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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
smooth and free-revving
Kelley Blue Book
still efficient for such a powerful SUV
easy to drive...with light steering and responsive brakes
Automotive experts at TheCarConnection.com find few complaints about the 2008 Lexus RX 350 in terms of power and performance.
Automotive.com reports that the Lexus RX 350 is "powered by a 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 engine that delivers 270 horsepower...[which] takes the RX beyond snappy to a feeling of real power without sacrificing the trademark smoothness...[it] is so powerful that it responds aggressively, even abruptly, to anything more than a bit of gas [and] takes a bit of practice to adjust to the throttle response." According to Kelley Blue Book, it only gets better from there: "smooth and free-revving, it makes a very enthusiastic 251 pound-feet of torque.” Edmunds says, “Performance is swift and silent.” Truck Trend notes that the V-6 "harnesses the benefits of advanced technologies to optimize performance, fuel economy and low emissions...enabling the Lexus RX 350 to sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 7.3 seconds for the FWD model and 7.4 seconds for the AWD model."
The Lexus RX 350 2008 transmission is equally impressive: Automotive.com reports
"the five-speed automatic makes good use of the power from the RX 350's engine...it quickly kicks down a gear or two when the driver dips the accelerator, and holds that gear all the way to the redline when the pedal is floored, before shifting up smoothly and smartly." Kelley Blue Book tells us that "included in the Lexus RX 350 2008 Performance Package is sequential shifting."
The RX doesn't offer the big towing capacity or off-road capability of a true truck, but an all-wheel-drive RX 350 handles gravel and snow with ease, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the optional trailer package.
One would not expect a vehicle such as the 2008 Lexus RX 350 to have stellar fuel economy, but this one does reasonably well for itself, according to Edmunds: "fuel economy estimates are down this year due to revised EPA testing procedures, but the RX is still efficient for such a powerful SUV...ratings are 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the FWD model and 17/22 for the AWD version."
The Lexus RX 350’s handling is perfectly predictable, but a little unengaging compared to the likes of the Nissan Murano. Automotive.com reports that "it's easy to drive and easier than most SUVs to park, with light steering and responsive brakes...RX 350 is smooth in just about any situation, [and] travels over rough, broken, pavement without jostling whoever is inside, but it does not float." Cars.com is in agreement on this point: "it handles deep rush hour with light and lively controls and feels nimble." Edmunds suggests "the suspension is tuned more for a plush ride than sporty handling," advising that "those seeking a firmer dynamic should consider the 2008 Lexus RX 350 Performance Package." Nonetheless, it is a maneuverable vehicle: "a relatively compact 37.4-feet turning circle makes the RX 350 fairly easy to maneuver in tighter confines, while the available four-position air suspension can raise itself to clear obstacles, lower itself for cruising and even dip for easier entry and exit," contends Kelley Blue Book.
A versatile all-purpose vehicle, the 2008 Lexus RX 350 performs best as a plush everyday hauler.