Driving the 2021 Lexus RX 350 Provides Unique Pros and Cons

It turns out that I may have misunderstood the 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport. But during our week together through rain, shine, and cold fronts, I developed a deeper understanding. The Lexus RX 350 is an SUV that’s shaken, not stirred. It presents qualities of high craftsmanship, confidence, and elegance with unique pros and cons. 

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport is capable and elegant 

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport near a Ford F-350
The 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport near a Ford F-350 | Allison Barfield

It took a few days to get used to the 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, but once I found a deeper understanding of this SUV, I was a little sad when I had to give it back. It’s finely crafted with elegance and capability. I wouldn’t be surprised if secret agents picked this vehicle. 

The Lexus RX 350 begins at about $45,220. Adding the F Sport Package and extra goodies such as the color head-up display, wireless phone charger, moon roof, heated steering wheel, and more increased the MSRP to $49,950. The add-ons are a bargain! 

Pro: The Lexus RX 350 F Sport is fun to drive 

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 295 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.9 seconds, according to Car and Driver. This is a bit slow for the segment. 

However, it didn’t feel slow on the highway. Especially when you switch from Eco or Normal Mode to Sport Mode. It stiffens the suspension and provides a more aggressive acceleration to enjoy. The ride is fairly smooth, and the handling is very responsive. The brakes are confident, and there isn’t much body roll. 

Con: The 350 RX is thirsty 

There is a Lexus RX 450 Hybrid model out, but I had the gas-powered 350 RX. In Eco Mode, I only averaged about 23 mpg. The 350 RX gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. 

While I drove from the countryside, into the city, out the farm, and up mountains, I wasn’t getting anywhere close to 27 mpg. It was also a little challenging to get the miles left until empty to appear in the digital gauge cluster. 

Pro: The 2021 Lexus RX 350 is spacious 

the folks at Edmunds agree that the 2021 Lexus RX 350 F Sport is comfortable and spacious. The leather bucket seats are well-shaped to provide support and cushion for all types of body shapes. My back and rear didn’t get tired during three-hour trips. 

Plus, there is tons of storage space for personal items, along with a deep center console. I had places for my phone, wallet, chapstick, drinks, and more. The backseat is spacious and large enough for adults. Although, the biggest surprise was the enormous trunk area. 

You can access up to 58.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded flat. Also, the Lexus RX 350L includes a third row, so that’s why the trunk space seems so enormous. 

Con: The RX 350 feels a little dated 

2021 Lexus RX 350 Black Line interior
2021 Lexus RX 350 Black Line interior | Lexus

Aside from the color head-up display, the Lexus RX 350 felt a little behind the times. But it hasn’t been redesigned for 2016. It still has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice-activated navigation, paddle shifters, etc. 

An 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard, and you can upgrade to the 12.3-inch display. The system works fine, and the graphics look good, just slightly dated. It took a little bit of time to figure out how to use the Enform infotainment system. Other software has been more intuitive. For example, tech in the Genesis GV70 was very easy to use.

If I experienced this vehicle’s tech two to three years ago, my mind would have been blown. Also, the 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system sounds exceptional and the 360-degree backup camera displays an excellent view of your surroundings.

Pro: The Lexus RX 350 safety features are great 

The 2021 Lexus RX 350 comes with the Lexus Safety System + 2.0. It includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistant, and a blind-spot monitor. 

Sometimes the safety systems in vehicles can be a little sensitive. Loud alerts will chime in as a vehicle in front of you is about to turn, and the lane-centering assist system can be jerky. 

The Lexus RX has the perfect balance of safety and convenience without being too much. The lane centering assist system is displayed on the head-up display, and the lines appear orange if you get too close to them. 

Also, instead of turning the wheel to move you toward the center, the steering wheel vibrates, and the movement is a little more subtle. 

Outside of the slightly older tech, the Lexus RX 350 is a luxurious bargain to consider. It’s well-crafted, convenient, comfortable, spacious, and fun. 

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