Lexus endows the RX luxury midsize SUV with some sweet new features for 2021. A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert is now standard equipment on every model. So are exterior mirrors with power folding operation and automatic dimming. A wireless charger is newly available as an option.
There are four models in the RX lineup: RX 350 with two rows of seats, RX 350L with three rows, RX 350 F Sport two-row performance version, RX 450h hybrid, and three-row RX 450hL hybrid.
The hybrid model is all-wheel drive only; all others are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Including a $1,025 destination charge, pricing starts at $45,175 for an RX 350 with front-wheel drive.
Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 295 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system adds two electric motors. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board.
I drove a 2021 Lexus RX 350L AWD with a Luxury package, whose pricing starts at $56,325 including destination. Its list of standard features was already indulgent, but my test vehicle was equipped with $7,200 in optional items. The two priciest were a 12.3-inch navigation system with 15-speaker premium audio and a panoramic view monitor with intuitive parking assist and rear cross traffic braking. The tester’s total cost of $63,525 incorporated everything you could get on an RX 350L, and as fully-optioned midsize luxury SUVs go, that’s a bargain.
Exterior styling of the RX 350 manages to look both elegant and sporty. Driving characteristics are similarly mixed. There’s more than enough power in the V6 to make the RX feel agile on the highway, but on twisty roads it can seem a bit cumbersome. In any case, the ride is always smooth, quiet, and comfortable.
Seating in the third row seats is snug. They’re best suited to limited use and not distance driving. Cargo space isn’t overly generous, either.
The RX 350L’s interior is wonderful except for the infotainment system’s irksome Lexus Remote Touch controller. Fortunately there are options for avoiding its use, including a touchscreen. Paradoxically, the advanced infotainment system includes a CD player, something not often seen in cars now. It’s a thoughtful nod to the unyoung, who are frequent buyers of luxury SUVs and have big stashes of CDs.
2021 LEXUS RX 350L AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $56,325
Price as driven: $63,525
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.