2014 Lexus RX350 Reviewed: Premium Luxury in a Small, Efficient SUV
As luxury vehicles go, the 2014 Lexus RX350 is getting a little old. This generation of the RX was introduced for the 2010 model year but an exterior refresh for 2012 has allowed the RX350 to stay fresh in a rapidly growing segment that brings versatility and premium luxury to the masses with a long list of options that includes names like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Acura and Cadillac. That refresh – combined with Lexus’ non-stop efforts to be the top dog in the luxury segment in terms of interior amenities – makes the RX350 one of the best options in a jam packed segment.
My test subject for this review was a 2014 Lexus RX350 All Wheel Drive model which carries a base MSRP of $41,160. Options included the Comfort Package ($1,340), the Mark Levinson 15 speaker Sound System ($995), the elaborate Lexus Navigation package that includes the Lexus Enform App system ($2,775) and the Premium Package that adds all sorts of high end goodies inside and out ($2,760). When you factor in the $910 destination fee, my RX350 test vehicle had an MSRP of $49,940 and there really aren’t many items that you can ask for in the new RX that wasn’t included in my test vehicle. “Nicely equipped” is an understatement.
The Lexus RX350 benefits from a 2012 refresh that introduced the spindle grille design language that has slowly spread across the entire brand lineup – and I view that as being a very good thing. The distinct shift among every luxury segment towards a sportier, more aggressive feel has produced a perfect automotive climate for the spindle grille Lexus design and this look is every as attractive on the RX350 as it is the rest of the brand’s lineup. The sporty styling isn’t quite as aggressive as it is through the other modern Lexus models but it is extensive enough that the RX350 fits with the brand’s lineup and stands out in the competitive segment.
The key feature of the 2014 Lexus RX350 is the front end sporting the brand’s familiar spindle grille design with chrome bars running through the middle and a thick chrome trim piece angling down each side making it very clear that this is a luxury model. On each side of the spindle grille, the RX350 has a set of projection HID headlights underlined by a row of LEDs that bolster the sporty looking while the high tech aspect of these headlights helps the accentuate the luxury feel of this crossover. The fog lights sit low in the aggressive front fascia, set into a sharply angled cooling vent. The low, flat front end combines with the aggressive front fascia to give the RX350 a low, sporty stance that I really like. Too many small SUVs have an awkward, upright posture that makes them look clumsy, but the RX350 is not on that list.