Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
A capable performer on the mountain roads of Napa Valley
Fuel economy is up across the range
Satisfying thrust—0-60 mph comes in 7.4 sec.
Road & Track
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 knows its role—comfortable family transport—and performs it well. As long as you don't expect sports-SUV performance, you shouldn't be disappointed by the latest RX Lexus.
Edmunds reviewers report that the 2010 Lexus RX 350 gets last year's 3.5-liter V-6 "and it's only rated for 5 horsepower more and 6 pound-feet of torque more than last year's version made at the same rpm. So that's 275 hp at 6,200 rpm and 257 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm."
Despite the Lexus RX 350's hefty curb weight—front-wheel-drive versions weigh over 4,300 pounds—reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the engine performs capably on the road. Road & Track notes that the RX Lexus offers "satisfying thrust—0-60 mph comes in 7.4 sec." Cars.com also raves about the engine, finding that their test 2010 Lexus RX 350 "[charged] strongly up hills without the 3.5-liter V-6 feeling burdened."
The real improvement on the 2010 Lexus RX 350 comes in the power delivery department, where reviewers love the new six-speed transmission. Edmunds calls the six-speed "excellent," noting that it "offers shifts that are as quick as they are smooth." Cars.com concurs that it "is very well-behaved; during slow or steady acceleration it changes gears smoothly, but when you press hard on the gas pedal it delivers quick, firm shifts that match the urgency of the situation." Car and Driver has good news for drivers seeking a more engaging experience; they report that the automatic has a "manual shift control" feature. As for drive wheels, front-wheel drive is standard, while Road & Track says that "all-wheel drive is optional, and now uses a clutch pack to shuttle torque rearward as needed."
Fuel economy isn't much to brag about on the Lexus RX 350, though it’s par for the course in this class. The official EPA estimates for the front-wheel-drive Lexus RX 350 are 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, while the AWD clocks in at 18/24 mpg. If you're interested in the RX Lexus lineup but want a more fuel-efficient alternative, check out the 2010 Lexus RX 450h, which TheCarConnection.com covers in a separate review.
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 gets a few performance modifications that increase responsiveness and overall drivability without sacrificing ride comfort. Compared to the previous Lexus RX 350, Edmunds says that the 2010 version "has a better feel for the road," with "less body roll" and "better [steering] weighting than the old hydraulic-assist rack." MotherProof is equally impressed, noting that "there's absolutely no roly-poly sensation, even on twisty roads during what we'll call 'spirited' driving." Braking performance is commendable, and Cars.com praises the "natural response" of the brake pedal on the 2010 Lexus RX 350.
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 achieves, for most, a happy compromise between ride comfort and handling, combined with peppy straight-line acceleration.