The 2008 Lexus RX350 carries on the tradition of the RX 300, a vehicle that quickly became the luxury maker’s best-selling offering. It's built on a car frame, offering affluent buyers the size, cargo space, and utility of a SUV combined with the handling and ride comfort of a sedan. The RX350 competes rather well in a crowded and desirable crossover SUV segment. While the handling is outdone by sporty rivals made in Germany and Asia, it is hard to top the quality, price-to-cost benefit, and luxury comfort of the RX350.
Body Styles: sport utility vehicle (SUV)
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic transmission
Models: Lexus RX350
The 2008 Lexus RX350 sports a new grille design and chrome exterior door handles. The options list now includes a new graphite-finish 18-inch wheel design, while models with a gray interior now boast a black bird's eye maple trim.
The 2008 Lexus RX350 luxury midsize crossover SUV comes in a single trim level with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The impressive list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a power rear liftgate, and auto-dimming mirrors all around. The Premium package adds a sunroof and a roof rack. The Premium plus package adds adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights. The Performance Package has all the Plus Package goodies as well as an adaptive air suspension and 18-inch wheels. Notable stand-alone options are rain-sensing wipers and towing preparation.
The appearance of the RX350 has a bit of style to it. In terms of being sleek, contemporary, and appealing as well as eye-catching, the RX350 does as well as any rival.
The standard interior gear includes 10-way power front seats, wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, four one-touch power windows and second-row seats that slide and recline. The Premium Package supplies leather, seat memory, and a power tilt/telescoping wheel. Other stand-alone options include a navigation system, a rearview camera, a stunning Mark Levinson audio system, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, plus there’s laser-based adaptive cruise control and front seat heaters.
The luxurious, refined, and quite operational cabin of the RX350 exceeds expectations for an entry-level luxury SUV. The equality of the materials, intelligent design, and standard and optional features beat out the rivals in this segment. The RX350 does well in the utility department while exceling in the quality and comfort.
Performance & Handling
A 3.5-liter V-6 producing 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque sends power into a five-speed automatic transmission. There is a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Lexus’ own testing produced a zero-to-60-mph time of 7.3 seconds for the front-wheel-drive model and 7.4 seconds for the all-wheel-drive version. These are respectable times for a big SUV meaning that the RX350 will handle most traffic situations.
While the RX350 comes in at the top of the class for power, the handling can leave something to be desired and lags behind class leaders from Acura, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. This situation can be mitigated by opting for a performance package. The RX350 is really meant to be a luxury vehicle; as a result, it has a smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride. The performance package alters that ride, but performance and ultra-comfort are usually somewhat mutually exclusive. This package adds an air suspension along with 18-inch wheels fitted with lower-profile performance tires.
The RX350 has standard front, side, head and even driver-knee airbags. Standard stability and traction control systems are also included. This model has not been tested for impact safety, but the RX 330, its sibling, did well in government crash safety tests, indicating that the RX350 is likely to have a quality safety rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX350 front-wheel drive: 18/23 mpg city/highway
Lexus RX350 all-wheel drive: 17/22 mpg city/highway
- Cabin furnishings and luxury
- Sedan-like ride
- High-tech features
- Rock-solid reliability
- Quiet ride
You Won't Like
- Needs Premium fuel
- No third-row seat
- Options packages are expensive
A solid choice, but there are more sporty and more utilitarian options out there.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Acura MDX
- BMW X5
- Infiniti FX35
- Cadillac SRX
- Mercedes-Benz R350
- Volvo XC90