straight-line stability.
The double-wishbone rear suspension would be right at home in a razor-sharp sport sedan. In the RX 350, the rear suspension design has the added benefit of yielding a wide, flat rear cargo area. The benefit is impressive: with the 40/20/40 split rear seat in use, the RX 350 offers 40 cu. ft. of carrying space. Folding all sections of the rear seat doubles that.
High Standard of Luxury
Lexus interiors have set new standards in design, materials, standard features and details, and the RX 350 shows why. The 10-way power front seats, ebony or espresso bird’s eye maple and dual-zone automatic climate control system set the tone for the luxury found throughout the cabin. The RX 350 upholds another Lexus tradition, the inclusion of Display Audio with Rear Backup Camera as standard equipment. The 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System offers a multitude of music source choices, including a CD player, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, Bluetooth® audio streaming and USB/iPod® control.
For the ultimate in mobile sound, Lexus exclusively offers Mark Levinson® audio systems, a brand revered by audiophiles. The RX 350’s optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system will delight discerning ears, no matter the music choice. The system delivers 330 total watts of power through a 15-speaker array with an incredibly low 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD).
The standard SmartAccess system combines push-button starting and touch-sensitive exterior door handles. When the driver turns off the ignition, the seat automatically slides up to two inches rearward and the power tilt/telescoping steering wheel tilts upward and slides forward to ease exit. The next time the driver is seated and pushes the “On” button, the seat and steering wheel return to their preset positions automatically.
Exemplary Safety Features
All Lexus RX models are equipped with 10 standard airbags, including side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, rear side airbags (for the outboard seating positions) and knee airbags for the driver and the front passenger.
Options help the RX 350 driver see more clearly, and to be alerted to things not seen but may pose a danger. The Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling directly ahead. The radar sensor can detect certain obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer uses various sensors to help determine whether a collision is imminent. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.
Connected, Informed and Entertained
The RX 350 driver and passengers open a world of connectivity and entertainment features when they step inside this luxurious vehicle. When equipped with the optional navigation package, the RX 350 comes with Lexus Enform that can make a compatible Bluetooth smartphone even smarter. The available Enform service, with Destination Assist, eDestination, and App Suite, comes with the Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package. Lexus Enform provides access to the subscription-free App Suite. These voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing™, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com™, listen to Internet radio, including , Pandora®, and iHeartRadio™, search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on Facebook Places™.
Subscription-based Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles, while the RX 350’s telematics system, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect® is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. Both subscription-based features come with complimentary one-year trial subscriptions. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week—every day of the year.
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services including NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. SiriusXM services offer complimentary one-year trial data subscription.
The Lexus RX 350 features Siri® Eyes Free Mode technology licensed from Apple®. Compatible with the iPhone® 4S and iPhone 5 models forward, Siri lets you call contacts, select and play music from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation through Siri and Apple maps, and much more. To help you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, Siri can read notifications and calendar information and allow you to add reminders, calendar appointments and notes.
Using high-intensity LEDs for high contrast and readability, the available Heads Up Display (HUD) projects high-contrast white figures onto the windshield for speed, navigation and audio settings.
Rear-seat passengers will find the comfort in nearly 37 inches of legroom in the RX 350. The optional rear-seat entertainment system gives that roominess even more purpose. Each of the system’s two high-resolution seven-inch screens (one on each of the front seatbacks) can display video from a separate source, and the passengers can listen to audio through the wireless headphones.
New for 2015
Standard Display Audio with seven-inch screen for all models
Available F SPORT offers rich Cabernet leather-trimmed interior
Available Premium and Luxury Packages offer a triple-split five-spoke wheel with light gray paint and machined finish
Available HID and LED headlamps paired with LED foglamps
Available navigation system features updated Remote Touch interface knob for improved ergonomics