2021 Lexus RX 350 AWD F SPORT l Review

Hi Hooniverse! It’s me, Will. I know, I just reviewed a Lamborghini Urus but you should really check out this RX 350 F Sport too! I mean, they are basically the same color, that is about where the similarities end though. Still, for the average car consumer, this Lexus is way more attainable. Plus, it’s actually pretty good. Let’s check it out.

RX 350 Overview

It’s that awkward time of year when automakers are swapping their websites over to 2022 when schmucks like us are still reviewing 2021 vehicles. So, I’m pretty sure this bit is accurate, but buyer beware.

*Grecian Blue is a 2022 color but was the closest to how our loaner was spec’d.

The RX was one of the last holdouts that was only available as a two-row until recently. Now you can get the RXL which has a power-folding third row, in addition to the regular RX, the Hybrid and our tester, the F Sport. You can mix and match as well. Want a longer Hybrid, that’s the RX 450hL.

What does the F Sport trim level get you? Well, everything in the base RX obviously, plus:

  • Front and rear performance dampers
  • F SPORT front seats with enhanced bolsters, perforated leather–trimmed steering wheel and shift knob
  • Performance-inspired instrumentation
  • Scored Aluminum interior trim
  • Aluminum pedals and door-sill scuff plates
  • Black headliner
  • LED ambient interior illumination
  • Premium Package – Matte Walnut or Matte Bamboo wood interior trim plus Lexus Memory System for power driver’s seat, outside rearview mirrors and steering wheel
  • F SPORT front fascia and mesh grille insert, front-fender and rear-door badges, and rear valance
  • Black outside mirrors
  • F SPORT 20-in split-10-spoke alloy wheels with Dark Graphite finish

You can opt for FWD or AWD and prices start around $49,000 and $50,000 respectively. They make it pretty easy to choose AWD don’t they?

F Sport Inside and Out

The F Sport is a pretty good looking trim, the black bits help hide some of the RX’s less desirable exterior features. The black mesh grille with black surround is a particularly nice improvement over the stock grille. Black mirrors and wheels complete the F Sport transformation. Regardless, that’s a good blue isn’t it? Love a good blue.

A vehicle like the RX is more about what’s on the inside though.

The big news inside is the touchscreen. It doesn’t sound like much, but Lexus has been forcing us to use their touchpad as the only option to navigate the infotainment system. This new RX finally gave us the freedom to touch the damn screen. I’ve never been a big fan of the touchpad. It’s got haptic feedback, which is nice, however I always overshoot my mark and end up on a different screen or the wrong station.

From a tech perspective, things just seemed to work. I’ve had an ongoing battle with wireless charging pads. They are either in a bad place⁠—yeah, I know I’m supposed to put it in there and leave it, but that’s not reality⁠—or they aren’t built to keep the phone stationary. The last bit results in the phone going on and off of charge, each time making some sort of beep or bong. The RX’s interior designers did a good job of just making it work in a repeatable manner. I definitely enjoyed not having to bother with a cord all the time (though I still used it, creature of habit).

Lexus definitely got the memo on connection options, there are four USB jacks up front and two more for back seat passengers. Even my three kids can’t fill all of those up! The interior is filled with little trick things that don’t seem like much but add to the experience. The bin in the front doors folds out to help you access whatever you squirreled away in there. Simple, but effective. Even the cup holder has a party trick where it gets deeper with the push of a button. That means you can fit a taller drink in the holder without worrying about it moving around too much.

Rear seat room is more than adequate with an even 38 inches of legroom. Cargo capacity is listed at 16 cubic feet, which isn’t amazing, the latest MDX comes in a coupe cubes more. However, it was enough for our Home Depot run. The materials are all first rate and I really dig the F Sport seats. It’s tough to tow the line between supportive and punishing, bolstered and claustrophobic, but the RX does that all very well. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the two tone materials, but if that’s your thing, you do you.

Summary

The fifty grand luxury SUV market is full of great options. The RX undercuts the redesigned MDX by a good margin, but newcomers like Genesis are coming in hot with their GV70 and GV80 SUVs. The RX is currently in it’s fourth generation, actually it’s deep into it’s fourth generation, originally launching for the 2016 model year. The design is still crisp, and Lexus has been steadily updating it’s interior and adding new features. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert also became standard on all trims for 2021.

The RX is no performance vehicle though, despite it’s edgy looks. With 0 – 60 times just under seven seconds it’s not particularly quick. However, I found no problems in day-to-day driving. It merges with ease and passing power is there when you need it. Honestly, it’s about as fast as it needs to be for the average buyer.

Overall, I’d happily daily drive an RX F Sport. It looks good, has some fun colors available and is super comfortable inside. Still, I’m looking forward to the fifth generation update, let’s see what’s in store for the new RX.

9 Comments

  1. Power operated third row? Does that inhibit owners from folding the thing itself, like some hatches?

    When it comes to charging pads in cars, how did you like the Ioniq 5 and EV6? Those are placed well, I believe.

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