Car Review: The Lexus RX 350 could still be called a premier crossover

If you are wondering what to look for, if Lexus is on your Christmas wish list, then look no further than the 2013 Lexus RX 350.  Photo: 2013 Lexus RX 350 Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, November 26, 2012 — If you are wondering what to look for, if Lexus is on your Christmas wish list this year, look no further than the 2013 Lexus RX 350. Adding some standout tweaks in new styling, the interior is getting a bit of a facelift and there is also the addition of a power lift gate and audio goodies for the technophile driver. 

A new F Sport package comes with better suspension and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Even without the new bells and whistles though, the Lexus RX 350 has always been a go-to option for those luxury “SUV that acts like a car” buyers. 

With a reputation that can’t be argued, the Lexus RX 350 competition is on point too, so there are options to consider from the Infiniti JX35 to the Acura MDX. A bit smaller in size, but still a rival in this class is the Audi Q5 and the Volvo XC60.

The 2013 Lexus RX 350 comes in only one trim so the choice is pretty clear. You get 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, LED running lamps, a rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, a power lift gate, keyless ignition/entry, eight-way power front seats and that includes a two-way adjustable lumbar, leather-wrapped power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Safety Connect emergency communications, Bluetooth phone, and audio and satellite radio.

Interior Lexus Photo: R. Dandridge

There are six packages you can add to the mix like the Display Audio With Back-up Monitor package with a rearview camera, Bluetooth phonebook download, Remote Touch electronics interface, and the Enform suite of app-based features.

With the Premium package, you can add a sunroof, power-folding mirrors, roof rails, a rearview camera, and leather upholstery.

You can add the Comfort or Navigation packages to the Premium package, getting additional automatic wipers, xenon headlamps and heated, ventilated front seats.

For the Luxury package you have to first choose either the Premium, Comfort or Navigation package and then add the luxury aspect with 19-inch wheels, LED headlamps, 10-way power front seats, a heated wood/leather steering wheel, and upgraded leather upholstery.

For the sporty driver, there is an F Sport package with all-wheel-drive as an option and 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, white-accented interior trim and perforated leather upholstery. On the Navigation and Luxury packages there is also the chance to include dual-screen rear entertainment and 15-speaker surround-sound audio.

If that is still not enough, there are several stand-alone options that are quite enticing like the automatic parallel parking system and adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision warning system.

Under the hood, the 2013 Lexus RX 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The standard is a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option.

Lexus exterior Photo: R. Dandridge

 

The 2013 Lexus RX 350 rounds out safety with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side, side curtain and front knee airbags, and the Safety Connect emergency communications system with automatic collision notification, emergency assist plus the add-on adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision warning.

Since most of your time is spent inside your vehicle, the 2013 Lexus RX 350 has you covered with an upscale look that you have come to expect in Lexus, but the technology features also stand out. The wood trim and leather is a step above just “putting it together,” and Lexus folks took time and consideration in their choices with the Mark Levinson sound system, which is touted as one of the top of the line.

The seating front and back offers ample room and the reclining and sliding features also raise the comfort factor for drivers and passengers.

Cargo space is 40 cubic-feet and that is with the 40/20/40-split or 80 when all is stowed and you are in hauling mode.

It is an excellent ride with little outside noise and the kind of acceleration you need no matter where you are driving or what you need to do. You know you are securely on the road driving this one and handling makes this as easy behind the wheel as it is on the eye. 

Should You Need to Know: There is no third-row seat option, but the 2013 Lexus RX 350 is still an easy fit for five-passengers.

 Miles Per Gallon: The 2013 I drove came in at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. 

Cost: With the Luxury and Convenience features on the 2013 that I drove the price tag was $53,865.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings. 

She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

She recently received the 2012 Green Media Award from the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association. Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. Her third book in the Haunted Series was released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.”  Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13. 


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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.

 

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