Test Driven in March 2011
Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
My test drive of the Lexus RX350 came at perfect timing as I had an event that I was helping out with and I needed a car that could store humans as well as goods comfortably. The 3.5-litre five-passenger luxury crossover vehicle looks a little clumsy, but is actually a very nimble and useful mode of transportation. I could fit four adults in the back for short trips and even fill the entire car (except the driver’s seat) with 100 goodie bags for the event!
The RX350 sits between the entry-level RX270 and the hybrid version RX450h. Some people may feel that it is not necessary to have such a big engine capacity for such cars as it may consume more fuel, but it is precisely because of the larger vehicle size that power increase is necessary.
Riding high above others, the RX350 provides a clear view ahead and this is particularly helpful in times of traffic congestions when you can see far in front and hence anticipate better. The 345Nm of torque available on tap was a sheer delight in traffic jams, giving you the ability to ‘jump into’ place quickly while switching between lanes.
With a six-speed multi-mode automatic with super ECT, the RX350 gets up to speed quickly but it is a bulky lad after all and takes eight seconds to go from zero to 100km/h. Maximum power output is at 274bhp at 6,200rpm.
Despite being big, the RX350 is easy to drive and there are enough sensors to aid with parking if you are afraid of the parameters being too broad for tight multi-storey car park situations.
Popping the bonnet to view the engine is a usual habit I do with test drive cars. But when I lifted the hood of the RX350, I was greeted by a very beautiful cover that left me nothing much of a view.
The boot is automated and can be closed with just a touch of the button, hence not having to heave a deep breath and bring down the door.
The inside of the RX350 has glossy wooden finishings – probably in a attempt to add a classy feel – in its centre console, side panels and steering wheel.
What was most interesting in the cockpit was the position of the gear lever. Instead of it being in the centre console at an arm’s length, the RX350’s gear stick is located much higher, just below the audio and temperature controls. For cars as high and big at the RX350, you find yourself having to reach lower to shit gear, but in the RX350 it is conveniently placed at steering wheel level height for the driver’s easy engagement.
The basic version of the RX350 comes with no moonroof and no integrated navigation system at $225,000. Top up $15,000 to get the full luxury version that comes with a moonroof as well as the new features like the integrated navigation system, a rear view camera to aid reversing, remote touch controller, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic recirculation function system and a Mark Levinson premium surround sound system.
If you are looking for some performance and a decent people mover, the RX350 will be just the car for you. You probably don’t need the moonroof but I advise getting the integrated navigation system.
Lexus RX350 (A)
Engine: 3,456cc V6 24-valve Dual VVT-i
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Max Power: 274bhp at 6,200rpm
Max Torque: 345Nm at 4,700rpm
0-100km/h: 8.0 secs
Top Speed: 200km/h
Price: $225,000 with COE
Distributor: Borneo Motors