When Lexus introduced the RX in 1998, the world was still in love with sedans. Little did anyone know the impact it would have on the industry; it was an instant hit and set the standard for the luxury crossover formula we know today, blending the look and capability of an SUV, the refinement and comfort of a car, and a bit of what makes a Lexus special sprinkled in. Its competitors did not rest on their laurels and eventually knocked the RX off its podium, but it still remains Lexus’ number-one seller. With that in mind, we’ve set out to determine if the 2024 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport 3 still has that winning formula.
With several SUVs and crossovers in Lexus‘ lineup offering multiple powertrains, most of which with some sort of electrification, chances are you’ll find something that will suit your needs. The RX in particular covers most bases, offering gas-only, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid options, but nothing fully electric just yet. It is a big departure from when the RX first launched, with only a V6 engine under the hood.
Lexus’ tried-and-true V6 stuck around for most of the RX’s life serving as the base engine, but since 2022, it is no longer available. Instead, our base RX 350 tester features a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, producing 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. It is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive is standard. Despite this being the base powertrain, it gives the RX a nice push when needed, but if fuel economy is a priority, choose the similarly priced RX 350h. You do give up some power, but you get much better fuel economy in the long run. Those looking for more power and good fuel economy should consider the RX 450h and 500h models.
At first, I was concerned that the turbo-four wouldn’t match the V6 on smoothness and power delivery, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even loaded up with passengers and the cargo area filled to the brim, the engine did not feel strained and had ample passing power. Ride quality was silky smooth and the suspension ate up rough roads with ease. Very little wind and road noise filters into the cabin, too, allowing the RX to retain its claim as a refined and solidly built sport-ute.
Over mixed city and highway driving, we achieved 10.1 L/100 kilometres, which is not far from Lexus’ posted numbers. Officially, the RX 350 is rated at 11.2 L/100 km in the city, 8.4 on the highway, and 9.9 combined. Lexus recommends, but doesn’t require premium fuel for the RX 350’s 68-litre tank. If fuel economy is your top priority, the RX 350h is rated at 6.3 L/100 km city, 6.8 highway, and 6.5 combined.
Following the debut of the fifth-generation model in 2022, the RX 350 heads into 2024 unchanged but remains good-looking. Though some may consider it more of an evolution rather than a total redesign, the new look introduced a toned-down spindle grille and freshened up lighting up front and out back. Maybe it is because we are used to the spindle grille by now, but the RX seems almost reserved compared to other more daring offerings, like the Genesis GV70 or BMW X5.
Inside, the changes we saw in 2022 carry forward into 2024. Everything is placed close to the driver, and the infotainment and layout is much improved over the busy- and dated-looking layout in the outgoing RX, especially compared to the Germans. Material quality is typical Lexus, meaning it’s pretty tightly built and should be squeak-and-rattle-free for many, many years. It’s not the flashiest layout, but our tester’s 14-inch touchscreen infotainment looked great and was straightforward to use. I was also impressed with the RX 350’s heads-up display; it highlights the buttons you are touching on the steering wheel, making distractions minimal.
Somewhat confusingly, Lexus offers multiple trim levels depending on the powertrain you opt for. The RX 350 in particular is available in seven different variants, ranging from the base $59,450 Premium to our fully loaded F-Sport 3 tester, at $74,950 as-tested. Yes, that’s a whopping $15,500 price difference, but depending on your budget and the features you want, Lexus has you covered. And despite the numerous trim levels, Lexus offers no further individual packages or options.
The 2024 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport 3 is a practical choice among the current crop of midsize luxury crossovers. It’s comfortable, good-looking, roomy — and if the base powertrain doesn’t fit the bill, Lexus offers a number of others that would surely fit the bill. While not the most exciting SUV on the market, the RX does everything else you need very well.