Buying a 2016 Lexus RX 350 is like getting a new RX, but at a major discount. That’s because the RX was completely redesigned in 2016 and is nearly identical to the current 2018 version. That’s good news for bargain shoppers because the RX 350 is one of the best-built and most desirable luxury crossovers on the market.
Unlike RXs of the past, the 2016 RX 350 wears a very bold and daring design, polarizing to some but generally greeted with an enthusiastic thumbs up. In the RX, Lexus manages to walk that fine line between a soft, comfy ride and confidence-inspiring handling. The 5-passenger RX provides excellent amenities for all onboard, a spectacular array of standard and optional equipment and the latest in driver-assist and accident-avoidance technology. There’s even a hybrid model dubbed the "RX 450h" for those who want to be seen and green. Just about the only thing missing from an otherwise excellent roster is the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features you can find on a number of the 2016 RX 350’s competitors.
What We Like
Comfortable ride; confident handling; a near-silent interior; an available hybrid powertrain; excellent history of reliability and strong resale
What We Don’t
Somewhat polarizing styling; a challenging remote-touch interface; no third-row seat option; the voice recognition system needs a hearing aid
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
A proven 3.5-liter V6 engine producing a healthy 295 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque motivates the Lexus RX 350. Power runs to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic that nets an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive version sees a slight drop to 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
The hybrid RX 450h adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter V6 for a net combined output of 308 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 31 mpg city/30 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive or 30 mpg city/28 mpg hwy when equipped with AWD.
Standard Features & Options
The entry-level RX 350 comes with synthetic leather (called "NuLuxe") seating, a rear backup camera, power tailgate, keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver and passenger seats, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, 18-in alloy wheels, an 8-in color screen display with a remote touch controller, an AM/FM/HD/CD radio with 9 speakers and a USB port and heated power adjustable outside mirrors.
The F Sport adds 20-in wheels, a sport suspension, sport drive modes, paddle shifters, enhanced interior and exterior styling, plus leather sport seats with a heating and cooling feature.
The RX 450h and the RX 450h F Sport hybrid models are similarly equipped, though the RX 450h comes standard with a power sunroof, automatic wipers, leather upholstery and ventilated seats.
Most options are bundled into packages and include LED headlamps with washers, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic-view monitor, heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, power folding second-row seats, heated rear seats, color head-up display, rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded power driver’s seat with power lumbar and a power cushion extender, navigation with a 12.3- or 8-in screen, an 835-watt 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system. Advanced driver assists include a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and forward-collision warning with automatic braking.
The Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hold their value better than nearly every other luxury crossover, with the hybrid models holding slightly higher values than gasoline-only variants. AWD models will fetch higher prices in areas where snow is a regular impediment. To get a good idea of the RX’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 2016 Lexus RX:
A recall was issued regarding a sensor failure that may prevent airbag deployment.
A recall was issued for a damaged O-ring in the ABS (anti-lock brake) actuator that may affect brake fluid pressure leading to an interruption in the ABS, traction control or stability control.
A recall was issued regarding a driver’s knee airbag inflator that may leak gas necessary to inflate the airbag, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.
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, they will fix the car at no charge to you. You can also check the NHTSA website; simply enter your vehicle’s identification number for a list of performed recall repairs.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 didn’t earn a perfect score in government crash-testing, but it did come away with an overall 4-star rating, with four stars in the frontal-impact and rollover crash tests and five stars in the side-impact test. However, more intensive testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) resulted in the RX receiving the Institute’s highest rating of Good in the small and moderate overlap crash tests, the side-impact crash test and the roof-strength test. The RX also earned a Superior rating in the crash-avoidance and mitigation tests and was named a Top Safety Pick+ for 2016.
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 left the factory 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 the L/Certified program, Lexus extends the basic warranty to 6 years and unlimited miles from the time the car first entered service. Lexus also includes two years of free scheduled maintenance, complimentary roadside assistance, loaner-car coverage and trip-interruption insurance, which will reimburse you for food and lodging for up to three nights should your RX break down while you’re away from home.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Acura MDX — The MDX offers the same high quality, high resale value and high tech as the RX, but in a larger package that includes a third-row seat.
2016 Audi Q5 — The Q5 is about the same size as the RX, but it offers more subdued styling and a more elegant interior. The Q5 also offers a number of engines, including turbocharged, supercharged, diesel and hybrid options.
2016 Lincoln MKX — The Lincoln MKX may surprise many with its powerful engine options, high-tech interior, impressive handling and low price.
The RX 350 with the Luxury, Navigation/Mark Levinson and Lexus Safety System packages would be our choice. If you live where it regularly snows, opt for AWD and the Cold Weather package.