2012 Lexus RX 350 Styling

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Styling

The 2012 Lexus RX doesn't stand out in any way, and it's the epitome of practical, understated luxury. To some, that's a good thing; but it's worth keeping in mind that over this model's long model run--going back to the 1990s, and one of the first true crossovers--its silhouette hasn't much changed.

In fact, the RX's styling appears to play it safe in most respects--aiming for 'pleasant' more than 'inspired.' In its latest edition, introduced just a year ago, it's become even a bit more conservative-looking, which a slightly more blunt-nosed, high-shouldered look. But it hasn't lost its design essence—the tall roofline and handsome proportions are still in evidence, as is a bit more sculpturing to fit with the latest Lexus theme of "L-finesse."

The RX's shape is familiar for a reason--it's a careful evolution of the look that spawned the luxury-crossover class back in the 1990s.

Refinement remains the RX 350's focus inside. The interior was extensively redesigned, a couple of years ago, and it divides driver controls visually from the passenger zone—leaving a large swath of silver-painted plastic (at a time when silvery-painted plastic is played out, we might add) and a less sophisticated look in the place of the subdued, woody library feel. Up close, the RX's interior materials don't seem quite as rich as before--at least relative to the steadily rising standards for cabin trims.

Hybrid shoppers might be a little disappointed to find that the hybrid RX 450h is almost identical to the gas-only RX 350; differences amount to blue-lit gauges, a tinted grille, and a tweaked front bumper, as well as some optional 19-inch wheels and a few small hybrid logos.

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