First Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RX350 FWD Luxury Package + Pricing and 100 New Photos

lexus rx 2016


The 2016 RX is huge news: an ultra-modern makeover adds style, tech and efficiency to the all-star crossover from Lexus.

We had a chance to drive all five trimlines last week, and have some great news to report about the handling crispness, exterior design and cabin comfort.

But also some fairly important gripes about the performance and style execution of the new RX — which can leave you slightly confused versus the BMW X5.

Let’s start with the highest-volume model: the RX350 front-wheel-drive. As we can see in the pricing charts below, this $42k base price is the most affordable in the group.  Its siblings ratchet up the costs fairly rapidly to a $56k base for the RX450h F Sport, a new trim choice for 2016 that comes standard with AWD.

Why start with the RX350 FWD, besides it taking the lion’s share of sales?   We’d argue the RX350 is the best balance of luxury, performance and style among the group. So let’s dive in!  100 new photos plus headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.


The RX350 is a rockstar among its 2-million owners for being posh, comfortable and right-sized for a big back seat and trunk. The model is perfect for simple city maneuverability, and is also  exceptionally efficient versus big luxury trucks.

The new design is a bold step for Lexus: the RX and ES are the most traditional models in the Lexus range. Continuing the core existing look for the 2016 ES and RX is the easiest way to keep the devoted owner group happy.

The mid-size luxury crossover market has exploded with competition, however, since the RX essentially created the segment with its 1997 introduction. Sharper looks for the 2016 RX will be critical to attracting outsiders as well as keeping current RX fans engaged.

On the style front, the new RX is a huge hit. The bodywork is exceptionally fresh, cohesive, intriguing and memorable. Every panel is new for the 2016 revamp, and it shows clearly in side-by-side photoshoots below.

2016 vs 2015 (white car is 2016 RX350)



First Drive Review - 2016 Lexus RX350 FWD Luxury Package 64

Design Analysis: Nose


There is freshness in the new RX: the nose is sleeker and more premium, with sculpted and carved bumper details and a fully-integrated spindle grille for the first time.

Previous executions seem somewhat slapped-on to the existing RX face, whereas the spindle is now a defining element of the design.  The standard (non-F Sport) RX models wear a thick sheath of satin pewter brightwork around the spindle, becoming thicker and more pronounced toward the lower section. Gloss black horizontal bars up and down the grille are aero-efficient plus on-trend versus previous chrome waterfall grilles.

The pinched spindle shape of the RX350’s nose is the leading edge of the truck, with angles and creasing originating here like high cheekbones on a supermodel. Another sharp crease and angle flows outward from the focal point and into a newly-sexy lower bumper edge.

The headlamps for 2016 are slimmer and feature standard LEDs for

— the low/highbeams via a bi-LED projector ball

— LED foglamps

— LED DRLs in the form of an integrated arrowhead shaperx 2016

2016 RX — All Models photo highlights

The standard headlights are really underwhelming, to be honest, and are one of the worst parts of the design, to these eyes. Unfortunately, these boring and ultra-conservative lights are standard on all trims.

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