2016 Lexus RX Driving Impressions

Reaching beyond daring good looks, the 2016 Lexus RX amps up the driving experience. Especially in F Sport form, it provides greater communication with the road. Still, there’s no doubt that RX aims primarily at comfort, utility, and practical virtues.

With its V6 developing 295 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, a front-drive RX 350 can reach 60 mph in a brisk 7.7 seconds, delivering a smooth, nicely-controlled ride. A pre-loaded front differential on all-wheel-drive models helps stability and start-off performance.

Lexus softened the front suspension somewhat, seeking enhanced steering feedback about the road surface. New look aside, the RX 350 is still a pleasant-driving midsize crossover SUV.

The RX 450h hybrid uses a different version of the V6, making 259 horsepower. With its planetary drive system, the RX 450h is able to start off on battery power alone at low speed. All-wheel drive versions get a separate electric-motor drive unit for the back wheels.

Both the RX 350 and RX 450h get Normal, Eco, and Sport modes, which affect powertrain response, steering effort, and air conditioning operation. F Sport versions get additional driving modes. An EV Mode lets the RX 450h fall into quieter all-electric operation.

Fuel economy is about average for the RX 350, EPA-rated at 20/28 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive, or 19/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. The RX 450h is EPA-rated at 31/30 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive, 30/28 mpg with all-wheel drive.

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