The Lexus RX got it all started nearly a quarter of a century ago as the first mass-produced midsize luxury sport utility vehicle. Four generations later and still maintaining its bestseller status, the current model closes out as a new generation waits in the wings. But there is no need for you to wait as the 2022 RX remains a strong contender.
Lexus offers the midsize 2022 RX 350 in standard two-row or available three-row layouts. There is no difference in size between the two as the optional third row simply consumes much of the available cargo space. With standard front-wheel drive, the two-row costs from $46,395. Choose the three-row 350 RX-L with front-wheel drive and this one starts at $49,225. All-wheel drive adds $1,400.
Upgrading to the F Sport increases the cost modestly, with Appearance and Handling Packages available.There are also a pair of hybrid models, the RX 450h and the RX 450hL. These models come with standard all-wheel drive and cost $49,095 and $52,485, respectively.
New for 2022
Lexus is preparing a new model for 2023, therefore the changes this year involve minimal package shuffling and three new or expanded color choices.
The spindle grille common to all Lexus models is in full force with the RX. It overwhelms the front end, but it is also eased somewhat by the narrow LED headlights and checkmark accent lights. Deep cutouts at the base of the grille are sporty touches of note. A long roofline, high profile, and unique body sculpting patterning endow this SUV with an “always in motion” look. The floating roof design makes the RX look longer than it is. We like the look better on most sedans. From the rear, the layout is far tamer than the front, as if the RX’s designers wanted to give it a rest.
Inside, the RX’s cabin offers ample space for four adults or five in a pinch. The available third row does no favors with its cramped space. Even swapping out the second-row bench seat for optional captain’s chairs does little to overcome the penalty box that the third row is.
We constantly give Lexus high marks for attention to detail, high-quality materials, and the overall design. The cabin is modern, but not overwrought with switches, buttons, and dials. It is a sensory delight with clean lines, metal or wood touches bisecting the console, and available red leather seats.
The front seats are very comfortable with seemingly endless ways to adjust. Heating and ventilating possibilities ensure ride comfort. We recommend opting for the available heated steering wheel to warm and relax tired hands.
On F Sport models, Lexus adds metal pedals for a sporty look. Besides all the luxury goodies, including a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, zone climate control, and soft-touch materials covering the roof and door pillars, the RX does something shoppers seem to appreciate most. Indeed, it is extremely quiet inside as road noise is muted and the engine doesn’t overwhelm the interior. The F Sport changes that dynamic only slightly as the exhaust note is enhanced and piped into the cabin, but at a low level still.
Tech and Safety
The 2022 RX comes with a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 9-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Six USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa are included. The list of options includes 12- and 15-speaker audio systems, wireless device charging, and a heads-up display.
On the safety front, the RX comes with forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Lane control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights are standard. Among the available features are adaptive headlights, a surround-view camera system, reverse emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors.
With both the gas and hybrid models, a 3.5-liter V6 engine is utilized. With the gas model, this engine makes 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. Power moves to the front or all four wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Choose the hybrid, and the V6 combines with a trio of electric motors to produce a maximum of 308 horsepower. Here, travels to all four wheels with a continuously variable transmission.
From a power standpoint, the two models are nearly even. But from an efficiency perspective, the hybrid claims upwards of an 8 mpg edge in fuel economy. With gas prices topping $3 per gallon, stretching visits to the pump is a welcome money saver.
Our test gas model delivered everything we expected, including strong step-off acceleration and robust passing power. Direct steering, weighted handling, firm brakes, and a comfortable ride are common to all RX models. Drive mode select, especially when operated in one of the two sport modes extends the transmission shift points and adds substance to the steering wheel. Choose an F Sport mode and there is no power edge, however, performance dampers and larger wheels combine to improve handling.
With standard all-wheel drive and a more efficient powertrain, we think the hybrid model is the better choice. What we do not recommend is any three-row RX as the seats offer little room and the loss of cargo space does not seem worth it. For just a few thousand dollars more, the Lexus GX has more room, although no hybrid variant can be had.
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