New Car Review

2015 Lexus RX: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Lexus RX Models F Sport
Used 2015 Lexus RX Models
$27,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$31,400
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$33,400
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$32,900
RELATED READING
See all Lexus RX 350 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2015

The 2015 Lexus RX crossover SUV is likely to remain a top seller, in part because Lexus knows how not to offend. It seems as if everywhere you look these days, there's some newfangled crossover with polarizing looks to attract attention. That's a good strategy for getting stares, but what happens when it's time for people to open their pocketbooks? The sales charts don't lie: A bunch of buyers will make beelines for their Lexus dealers.

Truth be told, we find the current RX a tad boring, even with the ostensibly edgy F Sport package installed. But for this luxury crossover's legions of fans, the 2015 model should continue to satisfy. The RX 350's V6 is powerful and refined, the RX 450h's hybrid powertrain is exceptionally fuel efficient without sacrificing performance. Additionally, every RX has that smooth ride quality that loyalists expect. Bold new faces may dominate the headlines, but it's the tried-and-true RX that keeps bringing home the bacon.

What's New for 2015?

The previously optional 7-inch central display screen with the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) is now standard, and it comes bundled with 12-speaker audio and a rearview camera. The RTI controller has also been revised for better usability.

What We Like

Satisfying gasoline and hybrid powertrains; excellent hybrid fuel economy; relaxed ride; quiet cabin; big cargo area

What We Don't

Low-mounted rear bench seat; no third-row seat

How Much?

$41,895-$48,595

Fuel Economy

A 3.5-liter V6 making 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque powers the RX 350's front wheels and is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional. The F Sport package features all-wheel drive and an exclusive 8-speed automatic. Fuel economy estimates start at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, while the all-wheel-drive/6-speed combo is good for 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. The winner is the all-wheel-drive/8-speed package (F Sport) at 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

The RX 450h features a 3.5-liter V6 that works in tandem with electric-assist motors and a battery pack to generate a combined 295 hp. All-wheel drive is optional, as well. Fuel economy is a laudable 32 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 30 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Lexus RX comes in regular RX 350 or hybrid RX 450h trim.

The RX 350 ($41,895) includes 18-in alloy wheels, LED running lights, a power rear liftgate and keyless entry with push-button ignition. Inside, the RX 350 has fabric upholstery, 10-way power front seats, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a 7-in central display screen with the mouse-like RTI controller and a 12-speaker audio system with a 6-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary input and iPod/USB connectivity.

The RX 450h ($48,545) adds a unique grille and front bumper, as well as hybrid-specific status gauges, but otherwise it mostly shares the RX 350's equipment roster.

Notable options (many of which come bundled in packages) include 19-in alloy wheels, a sunroof, adaptive xenon or LED headlights, two kinds of leather upholstery, driver memory functions, adaptive cruise control, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 7-in screens, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with an 8-in display screen, voice-command functionality and the Lexus Enform Safety Connect telematics suite.

The F Sport package (only offered on RX 350 all-wheel drive) includes many of the above extras and adds an 8-speed automatic transmission, a sport suspension, 19-in wheels with more aggressive tires, a 115-volt outlet and unique styling details inside and out. A Sport Appearance package adds a similarly aggressive look to the regular RX 350 but lacks the F Sport's mechanical upgrades.

The RX's back seat is, unexpectedly, not a particularly strong suit. We figured this 2-row crossover would lavish attention on its rear passengers, but the bottom cushion is mounted surprisingly low to the floor, resulting in a knees-up riding position for those with long legs. Still, there's plenty of room for adults.

Cargo space measures a generous 40 cu ft. behind the rear seatbacks and 80.3 cu ft. with those seatbacks folded down. Note that the RX 450h has the same cargo capacity as the regular RX 350, because its battery pack is concealed beneath the rear seat.

Safety

The 2015 Lexus RX includes stability control, 4-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes, active front headrests and 10 airbags (front, front side, front-knee, rear-side and full-length side-curtain). The available pre-collision warning system features emergency braking preparation and frontal-collision warning. All models have Safety Connect, which provides access to a 24-hour response center to bring you help if the unexpected occurs.

In government crash tests, the front-wheel-drive RX models received four stars out of five overall, while the all-wheel-drive models got 5-star overall ratings, oddly enough. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave both RX models its top rating of Good in all crash tests.

Behind the Wheel

Inside, our first impression of the current RX was that some of the old Lexus quality might have been lost in translation. Regardless, the RX's cabin emits a palpably premium vibe, and that should be good enough for most buyers. It also offers some of the company's latest tech gadgets, including Remote Touch, a mouse-like infotainment controller that's mounted on the center console. It's not as effective as the best infotainment systems from Germany, but thankfully the learning curve isn't steep.

On the road, the elevated ride height and pillowy standard suspension tuning will be instantly familiar to longtime fans. Lexus hasn't tinkered much with the RX's basic driving formula over the years, but no other crossover has really duplicated it. Road and wind noise are hardly noticeable on most roads. For commutes or family trips, this Lexus is hard to beat.

The RX 350's V6 is essentially a Camry engine tasked with pulling around an extra 500 pounds, so you're not going to set any speed records. But it's a great motor, smooth and restrained yet eager to charge toward redline. It's a highlight of the RX 350 driving experience. With 295 hp on tap, the even heavier RX 450h produces remarkably swift acceleration by hybrid standards, and the continuously variable automatic transmission is quite responsive.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Acura MDX -- Equipped with 7-passenger seating and more engaging driving dynamics, the appealing MDX is a safe and reliable alternative to the Lexus RX.

2015 Cadillac SRX -- Outfitted with a powerful V6, the SRX is ready to rumble with the Lexus, though it's not as roomy inside.

2015 Volkswagen Touareg -- A dedicated 2-row crossover like the RX, the frequently overlooked Touareg is available with an excellent TDI turbodiesel V6, and it has a nicer interior and a more comfortable back seat than the RX.

Used Porsche Cayenne -- You might think that the Cayenne's out of your price range, but Porsche offers a solid certified pre-owned program, bringing a lot of lightly used Cayenne models into play.

Autotrader's Advice

The Lexus RX may not be front-page news, but those who buy them tend to love them. We'd stick with the base RX 350, since it's both well equipped and reasonably priced.

Find a Lexus RX for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Lexus RX Models F Sport
Used 2015 Lexus RX Models
$27,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$31,400
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$33,400
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models AWD
Certified 2015 Lexus RX Models
$32,900
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Lexus RX: New Car Review - Autotrader