Lexus RX 350 Performance
Test drivers write that the Lexus RX 350 isn’t a sporty SUV, but that it’s exceptionally comfortable, smooth and easy to drive. However, most write that they recommend against opting for the F Sport trim level, which has an unnaturally harsh ride. Edmunds notes that the F Sport’s performance was actually worse in most of its acceleration and braking tests than the base model.
- "A corner-carver the 2013 RX is not, even with the firmer suspension of the F Sport. If driving excitement is your thing, look to the BMW X3 or Audi Q5.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "We were genuinely looking forward to the promise of a sportier, more dynamic RX F Sport, but it let us down.” -- Autoblog
- "We don't recommend the RX 350 F Sport, as it suffers from an overly firm and poorly damped ride, with no appreciable increase in driving feedback or involvement. Worse still, its handling and braking numbers at our track were actually worse than the regular RX 350.” -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
The Lexus RX 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower. The base model is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while F Sport models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Overall, fuel economy is good, with the EPA rating for base front-wheel drive models at 18/25 mpg city/highway.
Reviewers say the RX isn’t a speed demon by any means, but say that it’s powerful enough for almost any driver. One test driver notes that the F Sport’s paddle shifters seem pointless, since it’s not really that sporty and the transmission does a fine job of shifting on its own.
- "The 3.5-liter V6 is notably quiet, but it's also powerful enough to swiftly accelerate this crossover with ease.” -- Edmunds
- "The RX is not particularly fast but, with a zero-to-60-mph time of 7.7 seconds, it's not achingly slow.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The paddle shifters are a gimmicky add-on. They work well, shifting the wet eight-speed between gears exactly as commanded, but there is no compelling reason to ever use them.” -- Autoblog (F Sport)
Handling and Braking
The Lexus RX 350 comes standard with front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available. F Sport trims come standard with all-wheel drive. Reviewers say that the RX’s handling is supremely smooth and comfortable, but that also means its ride isn’t especially sporty. However, the F Sport’s stiff tuning makes the ride too harsh for nearly every reviewer. Not only do they say that the RX F Sport doesn’t take bumps or broken pavement well, but that its firm suspension doesn’t even help its performance.
- “When it comes to ride quality, the 2013 Lexus RX 350 doesn't disappoint. The compliant suspension and plentiful sound insulation isolate passengers from the outside world in a silent bubble of luxury.” -- Edmunds
- "Soft and smooth is the name of the game for the 2013 Lexus RX. The vehicle doesn't just roll over roads as much as it floats on them. Dynamic, sharp steering and snappy handling are not the RX's forte, though the F Sport model does feel a bit stiffer thanks to a firmer suspension.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Frankly, the ride is too harsh. Much like the automaker flubbed its suspension tuning in early IS Fsport sedans (Lexus recalibrated the model's suspension for 2010 with much better results), this first-attempt RX F Sport needs a bit of tweaking.” -- Autoblog (F Sport)