BEHIND THE WHEEL: The Lexus RX 350 AWD F Sport combining sport and luxury along with standout improvements for 2023
Welcome to the fifth generation for all those Lexus RX lovers.
I drove the 2023 Lexus RX 350 AWD F Sport for my weeklong test, and I found that most certainly behind the wheel this vehicle offers no less than superb performance and luxury combined.
The Lexus folks acknowledge this year’s offering includes a Lexus refinement that is the brand’s legacy. That includes high-end materials as well as technological, stylistic, and innovative improvements overall.
I can concur and given the fact this easy to love SUV is now in its fifth generation for the core of the model, the complete redesign from the bottom to the top offers a new experience even for tried and true Lexus aficionados.
I was particularly pleased with the absence of road noise that I often find in a number of vehicles I am testing. This one gave me an easy, quiet ride combined with a comfortable cabin experience. So, whether it’s a joy ride around town or a road trip to get in some highway driving, you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.
For competition in the world of the Lexus RX 350 you have the Genesis GV80, Acura MDX, Mercedes GLE, and the Volvo XC90. Each one of these brands certainly have their share of reasons to love. The Lexus in the F Sport trim is a steal however, with its specific sport-tuned adaptive suspension and with the redesign you’ll find seats that are all about offering a big “sporty” hug while not forgetting comfort. This goes for the backseat passengers as well, thus expect an excellent experience all around.
The 2023 Lexus RX is offered in a variety of trims; Standard, Premium, RX-first Premium+, Luxury, F SPORT Handling and RX-first, and F SPORT Performance. The F Sport I drove had plenty of standard bells and whistle with a 9.8” infotainment display size, 12 speakers, a USB connection, USB with an external media control, a power moonroof, hands free entry, reverse tilt dual and heated mirrors, keyless ignition, audio controls on the steering wheel as well as a tilt and telescopic, leather steering wheel, a rear view camera, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, front and rear cupholders, rear ventilation ducts, front and rear door pockets and a universal remote transmitter and turn signal in the mirror. Keep in mind too, other trims offer different standard options and there are additional packages to add on if you desire.
UNDER THE HOOD
You are going to get potent performance here since beneath the sculpted hood is where the action is offering a spirited powertrain ready for action. Indeed, the RX 350 AWD F SPORT's V6 engine packs a punch, with fast acceleration and strong power as needed. This trim has a 2.4L engine with 275 horsepower and 317 pound feet of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed shiftable automatic with standard dual fuel injection. Excellent handling with its performance-tuned suspension and all-wheel-drive system will have you dancing around the corners and on the highway every time.
Safety on this Lexus includes an intersection support, which automatically identifies collision dangers before it happens and alerts the driver to pedestrians and bicyclists at intersections, automatically steering or braking as necessary. There is also traffic jam assist to allow for a safe distance from other cars and at one point the vehicle told me I was not sitting up straight (incorrect) and I needed to stop for coffee (also incorrect). I didn’t like the big brother aspect, but some people need to be reminded they are behind the wheel so in that case safety is a plus. In addition to the standouts all the standard safety features are included on the 2023 Lexus RX 350 too.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS
Seating for five is the norm on this one, and you won’t be disappointed with the plethora of advanced tech features, the user-friendly infotainment system, an excellent sound system and I really appreciated the center console with its spacey size that easily holds two phones and includes two cupholders.
The interior door handles are also worth mentioning since with a simple push and viola it is open. The material used on the interior is impressive as in leather seats and microsuede on the door panels. There is plenty of room in the backseat for overall comfort and the cargo space is a standout at 30 cubic feet when the seats are up.
ALONG FOR THE RIDE
The 2023 Lexus RX 350 F is most certainly performance and luxury driven with a balance that is well-defined. It’s not too sporty and not too opulent making it just right. It’s an SUV that combines the true spirit of the road with that perfect feel of indulgence. Certainly, it is easy to define this Lexus as masterfully crafted and in perfect driving harmony therefore setting it apart from its conservative competitors.
Should You Need to Know: Not only is the 2023 Lexus RX 350 redesigned for 2023, but it is now in its fifth generation and look for the turbocharged four-cylinder engine on some trims.
Miles: The 2023 Lexus RX 350 isn’t bad in the fuel efficiency department with an estimated 24 mpg combined – that’s 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
Cost: The 2023 Lexus RX F Sport price tag is roughly $57,750.
Rita Cook is a member of Women’s World Car of the Year and Texas Motor Press Association. She is the co-host of ECP-TV and has published 10 books, while covering a lifestyle, auto, travel, crime, and political beat for various newspapers and magazines. You can follow her at @ritatheroguewarrior on instagram and @ritacook13 on twitter.