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2019 Lexus RX 350 AWD F SPORT Impresses


The more I drive the 2019 Lexus RX 350, the more I am convinced there is no other luxury SUV on the market which combines a smooth powertrain and a refined luxury interior so well. While the German automakers and rival Japanese automakers both have luxury SUV offerings, Lexus just nails it in this category.


A few years ago, I got my first look at the new styling in Raleigh, South Carolina. This new styling is much sharper than the previous generation with its spindle grille and body lines. After a week driving it around, I’m still pretty mixed.

Something I said back then, I think can be repeated.

“I’m concerned the styling is going to polarize people and I’m not sold on the entertainment and technology feature improvements.”

Inside, the once soft lines have been replaced with more rigid styling (aka upscale) and while does create a more premium feel to it, it does lose something. For the record, I’ve driven this model each of the past 5 years and even have been in older models.

It is a bit hard to explain but on items like the seat bolsters, the dash and the center console, the styling is much more squarish than the past models rounded corners. This changing in styling also applies to the dash with its array of dials and the controls.

While the new look is much more inline with current styling trends, I’m still not sold on it.

The looks are one thing, space is another. The 2019 Lexus RX 350 offers a great amount of room and it is quite the spacious cabin. In fact, during our week, we loaded a water heater into the rear end. Now that is something!

Back to the interior and exterior. I have absolutely no gripes on the interior quality as to materials and seat comfort. The driver’s position, while feeling a bit more like a cockpit than I prefer, is pretty good and the button/knob layout is well within reach for most people. Oh and by the way, the auto heated and cooled seat option is pretty cool. Typically, I forget to turn this own and having the vehicle turn them on automatically is handy.


Like the styling, I still feel the same way about the technology. works just fine after getting the hang of it, but the learning curve could be easier.

Our test model came with the 12.3″ Lexus infotainment screen with the excellent Mark Levinson sound system. The system is controlled with a mouse-like controller and while it does work, it isn’t necessarily smooth nor easy to use right off the bat.

The Powertrain!

While I maybe mixed on the exterior and interior styling, I’m absolutely certain I LOVE this powertrain. It is smooth, powerful and even fun. This is one of those vehicles you could drive all day and still enjoy it.

Both the base model and the F SPORT come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 horsepower, 267 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.

The F SPORT version includes Premium package contents, sportier exterior styling, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, enhanced engine sound, transmission paddle shifters, unique gauges, heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery and unique interior trim. The F Sport is also available with all-wheel drive.

It is my favorite version of the RX 350. Fuel economy is 19/26 for the AWD version and 20/27 (city/highway) for the FWD version.

There is a hybrid version as well to help with fuel economy.

Pricing will run from the mid 40s to the mid 50s depending on how it is optioned.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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