By David Colman
Hypes: All Weather Security, Lovely Interior Finish
Gripes: Premature Intervention of Traction Control
There’s nothing like a week of Pacific storms to make you appreciate the virtues of an SUV like the Lexus RX 350. The RX is surely the prescription to counter inclement weather because it’s full time, active torque control all-wheel-drive never loses traction, no matter how tough the going. Part of the credit for this indefatigable adhesion belongs to the water-clearing tread design Dunlop engineers have perfected on the Grandtrek Touring A/S tires (235/55R19) that grace every corner of the Lexus. The Dunlops are mounted on F Sport 7.5” x 19” dark-graphite finished aluminum alloys that contribute not only to the stability of the RX, but complement its looks as well. F Sport tuned suspension lowers the RX’ ride height, and contributes to its flat cornering stance. This is one SUV that handles more like a sports truck than a semi.
Aside from a slight tendency to pogo over successive bumps, the ride of the RX is impressively comfortable. Wind noise is negligible, rear and side vision is excellent, and the generously sized exterior rear view mirrors do an admirable job of keeping you traffic-informed without resorting to the $500 optional Blind Spot Monitor. In keeping with the high standards of the Lexus marque, the interior of the RX is as welcoming and comforting as a room at the Ritz. If you’re big or tall, you’ll appreciate the fact that the driver’s seat and steering wheel retract to offer additional entry room. If you have no need of this concierge feature, you can easily de-select it from the Customization Menu that covers dozens of similar personal likes and dislikes. A handy mouse on the transmission tunnel suffices for menu navigation. Everything from the auto door lock feature to the duration of courtesy light illumination can be tailored to fit your needs. If you have questions about how to proceed, simply consult the 1,036 (!) page brick of an Owners Manual that occupies more than half of the glovebox.