The review that nobody asked for.
(Full disclosure: Lexus wanted me to review the new RX so badly that they hooked my parents up with a sick deal on a 2010 RX 6 years ago and then turned on the oil maintenance light a few days ago to make them come into the dealer for service. And then gave them a loaner. Which I drove.)
Also, excuse the lack of photos. I had about 10 minutes to shoot this car.
The Lexus RX has never been the car for me. It seemed too boring. Too safe. The Camry of the crossover world. Its one redeeming factor, however, was its comfort. The leather is always top-notch, and the suspension is so soft that perhaps “soft as a baby’s bottom” should be “soft as the RX’s suspension.”
With the introduction of the new RX, I thought that this might be the one to change it all. Would this finally be the RX that was exciting?
But as time went on from its debut in Detroit to its arrival in showrooms, I began to realize that the new RX was just blatantly over-styled. Its lines are too sharp, its grille too large. But when my parents gave me the chance to drive it, I figured, “Why not? I drive a Versa. I have nothing to lose.”
Oh boy. Where do I start? This car is awful. It’s the definition of “too much.” There are unnecessary lines and bulges everywhere. It creates a very unpleasing and disjointed look to me. And the grille. It only gets worse the longer you look at it.
At least the headlights and tail lights are cool.
Unlike the exterior, the interior is generally pleasing to look at and feel. Lexus has really taken their time here, and it shows. Almost every surface is covered in leather or really soft plastic, and the buttons and knobs feel solid. One gripe: the analog clock looks great, but it’s not practical to glance at while driving. Give me a digital clock, please.
Disappointingly, the RX does not have the same level of ride comfort as previous generations did. While it will be too soft for the majority of people on Oppo, I found it to be harsh compared to the 2010 RX. Chalk it up to “sporty” suspension tuning and the 20 inch wheels.
The RX has more than enough power to me. It quickly got me up to speeding in no time.
Coming from a Versa Note, the brakes on the 2016 RX are very good. The pedal is very linear, and it only takes a small amount of pedal travel to get a decent amount of braking power. Again, I have no idea how a proper brake pedal should feel like, but the brakes on the RX are a godsend compared to the complete mush of my Versa Note.
It has electric power steering. It turns. During no part of the steering process do you feel anything. The only redeeming factor is that the steering is pretty light. Good for parking maneuvers.
Another part I didn’t like about this RX. The car is way too eager to kick down a couple gears when you lightly press the throttle, and in manual mode, it’s slow to upshift and downshift.
The 2016 RX has so many features compared to my Versa that it’s actually overwhelming. The heated steering wheel is pretty good, and is warm without being “third-degree burns” hot. (Just as an FYI: only the leather portion of the steering wheel is heated. The wood part is not) The heated and cooled seats work well, and it’s a relief to have actual cold A/C blowing out of the vents. My favorite, though, has to be the brake hold feature. Sitting at the lights with your foot on the brake is pretty annoying. The brake hold lets you take your foot off the brake, and any press of the throttle will instantly deactivate the hold.
The Remote Touch interface is not as bad as everyone says it is, and the split screen for the huge 12.3" screen makes it easy to keep tabs on both your navigation and radio, or whatever you choose to put in the two sections.
Of course, the blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and parking sensors are life savers in a parking lot.
This RX isn’t equipped with the optional Mark Levinson stereo, but it still does a good job of keeping music on the radio clear. If you aren’t picky about your music, the standard audio system will be more than enough.
As for the 2GR-FKS V6 under the hood, you can’t hear it.
As far as luxury crossovers go, the 2016 RX is relatively cheap. The window sticker was not in the glovebox, but I estimate that this RX goes for around $50k, which is far less than the GLE and X5 with similar options. However, compared to crossovers in general, the RX represents pretty poor value. A 2016 CX-9 Signature can be had for $45k, and that features everything this RX has, plus a third row and more safety features. If you need more space and kid-friendly amenities, the Pilot Elite will serve you well at $47k.
All in all though, whatever I just said above probably will not affect people’s decisions in buying a crossover. They’ll buy this RX because it’s comfortable and well, it’s a Lexus.