2010 Lexus RX350


2010 Lexus RX

By Casey Williams
Like Toyota, when Lexus finds a cocktail that works, it grabs hold like a drag queen clinching a microphone. Lexus virtually invented the luxury crossover when it debuted the RX300, based on the Camry, in the late ‘90s. Equal parts SUV and sedan, it was perfect for aging baby boomers and young co-habitators. Two more generations followed. If a queen needs to shift her stuff around, the 2010 RX350 is ready to assist.

2010 Lexus RX

Over the years, the RX underwent a couple of face lifts and undercarriage reconstruction, but has emerged as a beauty of timeless proportions. As a crossover, the vehicle sits high enough to clear snowy roads while not requiring a stagehand for entry. Style is more expressive than past models with an aggressive Lexus grille, strong shoulder line, steeply raked rear glass, cat-eye taillamps, and available 19” alloy wheels. Subtle chrome glitzes up the lower bodysides, encircles the windows, and accentuates the luggage rack.
During my time with the RX350, I moved a couple of queens (my friends) and our family’s head queen (mainly, my gracious grandmother). Whether using the power lift gate to toss in my grandma’s walker, or my friends ensconcing themselves in comfortable leather seats (heated and cooled in front), everybody was content.

2010 Lexus RX

Why shouldn’t they be? Our test vehicle delighted the ears through Lexus’ Premium Audio System with automatic sound levelizer, 6-disc changer, XM Satellite Radio, and bluetooth connection for cell phones. It, along with the climate and NAV systems, are controlled with Lexus’ version of a mouse in the center console. Positive clicks let you know when you’ve selected what you want. It is as if Apple re-invented BMW iDRIVE. Lexus’ version is just as cool, but actually works without orientation classes. Front and rear cameras and sensors protect the RX’s delicate body.
Making all of this suaveness get nasty with itself is a smooth-running 3.5-litre V6 engine, producing 275 horsepower, that can move an RX like a sport sedan while hauling a full load of costumes (or camping gear). It feels hybrid smooth off the line, always has plenty of testosterone in reserve, and achieves 18/24-MPG city/highway. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard; all-wheel-drive is optional.
Enthusiasts will undoubtedly continue to complain about Lexus’ preference for perfection over driver engagement with the road, but nobody ever claimed Lexus was relentlessly pursuing a Formula 1 career. Steering is light, but precise. The four-wheel independent suspension system rumbles over rough patches with barely a shudder. Thick glass, a stiff body structure, and ample insulation insure nothing but intended sounds enter the posh concert hall of a cabin. Electronic stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and all-speed traction control keep this rolling stage of delight heading in the right direction.
I only have one little complaint. One morning, after getting in late the night before from a two-day trip, I hurried to the RX with cell phone and power cord in hand. My battery was running low and I needed to get the phone fired up for a busy day. I opened compartments, slid cupholders, looked under the center console, and tore the rear armrest apart – all to no avail. I could not find a cigarette lighter outlet anywhere. Fortunately, Lexus engineers installed a couple of 120-volt home-type outlets. Perfect – if I had only known. Now I do, and am most-appreciative.
Some entertainers and a few automakers pursue perfection to the point of being unrecognizable and over-done. Lexus has hit the sweet spot with the RX350 in that it is recognizable, advancing the art of luxury crossovers, while keeping loyal buyers interested. It has polished its act enough to stay in front of flattering imitators from Audi, Lincoln, Acura, and Cadillac. Prices start at $38,200 with AWD, but our loaded test model came to a whopping $52,140.
The 2010 Lexus RX is also available as a hybrid – the 2010 Lexus RX400h.

Photos Courtesy of Lexus

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