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QUALITY | 9 out of 10
Surprised by the amount of road noise that made its way into the RX's cabin
Boasts available finery such as leather upholstery
Road & Track
An additional 40 cubic feet of space over the outgoing model
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 has a lot going for it in this category, including vastly increased storage space, but in a major setback compared to the outgoing RX Lexus, the 2010 edition is uncharacteristically noisy.
Before delving into the Lexus RX 350's shortcomings (which shouldn't take long anyway), it's worth addressing its many strong suits in terms of comfort and quality. The first is evident as soon as you sit down in the front seats, which Cars.com says "have soft cushioning and are comfortable. Power operation is standard, but leather upholstery is optional," while "length-adjustable seat cushions for greater thigh support are newly optional." Edmunds notes that the "five-passenger seating layout" in the 2010 Lexus RX 350 is virtually unchanged, aside from the fact that there's a "0.6-inch increase in front legroom." In the backseats, Edmunds reports that the 2010 Lexus RX 350's wider track means that "rear shoulder room edges up slightly," but most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com express disappointment at the lack of a third row. Cars.com states that "the redesigned [Lexus RX 350] doesn't offer a third row, which the [Acura] MDX includes as standard equipment." Overall, however, by keeping the RX Lexus down to just two rows, Lexus can offer "generous passenger room" for all five passengers, notes Road & Track.
Despite only marginally increased dimensions, the 2010 Lexus RX 350 boasts a significantly larger cargo space. Autoblog says the Lexus RX 350 has "an additional 40 cubic feet of cargo space over the outgoing model," although Edmunds reports that "cargo volume with the rear seats folded down drops more than 4 cubic feet to 80.3." Edmunds attributes the increase in full-seating-capacity cargo space to the elimination of "strut towers," which makes the cargo bay "larger...and more usefully shaped." Inside the cabin, MotherProof points out that "there's a new storage space beneath the center console for a large purse...[and] also new underfloor storage in the cargo area for smaller items."
Interior materials are, for the most part, up to Lexus's high standards. Cars.com reviewers find that the interior of the 2010 Lexus RX 350 "makes wide use of soft-touch materials," although, unusually, "leather upholstery is optional (cloth seats are standard)." Car and Driver adds that "the leather feels softer than ever, especially the new optional semi-aniline variety," while "the seats have been redesigned to spoil backs and backsides better than an army of Swedish masseuses." The LED screens are also standouts, according to a Jalopnik reviewer who says, "a white Organic LED multi-informational display ensures exceptional readability from a wide angle."
The one unexpected downside to the new RX Lexus lineup is the intrusion of road noise into the cabin. Car and Driver says that "each RX [they] drove exhibited considerable wind noise emanating from the A-pillar area at highway speeds." Cars.com reviewers mention that the "noise from bumps was quite pronounced too," in addition to the road noise noted by the Car and Driver folks.
Crossover utility vehicles like the RX can straddle a fine and finicky line between comfort and safe handling, with some too bouncy and queasy and others too stiff and jarring. But the RX 350 strikes a great balance, with ride comfort an especially appealing attribute for the RX 350. Cars.com comments that the Lexus RX 350 "has a taut ride, but it's not firm to the point of being harsh" and "overall, the suspension absorbs bumps well."
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 does almost everything right inside, except for an unexpected dose of road noise.