The 2010 Lexus RX 350 received a thorough makeover for 2010, gaining a new interior and more luxury and safety features. Still, as the vehicle that invented the midsize-luxury-crossover segment, the RX doesn't stray too far from the formula that made the original RX such an overwhelming success. The RX 350 is an easy choice to live with due to its low maintenance cost, excellent repair and reliability record and outstanding resale value. Inside, the RX 350 has room for five and a cabin that is elegant without being overly complex or ornate. Unlike some luxury makes, the RX model's instruments are relatively straightforward and easy to operate, negating the need to dig through the owner's manual to figure out the simplest task.
In the RX 350, buyers will find a handsomely styled crossover with a soft, comfortable ride, a luxurious, quiet interior and respectable power and fuel economy. The RX is easy to drive, park and maneuver. There is even a hybrid model, the RX 450h, for those who want even better fuel economy. However, the RX is not a sporty crossover. So if you're looking for a dynamic driving experience, a BMW X3 or Infiniti FX might be a better choice.
Interested in the 2010 RX? Here's what you need to know. ...
What We Like
Smooth ride; excellent reliability and resale value; quiet interior; good power and fuel economy; lots of luxury features; hybrid model; highly regarded dealer network
What We Don't
No third-row seat option; not much fun to drive; no V8 or turbocharged engine option; stalk-mounted cruise control switch isn't backlit and is hard to see at night
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The Lexus RX 350 is powered by a silky smooth 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces a respectable 275 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic with direct downshift control sends power to the front wheels, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available, as well. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the RX 350 at 18 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway, with the AWD model earning a slightly lower 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy. The RX 450h hybrid adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter V6, upping hp to 295. The RX 450h earns an EPA-estimated 32 mpg city/28 mpg hwy (30 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with AWD). The city number is actually better than the highway figure due to the electric motor's ability to run solely on electric power at speeds under 25 miles per hour.
Standard Features & Options
The RX 350 comes in one well-equipped trim, but it offers a number of upgrade packages. Standard equipment includes SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button start, 10-way power adjustable driver's and passenger seats with power lumbar support, heated outside mirrors, reclining and sliding second-row seat, 7-inch LCD display for HVAC and audio controls, power tilt/telescoping steering column, premium audio with USB port and 6-disc CD changer, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control and 18-in wheels. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, brake assist and 10 airbags, including rear-outboard-side airbags and a front-knee airbag.
The RX 450h features the same standard equipment as the RX 350 but adds integrated front fog lights, hybrid badging and additional hybrid monitoring instrumentation inside the instrument cluster.
Options for the RX include a choice of soft leather or semi-aniline leather seating, HID adaptive headlights, a power rear lift gate, power sunroof, headlamp washers, AWD, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, 15-speaker 330-watt Mark Levinson audio, voice-activated hard-drive navigation, a rear backup camera, Lexus Enform telematics with Safety Connect (requires subscription), rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Dynamic Radar cruise control, Intuitive Parking Assist (can parallel park the car) and 19-in wheels. A Sport Package adds a sport-tuned suspension, 19-in chrome wheels and a cut-off switch for the electronic traction and stability control.
When new, the 2010 RX 350 sold for between $37,000 and $60,000; the RX 450h sold for between $45,000 and $62,000. As the RX holds its value well, you can expect to pay more for one than for a comparably equipped BMW, Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz SUV. To get a good idea of the RX model's price range, we suggest using the used car values at KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h:
- A recall was issued regarding a possible problem with a defective accelerator pedal that could lead to unintended acceleration. The dealer will replace the pedal assembly and any driver's side floor mat not specified for the vehicle.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
As for safety, the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h score high in NHTSA's crash tests, scoring five out of five stars for the driver and passenger in the frontal crash test, five stars for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in the side-impact crash test and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the RX its highest ranking of Good in the frontal offset crash test, side-impact crash test and roof-strength test.
The Lexus RX 350 comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a 6-year/70,000-mile drivetrain warranty. The hybrid model includes an additional 8-year/100,000-mile warranty for the hybrid components. If you purchase your RX through an authorized Certified Pre-Owned program, Lexus extends the warranty to three years/100,000 miles from the time you purchase the vehicle. It also includes complimentary roadside assistance, loaner-car coverage and Trip Interruption insurance that will reimburse you for food and lodging up to three nights should your RX break down while you are away from home.
Other Cars to Consider
Infiniti FX -- The FX is sportier and more powerful than the RX, but its interior is smaller, its ride rougher and its cargo hold smaller.
BMW X3 -- The X3 isn't as comfortable or roomy as the RX, and its resale and reliability ratings are not as impressive. But the X3 is a better driver's car.
Acura RDX -- The RDX has equally good reliability and resale values, offers a turbocharged engine and is more fun to drive. But the RX has a bigger interior, a softer ride and gets better fuel economy.
Unless you need the added traction of AWD, we think a nice front-wheel-drive RX 350 with the Premium Package (leather seats, sunroof, power rear lift gate and iPod interface) along with the Navigation package will bring a very nicely equipped RX at a reasonable price. Those looking for a sportier drive should seek out the RX with the optional Sport Package.