2010 Lexus RX 350
Apart from the all-wheel drive (meaning most of the time it is front-drive with slippage detection to electronically transfer power from front to back), the ABS, VSC, the air bags, and I don't know what other acronym this Lexus has, the whole thing feels well built and safe. The brakes are strong, even if there is more dive than you would want, the handling does not scare you if you have to pull an emergency swerve, like I did. The view out front is OK, if a little restrictive. But this car did not have the back-up camera or radar. That I would definitely recommend.
But oddly, what made me feel safe was the engine. The 3.5L V6 comes with the standard corporate 275hp with solid torque and tremendous smoothness. And more acoustically present when giving it the boot than I thought. But nicely so. And knowing you have enough power reserves to pass is really a nice feeling and made me feel safer. What I did and did not like was the transmission. Lexus-smooth, oh yeah. Imperceptible shifts. Flawless. Except for the eternity it takes when the gears swap cogs. A torque converter more like a long-winded diplomat. Slow, deliberate and smooth. But also like molasses in January. I like a fast shift. This is not a fast shifting autobox.
These vehicles are the darlings of the upscale mall-shoppers, trophy wives, dentist and doctors and accountants all over the globe. They like it up there. Makes them think they can see ahead into traffic so they know what is going on. They can't change the fact that the idiot in his '91 rusted out Chevy crap wagon with 3 of 4 cylinders barely working has just stalled out on the expressway and blocked everything up for a mile. But the drivers of these Lexus RX350 crossovers like to think being up high is better and safer. Insulated and above it all. Lording over their domain. I won't get into the deficits of a high center of gravity, the propensity to roll and the added weight and fuel consumption of these on-high Lexus vehicles. Why? Cuz their owners do not give a rat's butt. It's not what they think about or care about, even if they do recycle plastics at home. They want to be safe, up high, insulated.
All of the Above
So in the end, I came away impressed with this vehicle for how well it meets its target audiences needs. It is safe, comfy, quiet, and built like a tank. Excellent fit and finish (minus a very cheap piece of plastic where you grip the lever for the arm rest cubby). Excellent ergonomics once you get past the organic cabin shapes. Smooth motor, great safety and traction. Big trunk (with a VERY high lift-over) for those days at Costco or the mall. In short, it has got it all for all kinds of weather and all kinds of buyers. Except for those buyers who care about the fun of driving.