2023 Lexus Rx 350 Edmunds Review – Vehicle Test Editor Kurt Niebuhr has been in the automotive industry since 2005. Kurt is a car photographer by profession and now one of their performance test drivers.
In recent years, the Lexus RX has had three main attributes that have won over midsize SUV buyers: distinctive styling, a below-average price, and the perceived reliability of its parent company. But the drive wasn’t all that exciting either, let down by a non-touchscreen infotainment system with a frustratingly confusing user interface.
2023 Lexus Rx 350 Edmunds Review
At least those are the traits exhibited by the previous generation RX, which dates back to 2016. Lexus will debut a redesigned RX for 2023, packed with new powertrains and other improvements. Chief among them is –
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We’re covering the standard 2023 Lexus RX 350h Hybrid, but you should know that there’s also the standard RX 350 with the new turbo engine, the RX 450h+ Plug-in Hybrid (or PHEV), and the RX 500h Performance Hybrid. Everything is covered on a separate page.
The 2023 RX 350h replaces last year’s RX 450h, as the 2023 450h+ is now a plug-in hybrid. The RX 350h uses a more traditional hybrid powertrain, although unlike last year’s model, it now uses a 2.5-liter inline engine instead of a V6. Therefore, we can expect slightly better fuel consumption than last year’s model. Final EPA estimates have not been released, but Lexus expects 33 mpg combined, compared to the last model’s 30 mpg combined.
Still, the RX 350h makes far less horsepower — 246 horsepower — than the RX 450h, which is rated at 308 horsepower. If that’s not enough, the new 2023 RX 500h F Sport Performance, with 367 horsepower and 406 Nft of torque, is worth a look. Power is fed through a continuously variable automatic transmission. The RX 350h comes standard with four-wheel drive, and despite the horsepower losses, the Lexus’ 0-60 mph time of 7.4 seconds is on par with the last hybrid RX we tested.
The RX 350h doesn’t just change the powertrain, it changes the entire RX experience. After getting behind the wheel of the 350h, we felt that this model best represented the new RX, combining efficiency with the comfort features we’ve come to expect from Lexus. Buoyancy control is excellent. Even with the added weight of the hybrid powertrain, the 350h never felt too soft or lacked composure on winding back roads. The steering wheel is well adjusted, precise and not too light or heavy, regardless of the selected driving mode.
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Of course, the combination of a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) doesn’t usually make for the smoothest or most refined powertrain, but Lexus has done its thing. We’ve found this clutch to be less than comfortable in other Toyotas, but with the added isolation the RX provides, the engine’s rough and sometimes rumbling nature is completely eliminated in typical driving conditions. The extra boost of the hybrid system also translates into a little extra boost, making the hybrid very easy to drive.
It may not look radically different from the outgoing RX on the outside, but it sure does on the inside. The experience is dominated by a fully digital dashboard combined with a 9.8 or 14-inch landscape-oriented touchscreen. Everywhere you look, it’s a step forward compared to its predecessor, and the RX’s interior feels more youthful and luxurious. Even with its most luxurious equipment, the new RX will never look or feel like your elderly aunt’s old Lexus. The build quality, as you would expect, is outstanding.
The new chassis gives the RX a slightly longer wheelbase, and that pays off in rear-seat legroom. We had the opportunity to spend almost an hour in the back seat of the RX and noticed the excellent legroom and comfortable profile of the rear seats themselves. Unlike the outgoing model, Lexus had no immediate plans to offer the RX with a third row of seats.
Lexus has finally done away with the much-maligned touchpad controller that made the old RX’s user interface so clunky and difficult to interact with. Instead, it uses a simple touchscreen, although it does have a couple of physical dials that let you quickly enter your desired temperature for the front-seat climate control system. We’ve tested this interface in several recent Toyota and Lexus products, including the new Toyota Tundra and Lexus NX, and while it’s not as user-friendly as we’d like, it’s much easier to navigate through the menus.
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Navigation is available, but only with a subscription, similar to satellite radio. While we’re not entirely sure how it will work with Lexus customers, we’ve found the system to be easy to read at a glance and very accurate. Audiophiles can rest easy knowing that the new RX continues to offer the excellent Mark Levinson system with 21 speakers, 1,800 watts and a 9-inch woofer.
Standard on all RX models is the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, an advanced driver assistance package including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, emergency turn assist, lane keep assist and adaptive lane control. We had plenty of time to experience the RX’s adaptive cruise control and lane centering and how smooth and impressive they are. While we’re not keen on the multi-function touch-sensitive steering wheel pads that activate the system, it was certainly a stress reliever on longer stretches of road, and it’s nice to see a safety kit as standard.
Along with the welcome changes brought by the redesign of Lexus’ popular mid-size SUV, the 2023 RX 350h Hybrid also combines spirited performance with fuel efficiency.
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Redesigned 2023 Lexus Rx First Drive
Lexus RX 3504.3 average rating from 30 reviews. From $45,920 Lexus RX 450h 3.9 average rating from 7 reviews. $48,720 Lexus RX 450h+ Lexus knows how to make a luxury SUV and this version is no different. Edmunds took a look at the 2023 Lexus RX 350 SUV to review its upgrades. What are the biggest changes customers will notice in the redesigned SUV?
Ultimately, Edmunds couldn’t find much to dislike about the 2023 Lexus RX 350. In fact, he credits three key features that make the Lexus more desirable than similar midsize SUVs. It offers quality Lexus styling, a reasonable and below-average price, and the reliability the automaker is known for. Although the RX isn’t known for being an exciting drive, Lexus has completely redesigned the SUV for 2023.
The touchpad controller is one of the biggest complaints about the RX 350. Edmunds actually calls it the “hated touchpad controller.” In previous years, the clunky touchpad controller made navigating the menus difficult. By removing it, a new digital dashboard replaces the current setup. Buyers can choose between a 9.8-inch or 14-inch touchscreen display. Two actual buttons allow you to change the temperature. More on internal updates later.
You’ll be happy to know that Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard on the 2023 Lexus RX 350. This includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and emergency steering assist. The Lexus also includes lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, which Edmunds found useful.
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Lexus also has intelligent high beams for better visibility in many conditions. It can detect when high beams are needed and temporarily turn off the lights if the system detects another vehicle. Lexus has some more advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) under different names, but all systems help keep you safer.
Traffic Sign Assist uses cameras to provide better information about traffic signs. The system displays speed limit information and signs on the main screen.
2023 @Lexus RX First Drive Review: Turbo? Hybrid? Why not both? https://t.co/hwPfmtpbc3 pic.twitter.com/NBrK4bjhbQ — CNET Cars (@CNETCars) September 17, 2022
After removing the touchpad system, the interior of the RX 350 looks quite different. Additionally, the RX joins the modern era with a new horizontal touchscreen and fully digital instrument cluster. The old screen has retained the SUV in many ways, but those days are over.
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“Everywhere you look, it’s a step up from its predecessor, and the RX’s interior feels more youthful and luxurious.” Edmunds
The RX 350L model has three rows, and the RX 350h Hybrid is obviously a hybrid variant. If you want to go all the way to the RX 450h and RX 450hL models, there are two more hybrid options waiting for you. In addition, the high performance hybrid RX 500h will be launched soon. Bottom line, Lexus is ready to tempt anyone with the RX 2023. Labeling the RX 2023 as “the next generation of luxury” is raising the bar, but Lexus seems ready for it. The redesigned 2023 Lexus RX has finally ditched the much-hated TouchPad
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