Real-World Review

CPO 2013 Lexus RX 350: Road Trip to Santa Barbara

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$22,989
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$24,491
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$20,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$22,400
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 Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW 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 Josh Sadlier April 2015

If there's one trait I expect our long-term certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Lexus RX 350 to have, it's an affinity for the open road. Lexus has a reputation for building some of the quietest, smoothest-riding vehicles on the market, so it's hard to imagine that the strong-selling RX 350 wouldn't measure up.

But it took me a while to test this theory, because all of my early RX trips were low-speed errands around Los Angeles. Work was pretty hectic; I just couldn't get away.

That's why I jumped at the chance to chauffeur a couple golfing buddies to Rancho San Marcos, a beautiful Robert Trent Jones Jr. design in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Not that the guys would have had to twist my arm otherwise, but I was especially excited because of the extended RX seat time.

Would the RX live up to its luxury-brand billing? Could it curry the favor of three intrepid golfers before and after playing 36 holes?

I couldn't wait to find out.

Golfer-Approved Trunk

Before I get to the driving impressions, I need to give Lexus a hearty shout-out for engineering one of the most golfer-friendly trunks in recent memory. Check out the photo; that's three sideways golf bags on the cargo floor, with room for a fourth and even a fifth on top. Many crossovers these days have thick cargo walls that make sideways golf-bag loading impossible, requiring advanced geometric maneuvering or even a folded-down rear seatback to accommodate three bags. But the RX has space to spare, and that's something golfers everywhere will appreciate.

Cloudlike Ride

Now for some reflections from the driver's seat: The greatest compliment I can give the RX 350 is that it tends to make me forget I'm even driving. This rig settles into such a Zen-like state at 75 miles per hour (a typical flow-of-traffic speed on the 101 freeway) that the rest of the world seems to melt away. You can't hear the engine, the tire roar is muted and there's little wind noise to speak of. Plus, the ride is so supple and lacking in vibration that it's not much different from sitting in your driveway. Ordinarily, I'm a fan of taut, sporty vehicles that make you intimately aware of the current road conditions, but as I drove up the coast that morning and then back down to LA in the evening, I was grateful for our rolling isolation chamber.

So does the RX 350 road-trip like a proper Lexus? You bet it does. And my fellow golfers agreed, lavishing praise on the firmly supportive seats, the serene cabin and the ultra-absorbent suspension.

Fuel Economy Report

Here's the reality in a sizable crossover with all-wheel drive (AWD) and a powerful V6 engine: It's not easy to hit the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy estimates. Against ratings of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for our RX 350 AWD, I measured about 19 mpg at the pump when we got back to LA.

Now, in fairness, the 220-mile round trip only accounted for a little more than half of my total driving for that tank. As noted, the rest was around-town stuff, and in a big bopper like the RX, I'm probably only getting 16-17 mpg with all the stop-and-go action, so it's possible that I got a full 24 mpg on the Santa Barbara leg and that the previous urban driving brought me all the way down. Also, I need more data before I can start drawing definitive conclusions; this was just one tank, and it might end up as an outlier when all's said and done.

But at least, I'm thinking that you don't really need AWD in warm climates, so that's an easy way to save an mpg or two. For fuel-conscious shoppers, the RX 450h gas-electric hybrid would clearly be a better bet, since it's rated at up to 32 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

In any case, the CPO 2013 Lexus RX 350 showed its road-trip mettle throughout our jaunt, and I was duly impressed. I'm starting to understand why the RX is a no-brainer purchase for a wide range of folks across the country.

Find a Lexus RX for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$22,989
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$24,491
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$20,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2013 Lexus RX Models
$22,400
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.
CPO 2013 Lexus RX 350: Road Trip to Santa Barbara - Autotrader