Cooley On Cars
On the road: Lexus RX350 F SportThe Lexus RX gets a big revamp for 2016, yet stays stubbornly in the past in some curious ways. Brian Cooley drives it and checks the tech.
[MUSIC] Now as you can tell, the new RX is real different looking, even if you didn't have one like ours that's an F sport, with its special wheels and fancy body kit. It's a bigger piece of RX. Almost two inches longer between the wheels. 4.7 inches longer overall. Nearly an inch and a half taller, and another inch under the belly for ground clearance. With these bigger dimensions, you obviously get more head room and more leg room Front and rear. [MUSIC] And Lexus is very proud of that black thing back there on the side of the roof. They say it makes the roof float in middle air kind of like what Jag did on the XJ a few years ago. Now all F-Sports, like we have, are all wheel drive, but they share the exact same engine and transmission with a non F-Sport. And F-Sport is more about some interior changes Body changes, suspension and handling changes. [MUSIC] Let's get inside. Now like a lot of Lexi lately you've got this handsome cab with these kind of rails and angles all over. It's a good sporty look. Notice the very macho kind of wheel. And that instrument panel is unique to an F Sport. If you get a non-F RX you get kind of a more LS looking set of gauges and dials. So they've really gone to the effort to make this distinctive inside. Here's the worst thing in this car. This controller is crap. I wish they'd get rid of it. They call it Remote Touch. It's like an upside down, kind of a puck operation. It is nothing more than a festival of overshoots. As you try and guide the cursor, with hectic feedback by the way, across the icons and things on the list, and invariably miss and have to come back. Disaster. Fortunately you've got pretty good voice command in this car, and it works not only with the built in Lexus functions, but more or less conveniently works with the various apps under the Lexus app suites, which by the way is optional. Optional. Most importantly you've got a basic overall web search that you can use to find destinations. That is the single most important feature of the apps on this interface. Now notice this big old display which caught your eye. This is a The 12.3 inch. It's not standard. You can also get an eight inch if you don't order this car right so bare that in mind on the option sheet and navigation, by the way, isn't even standard. You get that option late and you can it with or without Mark Levinson Is an audio I'd recommend it with. A very conventional type automatic shifter paddles on the wheel as well. And then here, you've got your drive modes. From Eco, press to go Normal or turn it once or twice to go to Sport or Sport+, which controls a lot of things including an adaptive suspension on an F Sport. We'll check that out on the road in a minute. Under the hood is a story of conventionalism, a 3.5 liter V6 That doesn't use direct injection or a turbo. However, compression's been cranked up from 10.8 to 11.8. As a result, you get 25 more horsepower in this year and 19 more pound-feet of torque. And in the transmission, you get two more gears. Eight now instead of six. Always an automatic, though. Now the R X F Sport's got a nice amount of power. A good torque, as we saw, and yet the driving is not really sharp. If you really put it into sports plus and you probably need to go the paddles as well to get some good sharp response. Otherwise, this damn thing hunts top gear like a hound dog. And that means, you're too often caught flat footed. Unless you're really minding the power train, that annoys me. Now we have 4,400 pounds of RX under our butts, that's quite a bit of vehicle. Zero to 60 in 7.9 seconds, two tenths slower with all wheel driver than in front wheel drive. Nineteen twenty six is your MPG on regular gas by the way, averaging out to 22. I'm gonna guess you're gonna be under 20 on real world. And of course being a Lexus, just about all your touch surfaces in the cabin are soft Behind the wings of the wheel here, soft and padded. These seats, giving and comfortable, completely the opposite of a BMW X1 I recently drove. And even down here inside the door wells where you pull the door closed, it's padded in there too. Lexus could not be less Teutonic. One ergonomic gripe, that big old 12-inch LCD, as beautiful as it is, it's set so far out under the windshield it is frequently victim to heavy glare and a reflection coming off the top of this dash that just kills a lot of the contrast. A '16 RX 350 F Sport, as I mentioned, that's only gonna be all-wheel drive Starts at 50,000 dollars. But we have a long way to go to get to CNet style. Lexus safety is the adaptive drive stuff plus triple bulbed LED head lamps. Navigation with a big screen and Levinson is pricy but it's worth it. Park assist is just sensors. Blind spot and cross traffic alert Why not? The moonroof's a must at just over a grand. I don't have the HUD, but it sure looks good for 600 bucks. Touch free hatch is almost pocket money. And the heated wheel, why not? All in about $59,0000, let's call it 60 C-net [MUSIC] More cars driven CNet style standing by now at CNETOnCars.com. Click on the road. [MUSIC]