2010 Lexus RX 350

Change Year or Vehicle
$11,065–$20,681 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2010 Lexus RX 350. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Overall refinement
  • Gas mileage
  • Seat comfort
  • Optional Pre-Collision System
  • Optional dual-screen entertainment system

The Bad

  • Road noise
  • Leather seats not standard
  • Joystick-operated navigation system
  • No third-row seat offered

Notable Features of the 2010 Lexus RX 350

  • Redesigned for 2010
  • 10 airbags
  • FWD or AWD
  • Optional wide-view side monitor
  • Optional head-up display

2010 Lexus RX 350 Road Test

Mike Hanley

The Lexus RX was one of the earliest luxury crossover SUVs, and it's been one of the more popular ones, too, with sales topping 100,000 in 2007. For 2010, Lexus has redesigned what it calls one of its most iconic SUV models.

Rather than taking the RX in a dramatically new direction — like Acura did when it overhauled its RX competitor, the MDX — Lexus has further honed the RX. The new model is easy to drive, has a refined cabin and is available with a host of high-tech features. I like the RX, and I continue to after driving this new model as it's well-suited to the needs of the U.S. luxury-crossover buyer.

I drove both the gas-only 
Lexus RX 350 and the gas-electric RX 450h hybrid in California's scenic wine country. The RX 350 SUV hits dealerships in late February, and the RX 450h is scheduled to follow in the spring.

 

Exterior & Styling
The RX SUV is the latest Lexus to receive the brand's "L-finesse" styling language. L-finesse models have a clean, uncluttered look that's accented by sharp, angular design elements, such as the headlights. The design theme doesn't diminish the RX's distinctive appearance, as it still sports a raked-forward D-pillar, like its predecessor. While the front end of the new RX is familiar, its nose isn't as pointy as the previous model's.

The 2010 RX 350 is similar in size. It's only 1.6 inches longer, 1.6 inches wider and 0.2 inches taller. Lexus says customers like the size of the current RX, which explains why it ...

The Lexus RX was one of the earliest luxury crossover SUVs, and it's been one of the more popular ones, too, with sales topping 100,000 in 2007. For 2010, Lexus has redesigned what it calls one of its most iconic SUV models.

Rather than taking the RX in a dramatically new direction — like Acura did when it overhauled its RX competitor, the MDX — Lexus has further honed the RX. The new model is easy to drive, has a refined cabin and is available with a host of high-tech features. I like the RX, and I continue to after driving this new model as it's well-suited to the needs of the U.S. luxury-crossover buyer.

I drove both the gas-only 
Lexus RX 350 and the gas-electric RX 450h hybrid in California's scenic wine country. The RX 350 SUV hits dealerships in late February, and the RX 450h is scheduled to follow in the spring.

 

Exterior & Styling
The RX SUV is the latest Lexus to receive the brand's "L-finesse" styling language. L-finesse models have a clean, uncluttered look that's accented by sharp, angular design elements, such as the headlights. The design theme doesn't diminish the RX's distinctive appearance, as it still sports a raked-forward D-pillar, like its predecessor. While the front end of the new RX is familiar, its nose isn't as pointy as the previous model's.

The 2010 RX 350 is similar in size. It's only 1.6 inches longer, 1.6 inches wider and 0.2 inches taller. Lexus says customers like the size of the current RX, which explains why it wasn't notably changed for 2010, even though cars often grow when redesigned. Both the regular and the hybrid models come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels; 19-inch rims are optional.

The styling differences between the RX 350 and RX 450h are subtle. The hybrid has a different L badge on the front grille that's outlined in blue, as well as blue-tinted headlights; LED headlights are optional for the hybrid. The RX 450h also features "Hybrid" lettering on the lower portion of the rear doors.

Ride & Handling
Delivering a comfortable driving experience is critical in the luxury crossover segment, and the RX is successful on this front. Available with either regular or Sport suspension tuning, the 2010 RX has a new double-wishbone rear suspension that Lexus says improves handling performance. The new setup also reduces suspension intrusion into the cargo area.

I tested a front-wheel-drive RX 450h with the base suspension, and an all-wheel-drive (AWD) 
Lexus RX 350 with the Sport suspension. The RX 450h has a taut ride, but it's not firm to the point of being harsh. Overall, the suspension absorbs bumps well.


The driving route during my test included a number of winding roads through California's Napa Valley, which provided a good opportunity to experience the RX's cornering abilities. It's planted when hustled through sweeping corners and switchbacks, but the RX 350 with the Sport suspension seemed more composed and flat through the corners than the RX 450h with the base suspension. The difference between the two, however, was minimal.

I was a little surprised by the amount of road noise that made its way into the RX's cabin when traveling on rougher patches of road. Road surface plays a big part in the interior noise equation, and some of the asphalt roads I traveled were quite pockmarked, but noise from bumps was quite pronounced, too. Wind noise also starts to creep into the cabin once the car reaches 60 mph or so.

Both the 
Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h have electric power-steering systems, but the level of feedback and driver involvement that each provides is noticeably different. The RX 350 has Lexus' characteristic ball-bearing-smooth, low-effort steering that makes for easy drivability but doesn't provide much feedback. By comparison, the RX 450h's steering wheel takes more effort to turn, especially when transitioning from a straight line to beginning a turn, and it offers quite a bit of feedback for a Lexus. On rougher asphalt the RX 450h's steering lets you feel some of the road texture through the wheel.

Going & Stopping
The RX 350 and RX 450h have similar power outputs — 275 horsepower for the RX 350 and 295 hp for the RX 450h — but their unique drivetrains result in significantly different driving experiences.

The 
Lexus RX 350 proved to be a capable performer on the mountain roads of Napa Valley, charging strongly up hills without the 3.5-liter V-6 feeling burdened. The responsive six-speed automatic transmission is very well-behaved; during slow or steady acceleration it changes gears smoothly, but when you press hard on the gas pedal it delivers quick, firm shifts that match the urgency of the situation. The transmission also offers Sport and Snow modes, as well as a clutchless-manual mode for driver-controlled shifting.


The RX 450h, meanwhile, doesn't accelerate with the same level of urgency, even though its gas-electric drivetrain makes more power. It has more weight to carry around — about 300 pounds more. It's by no means pokey, but the assistance from the electric motor isn't as much as you might think.

The 2009 RX 350 was already one of the more fuel-efficient luxury crossovers available, and the new model offers even better gas mileage. The RX 450h's gas mileage improves over the current RX 400h's, too, and has the best gas mileage of any luxury crossover in the U.S.

Luxury Crossover Gas Mileage (city/highway, mpg)*
  2WD 4WD
2010 Lexus RX 450h 32/28 30/28
2008 Lexus RX 400h 27/24 26/24
2010 Lexus RX 350 18/25 18/24
2009 Lexus RX 350 18/23 17/22
2009 Lincoln MKX 17/24 15/22
2009 Infiniti FX35 16/23 16/21
2009 BMW X5 xDrive30i -- 15/21
2009 Acura MDX -- 15/20
2009 Mercedes-Benz ML350 -- 15/20
*Sorted by highway gas mileage estimates for 4WD models.

 

Both the gas-only and hybrid versions of the RX include features designed to save fuel. The Lexus RX350 has an Eco indicator that illuminates when the driver is operating the RX in an efficient manner. The RX 450h, meanwhile, has an Eco Mode with specific throttle and air-conditioning programs to increase efficiency, as well as an Electric Vehicle Mode. In EV Mode, the RX 450h can operate for a few minutes up to about 10 mph on battery power alone as long as the high-voltage battery has a sufficient amount of power and the driver accelerates lightly, according to Lexus.


One of the most impressive elements of the RX 450h's driving experience is its brake-pedal feel. This is an area where hybrids — which make use of both friction and regenerative braking systems — have struggled to match the linear pedal response of a traditional hydraulic brake system. The RX 450h shows that it can be done, as its firm pedal feel and natural braking response give no hint that there's regenerative braking going on. The RX 350's brake pedal feels softer underfoot, but it offers the same natural response as the hybrid.

 

The Inside
The RX has a new interior that, unlike the exterior, makes a bigger break from the previous RX in terms of its design. Offered in solid or two-tone color schemes, the RX's dashboard has sweeping lines and makes wide use of soft-touch materials. My favorite color scheme is the new black and parchment theme; the contrasting colors make for a classy look.

The RX is also available with a new joystick-like multi-information interface called Remote Touch that's the latest in a string of multifunction control systems, including the likes of BMW's iDrive, Audi's Multi Media Interface and Mercedes-Benz's Comand. Unlike those systems, Remote Touch should be immediately familiar to anyone who uses a personal computer.

Remote Touch goes in RX models equipped with the optional navigation system and replaces the touch-screen interface of previous models. The controller in the center console features a curved hand rest with a short joystick at the front of it. The joystick controls a pointer on the 8-inch dashboard screen that you use to roll over various menu icons. Selections are made by pressing one of the Enter buttons on the sides of the hand rest. There are also a few hard keys immediately in front of the joystick for often-used functions, like calling up the menu or map, or zooming the map in and out. Bluetooth connectivity is available.

The system has a low learning curve, thanks to its familiar interface, but a downside is that you have to spend a good deal of time looking at the screen to control the pointer when navigating menus and making selections. This isn't a problem if you're sitting in the passenger seat, but it's harder for the driver when the RX is moving and the top priority should be concentrating on the road. The navigation system does recognize voice commands, but I'm disappointed Lexus abandoned its touch-screen navigation system in the RX, as it was a pretty good one. Models without navigation have a smaller, black-and-white LCD screen that displays audio and air conditioning information.

The RX's front bucket seats have soft cushioning and are comfortable. Power operation is standard, but semi-aniline leather upholstery is optional (cloth seats are standard). Multi-adjustable seat cushions for greater thigh support are newly optional.

Backseat legroom in the RX is good, and Lexus has addressed my main gripe with the second row by moving the backrest-recline lever from the top of the backrest itself to the outside of the seat cushion. The new position is much easier to reach when seated; with the old one you had to twist your body around to reach it. As was the case with the previous RX, the redesigned model doesn't offer a third row, which the MDX includes as standard equipment.

Cargo & Towing
The RX's cargo area measures 40 cubic feet. That's more space than a Lincoln MKX (32.3 cubic feet) but less than the MDX has with its third row folded (42.9 cubic feet). If more space is needed, the 40/20/40-split rear backseat can be folded using either the levers that recline the seats or remote handles in the cargo area that release the backrests. Dropping the backrests makes for a nearly flat extended cargo floor and 80.3 cubic feet of total cargo room.

When equipped with the optional Towing package, all-wheel-drive (AWD) RXs are rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety
Standard safety features include all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front and outboard rear seats, front and rear side curtain airbags, knee airbags for front-seat occupants, an electronic stability system and active head restraints for the front seats.

Optional safety equipment includes a backup camera, which is included with the navigation system option. It's also available as a stand-alone option, and that version uses a small screen in the rearview mirror to show what's behind the RX. Also optional is Lexus' Pre-Collision System with adaptive cruise control, which cinches the front seat belts and readies the brake assist system if the forward-looking radar determines that a crash is likely.

As of publication, the 2010 
Lexus RX 350 hadn't been crash-tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Features
In addition to the new Remote Touch interface for the navigation system, the new RX is available with a number of other high-tech features. One of the more interesting ones is the wide-view side monitor system. Featuring a wide-angle camera mounted under the right mirror, the system can show an image on the navigation screen of the ground around the right side of the RX, to make parking easier. Swiveling high-intensity-discharge headlights that include an automatic high-beam feature, a head-up display and a dual-screen backseat entertainment system are also optional.

RX in the Market
There's the temptation to fault Lexus for not dramatically remaking the RX with this redesign. Something more radical would probably have made a bigger splash, but it would have risked alienating the customers who have made the RX so popular; Lexus says there are already almost 800,000 of the crossovers on the road. There are sportier models available, like the MDX and FX35, but if you're looking for refinement and comfortable luxury, the RX remains an appealing choice.

Send Mike an email  

 


2010 RX 350 Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and Lexus RX 450h. It competes with the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class and Acura MDX.

Latest 2010 RX 350 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Lexus Rx350

by Lexus fan from BELLEVUE WA on September 13, 2018

I really enjoyed driving the Rx350. It's quiet, smooth and best is low maintenance. I regularly take it to the dealership for maintenance and they do a great job. When I'm ready to buy another car, it ... Read full review

(5.0)

Most realiable car I ever drive.

by Mandeep from Brampton on August 19, 2018

This car is really good for a family. Lots of room .my kids love this car.it has all the comforts I was looking for. Thanks. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Lexus RX 350 currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Lexus RX 350 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Lexus

Program Benefits

Every L/Certified vehicle now comes with an unlimited-mileage warranty up to 6 years, complimentary maintenance plan. Each L/Certified Pre-Owned Lexus must pass a rigorous inspection and be thoroughly reconditioned to meet the same high standards as a new Lexus. Exclusively at a Lexus dealership.

  • Limited Warranty

    Unlimited Mileage Warranty Up To 6 Years

    Warranty is valid for a minimum of two years/unlimited mileage after the expiration of 4 yr/50,000 mile new vehicle Basic Warranty, or two years from L/Certified purchase or lease date, whichever occurs later.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 70,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 161 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The RX 350 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker