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2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Road Test

The 2014 Lexus RX sits at the top of the luxury crossover segment. And for good reason.

What It Is
The best-selling luxury crossover on the market.
Best Thing
Comfortable and quiet.
Worst Thing
Suspension is a little stiff.
Snap Judgment
The Lexus RX 350 could benefit from a few tweaks.


The first Lexus RX hit the roads back in the 90s, and many speculated that the vehicle would be a major flop. Years later, you can't drive more than five minutes without passing at least one. The lineup has expanded over the years to include the base RX 350, RX 350 F Sport, and the RX 450h. They have become a staple on the road, offering comfort, great styling, and sophistication.

The F Sport model ups the ante and makes the drive more dynamic and engaging. Paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel give it that extra sporty feel, and the quiet interior surrounds you in comfortable leather and refinement.

We were excited to get behind the wheel and test it out for ourselves. So what did we think of the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport?

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What We Drove

Our 2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport came with a base price of $47,450, and with added features like blind spot monitoring, a Mark Levinson premium sound system, navigation, backup camera, Lexus Enform, and intuitive parking assist, that number eventually reached $53,189, including the $910 destination charge.

Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the 2014 Lexus RX delivered 270 horsepower. Standard features included and F Sport-tuned suspension with front and rear performance dampers, 10 airbags, automatic xenon HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, and F Sport front bumper and spindle grille, and much more.

Thanks to an array of standard and added safety features, the 2014 Lexus earned both a 5-star government crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Commute

Heading out for the morning commute was almost something to look forward to when driving the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport. The seats were comfortable and seemed to envelop you as you sat down, and for those early mornings, the seat heaters came in quite handy. However, thanks to the F Sport's tight suspension, bumps and road imperfections were more noticeable.

That isn't to say that the ride wasn't enjoyable. For those who want that sport-like feel will enjoy the F Sport package, but those wanting a softer, smoother ride should opt for the standard RX model.

The interior itself is accommodating, with the center stack laid out in a clean, simple fashion. The infotainment controls are easy to use, and connecting my phone to Bluetooth took a matter of moments. However, some of the controls were slightly out of reach for the driver, making use of the mouse-like controller almost a necessity.

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The Grocery Run

The Lexus RX is one of those vehicles that is pretty common no matter where you take it--including the grocery store. Thanks to the 80.3 cubic feet of space behind the back seat, it can hold a week's worth of groceries with ease. Many love it for its versatility, comfort, and accessories, making it a top choice for those with small families and a little extra money to burn.

To accommodate more cargo space, the rear seats fold nearly flat, making it easier to carry skis, snowboards, or other long and bulky items that you don't want to throw up on the roof racks. The turning radius is sharp, enabling you to get in and out of even the tightest parking spaces. Thanks to the backup camera, maneuvering was that much easier. Because the RX sits relatively high on its wheels, some may have difficulty getting in and out, but the majority of passengers will have no problem.

The Weekend Fun

Thanks to the torrential downpour, there wasn't much we were able to do in terms of pushing the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F Sport to its limits, but we were able to see it under other conditions that had us loving it even more.

Driving down the coast, lots of water built up in the road, but not once did the RX feel less than stable. Even with all the water, the wheels were firmly planted to the ground, and at highway speeds, we never got the sense that we would lose control.

Luckily the weather cleared up on our last day with the RX and we were able to have some fun. I'd never used paddle shifters on an SUV before, and I wasn't sure what to expect. However, the drive was more engaging, and while in control of the shifting, you get to feel more of the power that's housed inside the RX. From the line, the RX felt like it surged into action when accelerating and shifting between the gears.

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Summary

After spending a week with the 2014 Lexus RX F Sport, we came to a few conclusions. The first being that the F Sport package isn't for everyone. It has a stiff suspension that could use a few tweaks to improve performance. The second was that the car felt dated when compared to other models like the Acura MDX. It could have used more soft plastics throughout the interior.

For what it is, the Lexus RX is one of the best luxury crossovers on the market.

Lexus has been focusing on refreshing its entire lineup and will soon be introducing new models, which has taken away some attention from the RX. Overall, we were impressed with the RX 350, feeling it was a comfortable, quiet, and luxurious vehicle. This is something we have come to expect from the automaker. With a refresh, tighter steering, and a few more little changes, the next Lexus RX will once again be at the top of its game.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $53,189
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 18
EPA Highway: 26
EPA Combined: 21
Cargo Space: 80.3 cubic feet Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Estimated Combined Range: 403 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Excellent

Notebook Quotes "This might be my favorite Lexus, but the F Sport package shows what the worst part of it is: Its age. The Lexus RX is starting to feel old."-Jacob Brown, Online Editor

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