Lexus RX 350 F Sport

The SUV market niche has been on the rise for quite some time. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

The fifth-generation 4WD luxury crossover Lexus RX 350 F Sport is just one example. Now in its 25th year of production, it continues to lead.

The RX 2023 is offered in six classes: Standard, Premium, RX Premium+, Luxury, F Sport Handling and RX F Sport Performance. Half SUV, half luxury 4-door, the all-new model fused the select attributes of each genre into a unique, highly versatile package.

The all-new RX features an extremely diverse powertrain portfolio that includes electrified variants as well as Direct4 all-wheel drive and, for the first time ever, a plug-in hybrid electric option.

My tester was powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combo makes 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The electronically controlled, full-time AWD constantly varies front-to-rear driveline power distribution from 75:25 to 50:50 for optimal contact and linear steering feel.

The RX 350 has room for five adults without complaint, as evidenced by a short road trip with the in-laws to the Snoqualmie Casino for a buffet lunch and gamble. All three adults in the second row were comfortable, benefiting from the panoramic sunroof and raised seats. Meanwhile, the Lexus 350 delivered 28 miles-to-gallon fuel economy on the highway. The RX’s refined and soft road handling, combined with plush comfort, made it an all-round hit.

Superior handling is achieved with the RX’s adaptive variable suspension, which offers a comfortable ride, enhanced stability and superior steering response. AVS uses linear solenoid actuators to modify the damping force of the shock absorbers with near-instantaneous adjustments based on driving and road conditions.

Front-seat passengers benefit from superior ergonomic comfort and lumbar support, which come in handy on long commutes or car journeys. Rear occupants can charge their mobile devices on-demand via two USB Type-C ports (there are six throughout the vehicle) with available heating and cooling functions.

Creature amenities include navigation and infotainment systems displayed on a 14-inch glass touchscreen display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi Connect, multi-zone climate control, digital rear-view mirror, wireless phone charger, heads- up display and a premium Mark Levinson12 speaker, audio system.

Lexus virtually eliminates road noise intrusion into the cabin, allowing all passengers to have a pleasant conversation without yelling or getting loud.

The F Sport Performance class brings exclusive front and rear bumpers, as well as a black grille and accents. Exclusive 21-inch wheels together with a “Grecian Water” enamel provide pep. Additional black accents and side sills painted in body color characterize the performance model.

One of the hallmarks of RX’s success is its robust security features. For 2023, the all-new Lexus RX comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, which offers additional features and an available driver monitoring system.

The robust suite is highlighted by all-speed dynamic radar cruise control with cornering speed management, Pre-Collision System with vehicle and pedestrian detection, Proactive Driving Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist, Lane Tracking Assist and intelligent high beam.

Base Price: $57,750

Price as driven: $63,405

The destination fee is included in the basic price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local retailers.

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