If there’s one thing that the Lexus RX is known for, it would be refinement. And thus far, it has not deviated from this path, unlike its other siblings.
Indeed, since the first RX I drove back in 2003 to this current model, the RX has only grown plusher and quieter.
It has not gone down the “sporty SUV” or “coupe-SUV” route. At least not yet. This is a good thing.
And if there’s one thing that Lexus is good at, it’s taking a good thing and making it even better. This updated Lexus RX350L is a product of that philosophy.
SPOT THE CHANGES
One look at it, however, might have you wondering what exactly has changed. The arrow-shaped daytime running lights and oversized spindle grille are still there.
It still has chunky wheel arches and L-shaped tail-lights, too.
But according to Lexus, the RX350L’s front and rear ends have been redesigned. The rocker panels connect to the bottom of the grille in straight lines. At the rear, the fenders are now linked to the lower bumper.
The Lexus RX350L’s character lines are now better integrated, making the SUV look stronger. But frankly, regular motorists will be hard-pressed spotting these changes.
I suppose that’s what happens when the design language is very striking to begin with.
The two major improvements to the Lexus RX350L’s cabin are easier to spot.
First, the dreaded mouse-like Remote Touch Interface has been replaced by a trackpad. And second, the infotainment display is now a touchscreen.
Okay, I’ll admit that the second one isn’t obvious till you try it.
Now, while these two enhancements are a good attempt to address the problems of the previous system, they aren’t very successful.
The touchpad, though slightly more accurate than the mousethingamajig, is still not precise. You need a measure of finesse to make sure that the pointer hovers over the correct function.
The Lexus RX350L’s touchscreen is your better option here. It’s not as sensitive as the one on your smartphone, but it’s the better interface.
My sole complaint is that it’s a bit of a reach. It’s probably because the screen was never designed to have a touch function.
As with many other cars today, the Lexus RX350L now also has Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Apart from these, the Lexus RX350L cabin is pretty much unchanged. Which is fine, since it never lacked refinement to begin with.
The front seats, which are ventilated remain well-padded and armchair-like. Second-row passengers will feel quite at home, too. The space here is ideal for stretching out after a long day.
The last pair of seats is still meant for children or very petite adults. But they at least get their own set of air-con vents and controls.
The Lexus RX350L comes with the newest version of Lexus Safety System+. It encompasses an entire suite of functions, which include Lane Departure Assist, and a Pre-Collision System.
The latter helps the driver spot cyclists and pedestrians. I wonder if it detects PMD users as well.
The Lexus RX350L is also equipped with BladeScan AHS (Adaptive High-beam System). It uses a blade mirror spinning at high speed to illuminate hard-to-see areas at night.
According to Lexus it does this without blinding oncoming traffic. Since no other drivers flashed their high beams at me, I can assume it works fine.
The Lexus RX350L has been given a stiffer body, thanks to laser screw welding and spot welding. The Japanese carmaker says it uses more high-strength adhesives, too.
All you need to know, however, is that the Lexus RX350L is a very impressive cruiser.
The cabin successfully insulates you from the outside world, letting you enjoy your Spotify playlist.
And that ride quality is really something you can appreciate. With our increasingly pockmarked and woolly roads, the well-damped ride is a godsend.
Equally excellent is the Lexus RX350L’s naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 engine. It’s what gives this SUV the “long legs” for comfortable cruising.
It’s a gem of a motor, too. “Quiet” is its middle name and “buttery” is its character. If you like big displacement engines, you’ll like this.
It is something to be appreciated and savoured. With the industry so keen on downsizing, turbocharging and electrifying, engines like these will eventually be retired.
So, I enjoyed it while I could. With 289hp and 358Nm, the Lexus RX350L feels effortless. Acceleration is smooth and progressive.
There’s always plenty in reserve. You must be willing to rev it to access the ponies though.
Expressways and straight roads are the Lexus RX350L’s forte. When you want to take a longer and more relaxing route, this SUV will do nicely.
Don’t try pushing the RX hard through winding roads, though. Even if the surefootedness of the all-wheel-drive system feels good.
Lexus also installed a stiffer stabiliser bar, which is now hollow. But this also won’t change the fact that this SUV was engineered to cosset, not excite occupants.
Let’s hope Lexus doesn’t change the RX’s formula for the subsequent model.
Lexus RX350L Premium 3.5 (A)
ENGINE 3456cc, 24-valves, V6
MAX POWER 289hp at 6300rpm
MAX TORQUE 358Nm at 4600-4700rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 8.1 seconds
TOP SPEED 200km/h
CONSUMPTION 9.8km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 234g/km
PRICE INCL. COE $290,800 (after $20k VES surcharge)
AGENT Borneo Motors