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Lexus RX 350 sings a familiar tune: Car Tech

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Car Tech: Lexus RX 350 sings a familiar tune

6:12 /

Lexus' luxury SUV has changed little over the years, preserving the qualities that make it popular but falling behind the competition.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That seems to sum up Lexus' position, with the 2015 RX350. Lexus sets the standard for the luxury SUV, with it's RX model. This car remains a five-passenger vehicle, hatchback, plenty of cargo area. Body style hasn't really changed much over the years, although Lexus has added a few tech features, for the 2015 model. Now, we have a het up display, LED headlights will be available later this year. But not much else has changed. [MUSIC] Now in the cabin RX350 here, we have the navigation option. That gives us an 8 inch screen up here, I control that screen with what Lexus calls the Remote Touch Controller. This little joystick-like thing down here. I kinda hate this because it's often hard to get exactly what you want on the screen. I've skipped over the menus many times trying to get exactly what I want. They've got a button here to go straight to the map, which is nice because I like having the map up when I'm driving. This only shows in a top-down viewpoint. There's no perspective view on this map, so Lexus is a little bit behind the curve of the other guys with that one. When I'm on my main menu here, I can go through destinations. I've got my radio and media. They've set that up differently, even though I go to this audio screen, and I can choose any of my audio sources, from this main audio screen. I come back to the menu, I can go to my phone's screen here. I've got the normal phone things, I've got a dial pad and I've also got my contacts on my Bluetooth connected phone. But the most interesting thing, the thing I like most about this system in the Lexus RX350, is the inform app integration. The only problem with it is to get to it, I have to first pull up this info apps menu. This inform system is actually showing apps, that are running on my phone. My phone is connected by Bluetooth to the car, I've got the app, then for map, running on my phone, so this is really powering what I'm seeing on the screen here. I've got Bing search, I've got iHeartRadio, I've got MovieTickets.com, I've got OpenTable, I've got Pandora, Yelp. They even have Facebook places, on another screen here and, Plus this can add more features here, more apps as they get them ready. Just show you Bing search really quick cuz, this is the most useful thing to have in a car these days. Just an open internet based local search for businesses. So, if I hit this little microphone icon at the top of the screen. I can do the voice command and enter any search term. It's been pretty accurate so far that I've been using it, or I can just go and do a keypad search here and enter in the search term manually, with this keyboard. Voice is much safer to use while you're on the road. And I also like the Yelp search on here too, so for example, just choose the Restaurant category, shows everything local to me here. I get my list of restaurants, I can go down, choose the one with the best ratings, it won't actually show me the written reviews unless I'm stopped. A safety feature, and I then I can choose to make that my destination in navigation. A really quick and easy internet search, for finding destinations while on the go. Let's move down to the shifter here, this is a six speed automatic transmission, the only transmission available with the RX350, if you get the S for it you get a seven speed, you get the six speed with this one, it's got a sport mode. If I bring it over to the side here, this isn't really a sporty car. This is really just a legacy of every, Lexus transmission. You'll have to manually shift up for, plus down for minus. No paddle shifters, but you're really only gonna use this for going down a grade or something, when you wanna keep yourself in a specific gear. Now, straight in front of me, I'm seeing my head up display. This is a monochrome display, not quite as good as some of the other ones we've seen in other vehicles, but. It gets the job done, it shows me the speed in digital format, and shows me some route guidance directions as well. Lexus puts a lot of plastic under this hood, this is what we think of as no user serviceable parts inside. Now this is Lexus is the standard 3.5 Liter V6. This engine will get you 270 horsepower, 248 pound feet of torque. You can see it side saddle so that's a front wheel drive architecture, but with this model, they run a drive shaft to the rear wheel, to get us all wheel drive. Now fuel economy, 18 miles per gallon city, 24 miles per gallon highway. With the four wheel drivers in, you only gain one mile per gallon, so you might as well get all wheel drive. [MUSIC] Now one thing Lexus does really well, seeing it in this 2015 RX350, and you know, their parent company Toyota is well known for this too is. Building cars that are not really driver's cars, there just really basic transportation, easier to drive, and that's really the hallmark of this car. You don't' really have to think about driving it a whole lot. Get in, turn it on, put it in drive, and just go. The 3.5 liter V6 is a decent engine for this car, can merge, pass, not with any sort of Bravado, it just, just does what you need it to do. Again it's not a driver's car, the suspension is okay for maneuvers for handling but you know, it's going to wallow a bit in the corners. Suspension does give you a really smooth ride and that's what I've been impressed about with this fixed suspension not an air suspension, but it's still very reasonably comfortable. It's probably one of the most comfortable fixed suspensions, I've ever driven. I'm looking ahead, looking through the windshield and seeing the head up display and that is showing me my speed, and digital format. It is also showing route guidance and, turn by turn directions if I had route guidance on. I've also got blind spot monitoring, so I'm getting little icons like being up in the side view mirrors when, there is a car in the lanes next to me. That tells me if it's not safe to change lanes. What I don't have in this car is adaptive cruise control, or lane departure warning, or prevention or any of that kind of stuff. Lexus is a little bit behind the curve on that, that type of equipment, yeah. You know with their luxury competitors so, that's one area that it's really kind of lacking. [MUSIC] Okay, let's price out our 2015 Lexus RX350. Base price for the all-wheel drive model, with destination is $43,105. Now, to do it up Cnet style, to get navigation, heated ventilated seats, blind spot monitor, heads up display. That one package will cost you $7,563, for a total of $50,758.

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