The 2010 Lexus RX 350 should appeal to luxury crossover SUV shoppers seeking top-notch materials and build quality, a smooth and comfortable ride, plenty of premium features, robust acceleration, composed handling, and excellent crash safety scores.
Fully redesigned for the 2010 model year, Lexus' popular RX continues to place its priorities on pampering occupants rather than on exciting performance dynamics. Surrounded by luxurious cabin features, cushioned in a soft and refined drive, and with a build quality that's hard to match, 2010 RX 350 owners will likely be very pleased once again.
And not sitting on its laurels, the 2010 RX 350 sports a new 6-speed transmission, larger standard wheels (18 inches versus 17), larger brakes, a keyless ignition system, additional airbags (now 10) and a new user-friendlier multifunction controller for the navigation system.
Handling and athleticism has also been improved thanks to revised steering and a revamped suspension. The new double-wishbone rear suspension is also a more compact design, allowing the additional bonus of extra cargo room behind the seats.
While the new RX 350 is a leader in its class, there are alternative choices worthy of consideration. Luxury SUV shoppers who value a more dynamic driving performance may want to take a look at the BMW X5, the Acura MDX and the Infiniti FX35. For those requiring a third-row accommodations, solid choices would include the Cadillac SRX, Volvo XC90 or Mercedes-Benz R350.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 is a 5-passenger midsize luxury crossover SUV with standard features that include 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, wood interior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, sliding and reclining rear seats, Bluetooth and a 9-speaker audio system with a CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.
A number of optional packages are available. The Sport package includes a sport-tuned suspension, Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system and 19-inch wheels. The Premium package includeds leather upholstery, driver memory functions, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an iPod input/interface and a power rear liftgate.
Several other packages are offered in conjunction with the Premium package. The Comfort package adds heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and bi-xenon adaptive headlights. Tthe Luxury package includes upgraded leather upholstery, a wood and leather steering wheel, extendable front seat cushions, a side-monitoring system, retractable exterior mirrors and 19-inch wheels. The Navigation package adds a hard-drive-based navigation system, upgraded speakers and a back-up camera.
Available stand-alone optional features include a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, a head-up display, park assist, a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system and a Pre-Collision System which tightens the seatbelts and prepares the brakes when an imminent collision is detected. In addition, many of the package features are also offered individually.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the either front-wheel or all-wheel drive RX 350 is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 275 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and can go from a standstill to 60 mph in a very respectable 7.5 seconds. In addition, a properly equipped RX 350 has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for a FWD RX 350 comes in at 18 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway. The AWD models is rated only slightly lower at 17 and 24, respectively.
Standard safety features include traction control, stability control, antilock brakes (ABS) with brake assist and 10 airbags, including front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and dual front knee bags.
In government crash tests, the 2010 RX 350 was awarded a perfect five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts, as well as five stars for side-impact protection.
Technically, the RX 350 is an "entry-level" luxury SUV, although you wouldn't know it once you're in the cabin. The leather is high quality and the wood trim is the real thing, while the overall look and feel is decidedly luxurious. The design is sleek and modern, and the intruments and displays are easy to see and user-friendly. Further adding to the upscale ambience is the optional Mark Levinson audio system which is one of the best available, as well as the optional navigation system with both voice commands and Remote Touch, a mouse-like controller on the center console.
The seating is particularly comfortable and supportive, especially for rear passengers due to the sliding and reclining seats. The rear seat is also split 40/20/40 to maximize passenger comfort as well as enhance cargo-carrying usefulness. And there's ample storage room with 40 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 80 with them down.
The 2010 RX 350 does a wonderful job of providing a smooth, refined and quiet driving experience. The 3.5-liter V6 provides swift acceleration and the suspension is tuned for comfort. While not engineered as a sport-oriented vehicle, most drivers will be pleased with its confident handling.
And for those who value additional driving engagement and performance, the Sport package's sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels and performance tires does increase the level of athleticism nicely, although not to a level that would attract serious driving-enthusiasts.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
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2010 Lexus RX 350:
RX 350, FWD: list price: $37,625, invoice price: $34,049
RX 350, AWD: list price: $39,025, invoice price: $35,316