Edmunds Comfort and interior quality are still key strengths for the redesigned 2016 Lexus RX 350, but a more carlike driving experience helps broaden its appeal. We think the latest RX is a smart pick for a luxury crossover SUV. vehicle overview Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: The 2016 Lexus RX 350 has an extremely large grille. If that black expanse were any bigger, Stephen Hawking would probably have to be called in to investigate for the presence of a black hole. At the same time, the all-new RX also has enough creases and sharp edges to make one think that Lexus delegated the design phase to a sword-slashing samurai. For a midsize crossover that has been quite anodyne until now, this makeover is bound to be a bit shocking. An expansive new grille is one of the many changes Lexus made to the 2016 RX 350. More importantly, however, there are plenty of substantive changes that make this luxury crossover SUV more carlike and indeed better than ever before. For one thing, Lexus increased the 2016 RX 350's wheelbase and overall length to improve interior space for passengers, while simultaneously raising the ride height and slimming out the roof line. The result is a much sleeker and less SUV-like profile, yet there's still abundant head- and legroom in both seating rows. Up front, the dashboard is lower and the center control stack is more angled toward the driver (who also sits a bit lower), while the improved materials and construction are absolutely first-rate. Most RX models you'll find on a dealer lot will include the Navigation package with its colossal new 12.3-inch display, one of the largest you'll find this side of a Tesla. This display comes equipped with a revised, but still distracting-to-use Remote Touch controller that we think requires more driver attention than it should. In general, though, the new RX's infotainment features have been significantly updated to meet the expectations of tech-savvy shoppers. For power, the RX 350 stays the course with its 3.5-liter V6, but now it makes 25 more horsepower (for a total of 295) and comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission that helps boost fuel economy slightly. Lexus has also retuned the suspension to provide better handling than prior RX models. The RX 350 F Sport, in particular, finally delivers the goods, boasting sharper steering than the standard version, plus an adaptive suspension that yields an impressively controlled, yet still comfortable ride. Ultimately, the F Sport is aimed more at mildly sporty competitors like the Acura MDX than at dedicated performance models, but it's a gratifying drive nonetheless. There are a few reasons to think twice about this new RX. The aforementioned Remote Touch controller is one, along with modest acceleration and limited cargo capacity compared to segment norms. Other choices like the BMW X5, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90 are all worthy of a long look, and a few (including the MDX) offer optional third-row seating as well. But with its long list of improvements, the 2016 RX 350 brings a welcome dose of excitement and modernity while still maintaining the comfort and quality for which it's renowned. 2016 Lexus RX 350 configurations The 2016 Lexus RX 350 is a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV available in two versions: regular and F Sport. The RX 450h hybrid is reviewed separately. Lexus turns its back on the conservative styling of the old RX in favor of a fresh, exciting design. Standard equipment on the RX 350 includes 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, selectable drive mode settings (alter steering, gas pedal sensitivity and transmission shift program), dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat (reclines, slides and folds), and NuLuxe premium vinyl upholstery. You also get a rearview camera, Safety Connect emergency communications (see Safety section), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the Display Audio tech interface (with a knob controller and an 8-inch display) and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, two USB ports and a media player interface. The F Sport is technically a package and includes sportier exterior styling, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, additional drive mode settings, an engine noise enhancer, transmission paddle shifters, special gauges, heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery and special interior trim. Options are grouped into packages or are stand-alone items. The availability of both can often depend on where you live. The Premium package adds roof rails, automatic wipers, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, wood trim and a rear armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package adds, beyond the obvious, the Remote Touch electronics interface, a bigger 12.3-inch display, voice controls, the Lexus Enform App Suite and a 12-speaker sound system. The Luxury package includes the Premium package items and adds 20-inch wheels (with a choice of color inserts), heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, four-way front seat lumbar adjustment, heated rear seats and power operation for the folding and reclining rear seatbacks. The Luxury package can be enhanced with a rear seat entertainment system, which includes two 11.6-inch angle-adjustable screens, a DVD player, an HDMI port and a 120-volt household-style power outlet. Options that require the Premium, Luxury or F Sport packages include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic-view back-up camera and either a regular or panoramic sunroof. There's also a Lexus Safety System package that consists of adaptive cruise control and accident avoidance features described in the Safety section below. Other options include front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free power liftgate, upgraded LED headlights (with 18 individual LED accent lights), a color head-up display, a heated steering wheel and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. - INSTALLED FEATURES: Air Filtration, Front Air Conditioning Zones: Dual, Front Air Conditioning: Automatic Climate Control, Rear Vents: Second Row, Airbag Deactivation: Occupant Sensing Passenger, Front Airbags: Dual, Knee Airbags: Dual Front, Side Airbags: Front, Side Curtain Airbags: Front, Side-Curtain Airbag Rollover Sensor, Antenna Type: Diversity, Auxiliary Audio Input: Bluetooth, In-Dash CD: MP3 Playback, Radio Data System, Radio: AM/FM, Satellite Radio: Siriusxm, Speed Sensitive Volume Control, Total Speakers: 9, ABS: 4-Wheel, Braking Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Front Brake Diameter: 12.9, Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc, Power Brakes, Rear Brake Diameter: 13.3, Rear Brake Type: Ventilated Disc, Armrests: Rear Center Folding With Storage, Floor Mat Material: Carpet, Floor Material: Carpet, Floor Mats: Front, Interior Accents: Chrome, Shift Knob Trim: Leather, Steering Wheel Trim: Leather, Assist Handle: Front, Cargo Area Light, Cargo Cover: Retractable, Center Console: Front Console With Armrest and Storage, Courtesy Lights: Door, Cruise Control, Cupholders: Front, Dimming Rearview Mirror: Auto, Easy Entry: Power Driver Seat, Footwell Lights, Multi-Function Remote: Illuminated Entry, One-Touch Windows: 4, Power Outlet(s): 12V Cargo Area, Power Steering, Power Windows: Lockout Button, Push-Button Start, Reading Lights: Front, Retained Accessory Power, Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Audio, Steering Wheel: Power Tilt and Telescopic, Storage: Accessory Hook, Universal Remote Transmitter: Homelink - Garage Door Opener, Vanity Mirrors: Dual Illuminating, Liftgate Window: Fixed, Rear Door Type: Power Liftgate, 4WD Type: On Demand, Axle Ratio: 3.33, Center Differential: Mechanical, Drive Mode Selector, Battery Saver, Battery: Maintenance-Free, Bumper Detail: Rear Protector, Door Handle Color: Body-Color, Exhaust Tip Color: Chrome, Exhaust: Dual Tip, Front Bumper Color: Body-Color, Grille Color: Black, Mirror Color: Body-Color, Rear Bumper Color: Body-Color, Rear Spoiler Color: Body-Color, Rear Spoiler: Roofline, Window Trim: Chrome, Connected In-Car Apps: Weather, Infotainment: Enform, Clock, Compass, Digital Odometer, Driver Information System, Electroluminescent Instrumentation, External Temperature Display, Fuel Economy Display: MPG, Gauge: Tachometer, Multi-Function Display, Trip Computer, Trip Odometer: 2, Warnings and Reminders: Lamp Failure Low Fuel Engine Oil Coolant, Daytime Running Lights: Led, Front Fog Lights: Led, Headlights: Led, Taillights: Led, Side Mirror Adjustments: Manual Folding, Side Mirrors: Heated, Body Side Reinforcements: Side Impact Door Beams, Camera System: Rearview, Child Safety Door Locks, Child Seat Anchors: Latch System, Crumple Zones: Front, Energy Absorbing Steering Column, First Aid Kit, Impact Sensor: Door Unlock, Rearview Monitor: In Dash, Safety Brake Pedal System, Emergency Locking Retractors: Front, Front Seatbelts: 3-Point, Rear Seatbelts: 3-Point, Seatbelt Force Limiters: Front, Seatbelt Pretensioners: Front, Seatbelt Warning Sensor: Front, Driver Seat Power Adjustments: Height, Front Headrests: Adjustable, Front Seat Type: Bucket, Passenger Seat Power Adjustments: Height, Rear Headrests: Adjustable, Rear Seat Folding: Split, Rear Seat Manual Adjustments: Reclining, Rear Seat Type: 40-20-40 Split Bench, Rear Seat: Sliding, Upholstery: Leatherette, 2-Stage Unlocking Doors, Anti-Theft System: Alarm With Remote, Power Door Locks: Anti-Lockout, Rolling Code Security: Remote, Hill Holder Control, Stability Control, Traction Control, Steering Ratio: 14.8, Turns Lock-To-Lock: 2.7, Front Shock Type: Gas, Front Spring
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