The 2012 Lexus RS 350 is a relatively safe choice in the crowded premium mid-size crossover segment.
It is aimed at those buyers who appreciate luxury and quality and aren’t too concerned with performance and handling.
That’s not to say that the RX is a dud to drive but if you like to carve up a winding road every so often, the BMW X5 or Volvo XC60 may be more to your liking.
Where the Lexus really shines is its smooth and refined drivetrain, pleasant looks, and a reputation for dealer service and reliability.
The RX 350 as well as its RX 450h hybrid twin are unchanged for 2012 as a heavily facelifted model is just around the corner, so unless you’re in a huge hurry to get a new car or are being offered a great deal we’d suggest holding out until the new 2013 model arrives.
The current 2012 RX range was introduced as a brand new model in 2010. It’s currently in its third generation and offers the choice of a gasoline V-6 or a gasoline-electric hybrid combo, with the latter also utilizing a gasoline V-6. You also have the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations.
Both offer reasonable performance but the standard RX 350, despite offering some 275 horsepower, can feel a bit weak, especially when charging up a hill or driving with every seat filled. Fuel economy comes in at 18/25 mpg city/highway for the most fuel efficient front-wheel drive RX 350.
While straight line speed isn’t the greatest, the transmission shifts are buttery smooth. The cabin also does a great job of muting out noise from the outside world, making long drives very relaxing. The RX doesn't offer serious drivers much feedback in the steering or brakes, though it's better than its hybrid counterpart in that respect.
Like most Lexuses, the interior of the RX 350 is a great place to be and it leaves no doubts as to why it's such a popular model—Lexus’ most popular in fact. Ingress is easy thanks to the extra height of the vehicle, and four adults will be very comfortable, with good knee room in back and in front. The tallest passengers might find it a bit tight on headroom, however. One feature we strongly suggest if you can afford it is the Mark Levinson sound system, which is easily one of the--if not the--best sound systems in this class.
For a more detailed look at the 2012 Lexus RX 350’s styling, quality, safety, and performance, head over to our sister site The Car Connection for the full review.