Premium midsize SUV; Built in Japan, Canada
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $17,400 – $44,800*


2010 Lexus RX front


2010 Lexus RX rear


2010 Lexus RX interior


2010 Lexus RX profile


2010 Lexus RX front

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Maneuverability
  • Rear-corner visibility

RX offers a winning blend of luxurious comfort, practicality, and build quality while adding welcome high-tech features. The RX 450h’s hybrid powertrain exhibits outstanding refinement. Avoid the RX 350’s stiff-riding sport suspension. This Lexus was one of the first premium-midsize crossover SUVs, and it remains among the best. If you’re considering such a vehicle, put this Best Buy near the top of your list.

Overview

Redesigned for its third generation on the market, the Lexus RX gained freshened styling, new features, and an updated gas/electric hybrid model. Seating five, this premium-midsize crossover SUV came in RX 350 and new-for-2010 hybrid RX 450h versions. Both were available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The 2010 model was about an inch longer in wheelbase and overall length, compared with the 2009 RX. The RX 350 held a 275-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. This represented a gain of 5 horsepower over the 2009 model. The RX 450h paired a 3.5-liter gas V6 with an electric motor for 295 horsepower total, an increase of 27 horsepower over the 2009 RX 400h. Like other Toyota and Lexus hybrids, the RX 450h could run on either or both of its power sources, to balance acceleration and fuel economy. The hybrid model required no plug-in charging and used a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaved much like an automatic. Maximum towing capacity was 3,500 pounds.

Standard safety features included all-disc antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, front-side airbags, and front knee airbags. Also offered was Lexus’ Pre-Collision System, which was designed to tighten the seatbelts and ready full braking power when sensors detected an imminent collision. Hill-start assist was a new standard feature. The available navigation system was controlled by a console-mounted “Remote Touch” module and included real-time traffic and weather alerts. An available side-view monitoring system used TV cameras to show a wide-angle passenger-side view of the vehicle on the navigation screen. Other available features on the 2010 Lexus RX included a hard drive for storing digital music files, dual-screen DVD entertainment, adaptive cruise control, and a sport suspension. RX competitors included the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and Volvo XC90.

Yearly Updates

2011 RX
New standard Start Stop Technology could automatically reduce engine power when the brake and gas pedal were applied simultaneously, under certain driving conditions. Otherwise, except for available body colors, the Lexus RX was largely unchanged following its redesign for the 2010 model year.
2012 RX
Lexus said the 2012 RX 350 could now run on regular-grade gas, though the RX 450h hybrid should still be fed premium. There were no other changes of note.
2013 RX
The 2013 Lexus RX had new front-end styling and a revamped interior. There was also a new F Sport trim level. F Sport additions included a new 8-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, bi-xenon headlamps, sport suspension, and 19-inch wheels and tires.
2014 RX
The 2014 RX included Siri Eyes Free Mode that allowed Apple iPhone users to enable various voice-command functions.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

In the RX 350, a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 produces 275 horsepower, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. In 2012 Lexus retuned the engine so it could run on regular-grade gas, but as a result the horsepower rating dropped to 270. The new-for 2013 RX 350 F Sport used this same 270-horse engine, but with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 450h combines a 3.5-liter gas V6 with a battery pack and electric motor, generating 295 total horsepower and working with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Both models may have either front-drive or all-wheel drive.

dohc V62
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
18/25
18/26
dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 275
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 257
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

18/24

18.4

dohc V63
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 295
Engine Torque (lb-ft)
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

30/28

29.5

1. RX 350, 2010 and 2011 models. 2. RX 350, 2012 through 2014 models. EPA estimated fuel economy with AWD 18/24. 3. RX 450h. Combined gas/electric torque not available.

Road Test

An RX 350 is responsive at any speed, and its alert automatic transmission is quick to downshift for more power when in Sport mode. In standard drive mode, the transmission is tailored toward feather-footed, economy-minded driving. As such, a stomp of the gas pedal is required in order to coax a downshift. RX450h also has impressive thrust and outstanding passing punch. Its CVT transmission is responsive. The well-integrated hybrid/electric powertrain exhibits very little of the surging and bogging typical of hybrid vehicles. In the new-for-2013 F Sport, acceleration is peppy around town. Throttle response from a stop is immediate, almost to a fault, as some testers complained of hair-trigger action. Others voice concerns about occasionally sloppy transmission behavior that included slurred upshifts and delayed downshifts.

Gas-engine fuel economy falls short. In Consumer Guide testing, a front-drive RX 350 averaged 19.3 mpg–not an appealing result. An AWD RX 350 averaged a disappointing 17.5 to 17.7 mpg. The all-wheel-drive F Sport averaged 20.7 mpg, with a slight city bias. Front-drive RX 450h models have averaged an impressive 27.9 to 31.0 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving. Lexus recommends premium-grade gas for 2010 and 2011 RX 350s and the RX 450h Hybrid. Starting in 2012, regular-grade fuel was recommended for the RX 350.

On both RX 350 and 450h models, the ride is absorbent yet composed and controlled–nearly on par with a premium sedan. The available 19-inch wheels (if installed), included in Luxury and Sport Packages, make for a slightly firmer ride. F Sport is stiffly sprung. Bump absorption is quite poor over potholed city streets, and it never fully settlesdown on the highway.

Agile handling is not the RX’s forte, but both RX 350 and 450h are competent enough in routine driving as well as on twisty roads. They exhibit moderate cornering lean but secure grip. The Sport Package and F Sport models provide slightly sharper moves. Steering is fairly lifeless. Brakes are strong, with a smooth, progressive pedal feel.

Overall noise levels are pleasantly low. Both gas engines sound rich and refined under throttle, but the RX 450h’s electric motor occasionally whirs and whines obtrusively. Wind whistle is noticeable at highway speeds from the generously sized rearview mirrors. The Sport Package’s firmer suspension and 19-inch tires induce slightly more road noise. The F Sport is little different.

Backlit gauges are large, well marked, and clearly legible. The dashboard contains many small buttons, but climate and audio controls are grouped separately and colored differently for easier identification at a glance. If installed, the navigation screen is placed conveniently high in the dashboard and deeply inset, so it rarely washes out in sunlight. The Remote Touch control module, which operates much like a computer mouse, is reasonably simple and intuitive. However, versions so equipped strangely separate some climate and audio functions between the on-screen display and traditional switchgear. RX models feature luxurious, high-grade cabin materials, with many soft-touch surfaces and comfortable padding. Some testers have felt that certain cabin color combinations lack contrast and look flat.

Front seats are shaped and padded for long-haul comfort, with an excellent blend of cushioning and support. Plentiful seat and steering-wheel adjustments make it simple to tailor a comfortable driving stance. Even though the rear window is good-sized, visibility to the rear corners is impeded by the roof pillars.

Headroom and foot space are ample in the rear for adults sitting outboard, and the seat slides fore and aft. Sliding it rearward affords decent legroom, even behind a tall front-seat occupant. Entry and exit are easy enough, despite narrow floor passages.

Cargo space is a plus. The rear-seat sections fold with one easy motion and with their headrests in place, though they don’t lay quite flat. Rear cargo-area pull-handles allow the rear seats to be folded from the back of the vehicle–a handy touch. RXs have class-competitive load volumes whether seats are up or down, but their limited height and sloped roof line preclude some tall or bulky cargo. Interior small-items storage is a bit below average for an SUV.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Lexus RX 350 AWD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 8
80%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 8
80%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
70%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 10
100%

Total: 73

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.9 187.8 74.2 66.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
80.3 19.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 37.7 43.1 36.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 RX 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: There may be a significant difference in the heater temperature between the driver’s and passenger’s side due to corrosion building up in the cooling system. (2008-10)
Vehicle shake
Description: Vibrations when turning may be coming from the transfer case of 4X4 vehicles unless the old lubricant is flushed out and replaced with an improved lube. (2008-10)
Water leak
Description: A water leak may develop in the A-pillar allowing water to reach the air/fuel sensor circuit electrical connector and turning on the check engine light. (2010)
Electrical problem
Description: Smart key battery life is shortened if left near items that may emit electrical noise such as TVs, computer monitors, PCs, notebooks, cell phones, cordless phones, microwave ovens, etc. (2010-11)
Entertainment problems
Description: USB and iPod devices may work intermittently on some vehicles unless the multi-media control unit is replaced. (2010)

Recall History

2010 RX350/450h
Description: 2010 RX350 and RX450h Accelerator pedal can get stuck in the wide open position if it is trapped by an unsecured or incompatible floor mat.
2011 RX350 with vehicle dynamics integrated management (VDIM).
Description: The calibration for the hydraulic control valves is incorrect. Due to this condition, there is a possibility that the right front wheel may not be controlled properly during ABS (antilock brake system) or VSC (vehicle stability control) actuation. This could result in increased stopping distances and/or a failure to adequately correct a vehicle slide.
2012-13 RX
Description: Certain 2012 and 2013 model Lexus RX vehicles may have a brake actuator with an electrical component that may experience increased resistance. As a result various warning lights can be illuminated including those for the stability control system, antilock brakes, and traction control. In addition, those systems may become inoperative.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.