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Archive for the ‘Lexus Rx’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy

The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts – high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.

Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RX Crafted

Available only in Australia for the time being, the RX Crafted is based on the Luxury trim and features extra standard equipment. It slots right between the Luxury and F Sport trims, giving customers who want more features but don’t want to pay the F Sport premium a new alternative. The RX Crafted is available with all three powertrains offered in Australia, while production is limited to only 300 examples.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus RX Crafted.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RX350 – Driven

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

  • Aggressively designed
  • 20-inch wheels
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Hands-free tailgate

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763138
“Lexus’ current design language is nearly as polarizing as politics”

Lexus’ current design language is nearly as polarizing as politics. Some love the aggressive design while others thing the Spindle Grille should have been left in the Predator movies. Subjectively, I like it. It’s different and exciting without being overly flashy. It’s not elegant, but it’s hardly ugly, either. Looks are a matter of personal taste, so you’ll have to come to your own conclusion.

On the more objective side, the Lexus RX offers some great features. The front includes triple-beam LED headlights and LED fog lights. 20-inch alloy wheels fill the fenders and black plastic helps give the RX a more SUV-like appearance. All four door handles include passive entry sensors, including the tailgate. Rain-sensing wipers and headlight washers keep forward vision intact.

Around back, the taillights are LED, too, and have an aggressive light signature at night. The tailgate has a cool hands-free feature that responds to a hand or elbow being held over the Lexus emblem for a couple seconds. The tailgate’s push-to-close button also doubles as a door lock button, making it easy to walk away after closing the tailgate without having to touch a door handle or fumble for the key fob.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763139

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 109.8 in.
Overall Length 192.5 in.
Overall Width 74.6 in.
Overall Height (unloaded) 67.7 in. (without roof rack)
Tread Width Front/Rear 64.4/64.0 in.
Ground Clearance 8.2 in.
Approach Angle 17.0 deg.
Departure Angle 24.9 deg.
Breakover Angle 16.8 deg.

Interior

  • Seating for five, respectable room for four
  • 12.3-inch Enform infotainment system
  • 10-way power front seats
  • Reclining second-row seatbacks
  • Nine-speaker audio system
  • 18.4 cubic feet of storage in cargo area
  • 56.3 cubic feet of storage with seats folded

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763170
“Lexus is fantastic at making comfortable, ergonomic interiors and the RX 350 is no different”

Lexus is fantastic at making comfortable, ergonomic interiors and the RX 350 is no different. The buttons and controls are logically placed and comfy leather seats aid in long road trips. The Enform infotainment system has plenty of features and the 12.3-inch screen is pleasant to look at.

The RX has room for five people, though adults in the back seat will be more comfortable without a middle passenger. They enjoy an impressive 38 inches of legroom and enough headroom for someone over six-foot. A folding center armrest and reclining seatbacks pump up the RX’s comfort game.

The front seats are even more comfortable with 10-way power adjustment. The driver’s seat also has a three-position memory feature that remembers the positions of the power tilt and telescoping steering column and power-adjustable side mirrors.

The Lexus Enform infotainment includes all the standard barrage of features, including satellite radio, GPS navigation, a backup camera, traffic and weather information, gas prices, and vehicle maintenance scheduling. It does not, however, have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or any Wi-Fi connectivity system. That puts the Lexus at a disadvantage to many of its competitors.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763176
“I’m not a fan of Enform’s joystick controller.”

I’m not a fan of Enform’s joystick controller. It works, but its learning curve is steep and it requires extra attention than the driver should be dividing from driving. As I wrote in my close look at the Lexus Enform system, moving away from the joystick and adopting a touchscreen would serve Lexus well.

Another downside of the RX is cargo space. Compared to crossovers like the Audi Q5, Cadillac XT5, and Lincoln MKX, the RX falls way short. However, for those not needed to move massive amounts of cargo, the RX’s 18.4 cubic feet in the cargo area and 56.3 cubic feet with seats folded should be plenty.

All told, the Lexus RX’s interior is a wonderful place to spend time and affords a great view of the road and surrounding scenery. That’s especially true with the optional panoramic moonroof.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763168

Interior Dimensions

Seating Capacity 5
Headroom – Front (with moonroof)/Rear 39.4/39.1 in.
Legroom – Front/Rear 44.1/38.0 in.
Shoulder Room – Front/Rear 57.8/57.6 in.
Hip Room – Front/Rear 56.6/56.1 in.
Total Interior Volume 139.7 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume – Cargo area/ Rear seats folded down 18.4/56.3 cu. ft.

Drivetrain

  • 3.5-liter V-6
  • 295 horsepower & 267 pound-feet of torque
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 20 mpg city, 27 mpg hwy, 23 mpg comb
  • FWD & available AWD
  • Available hybrid powertrain

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763157
“Behind that Spindle Grille is Lexus’ familiar 3.5-liter V-6”

Behind that Spindle Grille is Lexus’ familiar 3.5-liter V-6. The all-aluminum engine features dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing. Unlike Toyota’s latest technology, this engine still relies on port fuel injection. It will, however, switch between the fuel-sipping Atkinson combustion cycle and the power-production Otto cycle. Power is rated at 295 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque.

An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. AWD is an option on all RX variants. Fuel economy on the FWD model is a relatively respectable 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

The V-6 and eight-speed combo do a great job moving the RX. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 7.7 seconds and the top speed maxes out at 124 mph. Of course, the RX is far more adept at comfortable cruising than autobahn burning. The suspension utilizes MacPherson struts up front and an independent coil spring arrangement in back, but it’s tuned for comfort over performance. Bumps are soaked up with ease and send very little harshness into the cabin.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763154
“The downside to the soft ride is body roll in the corners and nosedive during hard braking.”

The downside to the soft ride is body roll in the corners and nosedive during hard braking. It’s not terrible, but the RX is no sports car. For those wanting a more athletic driving experience, the RX F Sport is a great choice. Its suspension is firmer in the twisties thanks to adaptive dampers that coordinate with the drive modes.

Drive modes are also present in the standard RX. They include Eco, Normal, and Sport. Each provides different tuning to the engine and transmission computers, making the driving experience very different in each mode. I’ve expounded more on the driving experience here.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763159

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type, Materials V6, aluminum block and heads
Designation 2GR-FKS
Valvetrain DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW
Displacement 3.5 liter
Bore x Stroke 3.70 in. x 3.27 in.
Compression Ratio 11.8:1
Horsepower 295 HP @ 6,300 RPM
Torque 267 LB-FT@ 4,700 RPM
Maximum Engine Speed (redline) 6,300 rpm
Fuel System Sequential Multiport Fuel Injection (EFI, D-4S)
Fuel Requirement Performance Numbers achieved with 87-octane Unleaded fuel
Layout Front engine, full-time all-weather drive (AWD), or front engine, front-wheel drive (FWD)
Transmission Type 8-speed Automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT)
0-60 mph Acceleration (mfg. results) 7.9 sec. (AWD) 7.7 sec. (FWD)
Top Track Speed 124 mph – electronically limited
Estimated Fuel Economy (City/Hwy/Combined) 19/26/22(AWD) 20/28/23(FWD)
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.34

Pricing


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763148

Though my tester is a 2017 model, most consumers will find dealership lots filled with 2018 models by this time. That doesn’t make much difference, though, prices haven’t changed between the years.

My RX350 boasts a slew of optional extras that add a whopping $10,254 to the base price of $43,020. In reality, the RX isn’t offered in dedicated trim levels with set prices and lists of included features. Rather, Lexus allows customers to pick what option packages and stand-alone features they want. It could make the shopping experience potentially more frustrating with trying to refine search results by options rather than a well-defined trim level.


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763172

Options on my tester include:

Blind Spot Monitoring w/ Intuitive Parking Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, & Auto Braking $1,065
Matte Linear Dark Mocha Interior Trim $400
20-inch Gray Alloy wheels $1,170
Touch Free Power Rear Door $200
Triple-Beam LED Headlights $1,615
Panorama Moonroof $1,600
Enform w/ Navigation & 12.3-inch display 2,120
Premium Package w/ Leather seats, folding mirrors, driver memory $960
Heated Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood Steering Wheel $450
Illuminated Door Sill $375
Cargo Net, Cargo Mat, Wheel Locks & Key Glove $299

2018 Lexus RX

RX 350 FWD $43,270
RX 350 AWD $44,670
RX 350L FWD $47,670
RX 350L AWD $49,070
RX 350 F SPORT FWD $48,920
RX 350 F SPORT AWD $50,320
RX 450h AWD $45,695
RX 450h F SPORT AWD $51,055

The Competition

2018 Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 – Driven - image 745026

The XT5 is Cadillac’s newest vehicle and a replacement for the SRX. It rides on the same C1XX platform as the GMC Acadia but shares no exterior or interior components. The interior is lined with leather and suede with room for five people, the CUE infotainment system is improved over other iterations in Caddy’ older models, and it includes welcomed features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-FI hotspot.

Power comes from GM’s familiar 3.6-liter V-6. Here it makes 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque sent to an eight-speed automatic transmission. FWD is standard, but the optional AWD is worth every penny since it has active torque vectoring for more control in both wet and dry driving.

Pricing for the 2018 XT5 starts at $41,590. Cadillac thankfully has trim levels to choose from, with the Luxury costing $47,590; the Premium Luxury costing $54,090; and the Platinum starting at $64,390.

Read our full review on the 2018 Cadillac XT5.

2018 Audi Q5


2017 Audi Q5 - image 690295

The Q5 just underwent a massive update for 2018 and sports a sharpened, fresh appearance and a more high-tech interior. The dash now includes Audi’s lovely Digital Cockpit with Google Maps and various reconfigurable screens. The updated MMI system operates through a laptop-like mouse pad or via the touchscreen. High-end materials abound and the Audi’s German flair remains a big part of the Q5’s nature.

Under the hood of the Q5 resides a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to torque arriving at only 1,600 rpm, the Q5 feels very quick. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic turns all four wheels via Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD system.

Prices for the 2018 Q5 start at $41,500 for the Premium trim. The Premium Plus starts at $45,500 and the range-topping Prestige at $50,800. Check all the option boxes and the Q5 will nearly reach $60,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q5.

Conclusion


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763140

The Lexus RX350 might not be perfect, but it is an incredibly smooth and comfortable luxury crossover that’s completely competent doing daily life and fully able to hit the road on a cross-country road trip. Add to that Lexus and Toyota’s legacy of reliability, and it’s easy to see why the RX finds nearly 110,000 homes in the U.S. every year.

Improvements to the Enform infotainment system and standard heated and vented front seats would make me appreciate the RX even more, but even still, it’s hard to complain about Lexus’ all-star crossover.

  • Leave it
    • * Frustrating infotainment system
    • * Pricy Options
    • * Super competitive segment

References

Lexus RX


2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven
- image 763146

What it’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon What it’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX350 in FWD and without all the extra stuff like the F Sport package and hybrid drivetrain. This is the RX in its purest form. It’s also the least-expensive way to have an RX and a build configuration that you’ll likely find stacked like cordwood at the local Lexus dealer.

It probably comes as no surprise to hear the Lexus RX 350 rides like a cloud on stilts. Lexus has always done a fantastic job building smooth-riding suspension systems for its sedans. That expertise carries over into the RX, along with the 20 years of experience Lexus has with build the luxury crossover. It’s almost hard to believe the RX nameplate is 20 years old in 2018.

Continue reading for our driving impressions.

Everyday Usability


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763376
“Not surprisingly, the Lexus RX handles these daily challenges with a snap – mostly”

A major part of owning a vehicle is its performance when not driving. How easy is it getting in? Can young kids open the door and climb in without help? How comfortable are the seats? These are questions that have to be asked.

Not surprisingly, the Lexus RX handles these daily challenges with a snap – mostly. All four doors have passive entry exterior handles, so grabbing one with the key in your pocket will result in an unlocked door. Handy. The same is true for the rear tailgate.

Getting in does require a high leg lift. The doorsills are somewhat tall and take some getting used to. Once in, the seats cuddle backsides with very soft leather and cushy padding. The seats are old-school Lincoln Town Car soft where it’s hard to move, but they provide plenty of comfort regardless of time or distance. Sadly, Lexus hides its heated and vented front seat option behind a hefty price barrier, making customers shell out $640 for the option on top of requiring the $4,180 Luxury Package and the $1,350 Moonroof Package. That’s $6,170 added to the RX’s base price of $43,270 just to have heated and vented seats. Oh Vey! Oh, and then you’ll have to pay another $150 for a heated steering wheel.

Missing content and pricing aside, the RX’s front seats are very comfortable. The same is true for the second-row seats, too. Softly cushioned seats offer 38 inches of legroom, a folding center armrest, and reclining seatbacks. HVAC vents in the center console keep air blowing, though the temperature is set by the front passenger’s setting. The rear seats are not heated, either, regardless of how much money you throw at Lexus.


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763369
“The rear seats work rather well for my six-year-old and her booster seat”

The rear seats work rather well for my six-year-old and her booster seat. She’s able to open the door, climb in, and buckle herself just fine. Partial credit is due to the width of the rear seats. The outboard positions have plenty wide for even full-grown adjust, so her booster has plenty of room between the buckle and door.

Cargo room is a downside to the RX, at least when compared to its main competitors. It offers 18.4 cubic feet in the cargo area and 56.3 cubic feet with the 60.40-split second row folded flat. You can read how it compares here, but just know the RX is the least spacious out of the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, and Lincoln MKX. Still, the RX has plenty of cargo space for a week’s worth of groceries or a trip to IKEA.

Behind the Wheel


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763368
“In addition to the comfortable front seats, the RX’s cockpit provides ergonomic controls that are logically arranged”

In addition to the comfortable front seats, the RX’s cockpit provides ergonomic controls that are logically arranged. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is a pleasure to hold and its many buttons make short work of accessing common features.

The center stack has two real knobs for radio volume and tuning, making listening to the radio less stressful than some vehicles currently on the market. HVAC controls are well placed, though the buttons are on the small side and require a glance down to find. The infotainment system is, well, typical for the Lexus Enform system. You can read my full thoughts about it here.

The gauge cluster is mostly easy to read and the center information screen offers plenty of vehicle information. Unfortunately, it does not offer a digital speedometer. Opt for the F Sport package and the cluster is replaced with an LFA Supercar-inspired design, complete with a digital speedometer. There is also an optional head-up display if the F Sport isn’t your thing.


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763361
“Lastly, the RX has plenty of storage spots that make life more organized”

Lastly, the RX has plenty of storage spots that make life more organized. There’s a great spot ahead of the shifter for a cell phone. It’s even large enough to accommodate an iPhone Plus. The cup holders are well designed, as is the storage box under the armrest. A decently sized glove box and massive door pockets hold everything else. And as a bonus, Lexus includes hidden storage under the palm rest for the Enform’s joystick. It’s large enough for an older, non-plus iPhone or things like business cards or parking receipts.

Driving Impressions


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763383
“The Lexus RX’s smooth ride makes it a fantastic daily driver, both around town and on the highway”

The Lexus RX’s smooth ride makes it a fantastic daily driver, both around town and on the highway. The supple ride soaks up bumps and road imperfections without translating them into the cabin. Set the cruise control and watch the RX eat miles away. It would make a fantastic road trip machine for two people. The flip side of its smooth ride is body lean in turns and nose dive under hard braking. It’s hardly a problem, but it’s more pronounced than in the RX 350 F Sport. Most will never notice the extra movement. Road and tire noise are also kept to a minimum.

The RX 350’s power comes from the familiar 3.5-liter V-6. Here it produces 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque.
A smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 7.7 seconds and its top speed is 124 mph. The torquey V-6 has no problems spinning the front tires from a stop, especially when turning. Torque steer is present, though it’s not detrimental to the overall driving experience. The brakes are equally impressive, hauling the RX to a stop with confidence. I especially like the pedal feel.


What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350 - image 763379
“Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined”

Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Thanks to a 19.2-gallon fuel tank, the RX has a cruising range of roughly 518 miles. It’s a good thing those seats are comfy, right?

Stick around for our full review of the 2017 Lexus RX350.

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition

Luxury SUVs are expensive and it takes a hefty bank account to afford one, but even wealthy folks love a good deal. After all, saving and spending wisely are critical parts of becoming wealthy, right?

We’re comparing the 2018 Lexus RX350 to a four of its main rivals. These are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKX, and for a comparison to Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the Acura MDX.

Continue reading for the pricing wars.

Setting the Stage

The 2018 Lexus RX 350 is a two-row luxury crossover with a starting price of $43,270. Lexus’ new-for-2018 three-row RX, the RX L, offers seating for seven in a 2+3+2 arrangement and competes with some larger SUVs like the Acura MDX.

2018 Lexus RX


Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition - image 763383
RX 350 FWD $43,270
RX 350 AWD $44,670
RX 350L FWD $47,670
RX 350L AWD $49,070
RX 350 F SPORT FWD $48,920
RX 350 F SPORT AWD $50,320
RX 450h AWD $45,695
RX 450h F SPORT AWD $51,055

2018 Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 745088
2018 Cadillac XT5 $41,590
2018 Cadillac XT5 Luxury $47,590
2018 Cadillac XT5 Premium Luxury $54,090
2018 Cadillac XT5 Platinum $64,390

2018 Audi Q5


2017 Audi Q5 - image 690302
2018 Audi Q5 Premium $41,500
2018 Audi Q5 Premium Plus $45,500
2018 Audi Q5 Prestige $50,800

2018 Lincoln MKX


2016 Lincoln MKX - image 610797

The Lincoln MKX is the only SUV here offered with multiple non-hybrid and non-sporty engine options. Customers can choose between the standard 3.7-liter V-6 or the twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. The Audi does offer a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 in the performance-oriented SQ5 and the Lexus RX is available with a hybrid drivetrain in the RX450h trim.

2018 Lincoln MKX Premiere $39,035
2018 Lincoln MKX Select $42,550
2018 Lincoln MKX Reserve $46,560
2018 Lincoln MKX Black Label $54,230
2.7-liter EcoBoost I-4 $2,000
AWD $2,495

2018 Acura MDX


2017 - 2018 Acura MDX - image 680299

It’s important to not the Acura MDX doesn’t technically have trim levels, but rather uses large option packages to increase the vehicle’s luxury and add to its features.

2018 Acura MXD $44,200
AWD $2,000
Entertainment Package $2,000
Technology Package $4,400
Advance Package $6,050

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


2018 Lexus RXL - image 748241

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX L.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX 350 luxury crossover. We’ve covered it Enform infotainment system, talked about its price verses it competition, and looked at how it drives. Now its time to compare the Lexus’ cargo-carrying abilities.

Four of the Lexus’ main competitors are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, and Lincoln MKX. These two-row crossovers represent some of the hottest-selling in the luxury crossover segment, which itself is one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in the entire automotive industry. We’re also including the three-row Acura MDX as a comparison against Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the RX L.

Continue reading for more information.

2018 Lexus RX350


Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up - image 763351
18.4 cubic feet cargo area
56.3 cubic feet seats folded

2018 Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 654747
30.0 cubic feet cargo area
63.0 cubic feet seats folded

2018 Audi Q5


2017 Audi Q5 - image 763397
26.8 cubic feet cargo area
60.4 cubic feet seats folded

2018 Lincoln MKX


2016 Lincoln MKX - image 763398
37.2 cubic feet cargo area
68.8 cubic feet seats folded

Third Row Variants

2018 Lexus RX L


2018 Lexus RXL - image 748251
7.45 cubic feet behind third row
23.0 cubic feet behind second row
58.5 cubic feet behind first row

2018 Acura MDX


2017 - 2018 Acura MDX - image 763399
15.8 cubic feet behind third row
45.1 cubic feet behind second row
90.9 cubic feet behind first row

Stacking the Result


Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up - image 763350
“Turns out the Lexus RX 350’s sloping roofline and short rear overhang play a detrimental role in decreasing the crossover’s ability to haul stuff”

Turns out the Lexus RX 350’s sloping roofline and short rear overhang play a detrimental role in decreasing the crossover’s ability to haul stuff. Admittedly, we think the outward design is striking and appealing, making the RX one of the more dynamic and eye-catching choices in the luxury crossover segment. At this price point, there is a lot to be said for that.

The 2018 Lincoln MKX is the big winner in the two-row category, offering 7.2 and 5.8 more cubic feet of room behind its second and first rows, respectively, than its nearest competitor, the Cadillac XT5.

When it comes to the three-row variants, the Acura MDX sweeps the floor with the Lexus RX L. The Acura boasts vastly more cubic feet in each area with a grand total of 32.4 cubic feet more of total cargo volume. As for legroom, the MDX offers 38.5 inches in the second row and 28.1 inches in the third row. Lexus hasn’t released legroom figures for the RX L, but should the second-row seats remain the same as the standard RX, it will offer 38.0 inches of legroom.

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


2018 Lexus RXL - image 748241

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX L.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350’s Infotainment System

The Lexus Enform system has been around a while, and unfortunately, its age is showing. While I can’t complain that it doesn’t work, the joystick-controlled system just isn’t the most pleasing to use or the most user-friendly. It takes a while to become comfortable with. Enform also lacks modern features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Still, for all its faults, it’s a decent system. It just goes about the whole user-input thing a bit differently than other systems on the market. It’s hard to criticize Lexus for trying something different, right? Maybe, but it seems Enform might be holding Lexus back. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

What I Like


A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350's Infotainment System - image 763340
“I really appreciate Lexus’ large, 12.3-inch landscape display: it not only looks great but also allows for split-screen viewing of different applications”

I really appreciate Lexus’ large, 12.3-inch landscape display. It not only looks great but also allows for split-screen viewing of different applications. Navigation with its massive map can be running on the left, while the radio information is displayed on the right. It’s also awesome to have both split-screen views running the same application. For example, it allows for two different map views – one tight in and the other of an overview. With the radio, it allows for browsing of channel lists on the left while still seeing what’s currently playing on the right. It makes for an – informed – user experience.

Terrible puns aside, the system’s various menus and features are generally easy to find thanks to their logical arrangement within the system. Navigating through the menus is a slightly different story, however.

What I Don’t Like


A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350's Infotainment System - image 763346
“The joystick control seems like a good idea but put into practice, it fails to impress”

There is just something intangible I’m not fond of with Enform. The joystick control seems like a good idea but put into practice, it fails to impress. The 12.3-inch screen covers a lot of real estate and shows tons of information at once. While that’s great for the eyes, it makes scrolling and selecting just the right button more difficult.

The joystick selector has a force-feedback action that draws the controller to buttons, but even then, it takes concentration and visual focus to use. Of course, that means the user isn’t paying attention to the road. That’s fine for a passenger, but frustrating for the driver. Enform is not an infotainment system that can easily be used while driving – not that you should, anyway, right?

What’s the Solution?


A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350's Infotainment System - image 763338
“Probably the easiest and most doable solution would be replacing the joystick with a touchscreen”

I think the joystick idea is awesome in theory, but it’s the practical application that hinders Enform’s user experience. Probably the easiest and most doable solution would be replacing the joystick with a touchscreen.
Aside from fingerprints, using a touchscreen can be easier since, well, it’s your arm and finger doing the work without a middleman (the joystick) getting in the way.

Lexus would do well by taking cues from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler’s infotainment systems. The Chevrolet MyLInk system and Chrysler Uconnect are two of the most user-friendly systems on the market. They have large, graphic buttons, respond to multi-gestures like an Apple device, and have a modern look about them. Best of all – they are touchscreens. Just have a gander at the new 2019 Ram 1500’s massive 12-inch portrait display. That’s a beautiful way of incorporating a computer into the dashboard.

References

Lexus RX


Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350 - image 763382

Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998, but its most recent iteration came out for 2015. Traditionally a two-row crossover, the RX ventures into new territory for 2018 with a three-row version called the RX350 L. The two extra seats makes the RX L Lexus’ first three-row crossover. Of course, the LX SUV has boasted three rows for quite a while, but with a massive jump in price and less on-road refinement relative to the unibody-based RX.

This week we’re behind the wheel of the 2017 RX 350 in FWD. It’s technically the base model since it doesn’t have the F Sport package, AWD, or the hybrid drivetrain. That’s just fine, though, as Lexus sells a big number of FWD models without the sporty appearance package or expensive hybrid system.

We’re taking a look at the RX 350’s specs – from its 3.5-liter V-6 to its passenger volume. We’ll also be covering several other aspects of the RX, both objectively and subjectively, along with the full driven review. Stay tuned for that.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

Wheelbase 109.8 in.
Overall Length 192.5 in.
Overall Width 74.6 in.
Overall Height (unloaded) 67.7 in. (without roof rack)
Tread Width Front/Rear 64.4/64.0 in.
Ground Clearance 8.2 in.
Approach Angle 17.0 deg.
Departure Angle 24.9 deg.
Breakover Angle 16.8 deg.

Interior

Seating Capacity 5
Headroom – Front (with moonroof)/Rear 39.4/39.1 in.
Legroom – Front/Rear 44.1/38.0 in.
Shoulder Room – Front/Rear 57.8/57.6 in.
Hip Room – Front/Rear 56.6/56.1 in.
Total Interior Volume 139.7 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume – Cargo area/ Rear seats folded down 18.4/56.3 cu. ft.

Drivetrain

Engine Type, Materials V6, aluminum block and heads
Designation 2GR-FKS
Valvetrain DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW
Displacement 3.5 liter
Bore x Stroke 3.70 in. x 3.27 in.
Compression Ratio 11.8:1
Horsepower 295 HP @ 6,300 RPM
Torque 267 LB-FT@ 4,700 RPM
Maximum Engine Speed (redline) 6,300 rpm
Fuel System Sequential Multiport Fuel Injection (EFI, D-4S)
Fuel Requirement Performance Numbers achieved with 87-octane Unleaded fuel
Layout Front engine, full-time all-weather drive (AWD), or front engine, front-wheel drive (FWD)
Transmission Type 8-speed Automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT)
0-60 mph Acceleration (mfg. results) 7.9 sec. (AWD) 7.7 sec. (FWD)
Top Track Speed 124 mph – electronically limited
Estimated Fuel Economy (City/Hwy/Combined) 19/26/22(AWD) 20/28/23(FWD)
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.34

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Lexus RX L Offers Three Rows of Seating for 6 or 7 and Tri-Zone Climate Control

Lexus has debuted a new, long-wheelbase version of its insanely popular RX luxury crossover. The new vehicle is stretched by 4.3 inches to make room for a power-folding third row with two seats. This brings the total seat count to seven – a first for a Lexus crossover. Optionally, second-row captain’s chairs add more comfort and easier access to the third row while bringing the seat count to six. Not surprisingly, Lexus calls this elongated version the RX L.

In addition to the extra two seats, the RX L comes with a tri-zone climate control system with vents for all three rows. Headroom is said to be respectable for third-row passengers thanks to a raised roof height and taller, more upright tailgate. Despite the design change, the RX retains its swoopy yet angular appearance.

The RX L will offer both gasoline and gasoline-hybrid powertrains. The RX 350L uses the newish but familiar 3.5-liter V-6 with 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and FWD is standard and Lexus’ Dynamic Torque Control AWD system. The RX 450L hybrid uses the same V-6 but adds an electric motor and 37-kW battery that bumps horsepower to 308. The hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, and AWD comes standard.

The 2018 Lexus RX L will go on sale before 2017 ends for a starting price of $47,670. Adding AWD knocks the prices to $49,070. Pricing for the hybrid hasn’t been announced. Lexus will continue selling the standard, two-row RX, allowing customers to choose which best suits their needs. Both versions offer the same exterior and interior color choices and list of optional features.

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.


2018 Lexus RX L Offers Three Rows of Seating for 6 or 7 and Tri-Zone Climate Control - image 748241

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX L.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RXL

The mid-size Lexus RX premium crossover has been around for almost two straight decades now, first hitting U.S. shores in the late ‘90s. Since its debut, Lexus has ushered in four generations, with the latest dropping in 2015. Now, it’s time for a refresh, and Lexus is providing just that with the latest 2018 model year. We’re still waiting for all the details, but the big news so far is the addition of third-row seating, bringing total passenger capacity to seven, a much-needed update for the top-selling model. Indeed, the Lexus RX is one of the segment’s most popular entries, and a seven-seater option has been expected for quite some time now. In addition to the added practicality, the RX will continue to offer efficient hybrid power and AWD grip, both features that should find their way to the new three-row model as well. The uniquely sharp exterior styling is expected to continue on more or less unchanged, as will the high-end luxury and technology inside the cabin.

Updating the RX with new seven-seat practicality is a good move for Lexus, giving customers a shot at greater seating capacity without stepping up to the larger V-8-powered Lexus LX and Lexus GX. We should get the full rundown on the 2018 Lexus RXL next week at the Los Angeles Show, but for now, read on for our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 RX 350L.

Exterior

  • Same sharp exterior styling
  • Bright LED headlights
  • Added length behind C-pillars
  • Same wheelbase as before

2016 Lexus RX - image 711912

Note: 2017 model year Lexus RX pictured here.

“Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot”

When Lexus debuted the fourth-gen RX in 2015 at the New York International Auto Show, the updated exterior styling was immediately polarizing. While some praised the hyper-aggressive frontend and large Spindle Grille, others derided it as too busy and angular. However, customers ate it up, and sales increased overall.

Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot. The headlights should still be sharp and narrow, while the front intake will dominate the crossover’s nose. Lower creases will broaden the chin’s visual width, while in the flanks, lower character lines will combine with a “floating roof design” to give the RXL the appearance of a sporty, forward-leaning rake. LED headlights will light the way forward. Alloy wheels measured at 18 inches in diameter will take up residence under the fenders, most likely with a selection of new designs to boot. 20-inch rollers will be an available option. Changes will most likely be minimal – reshaped corner intakes, new rear bumper trim, new exterior color options, and similar enhancements.

“Rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots.”

However, rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots. At the moment, the Lexus is sized at 4,890 mm (192.5 inches) in length, but reports indicate an increase to 5,050 mm (198.8 inches), which is an additional 160 mm (6.3 inches) total. If the RXL is a bit longer, that wouldn’t be a surprise at all – the rear end kinda needs extra metal to squeeze in those extra two seats, especially if the model hopes to offer any sort of rear cargo room as well.

The rest of the exterior dimensions should remain the same, including the wheelbase. To give you an idea what that means, we’ve included the current model’s exterior dimension below.

2017 Lexus RX Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2,789 mm (109.8 inches)
Length 4,890 mm (192.5 inches)
Width 1,895 mm (74.6 inches)
Height 1,720 mm (67.7 inches)

Interior

  • High-end materials like leather, brushed metal, and wood
  • Should include latest suite of safety technology
  • Rearmost headroom might be a bit cramped

2016 Lexus RX - image 624743

Note: 2017 Lexus RX interior pictured here.

“Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features.”

Like the exterior, we think the 2018 RXL’s cabin will be mostly a carryover from the 2017 Lexus RX. That means a broad horizontal layout with a prominent 12.3-inch multimedia screen mounted tall on the dash. An analog clock can be found below the screen, flanked on either side by square air vents. Hard buttons make up the center console, while the central tunnel gets the shifter, a duo of cup holders, and further controls for the infotainment system. A digital readout is found in the gauge cluster, while options include a full-color heads-up display to give it that extra high-tech vibe. There’s also an available rear entertainment package with dual digital screens mounted to the backs of the front seats. The Lexus Enform system offers further connectivity features.

Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features. As is, the Lexus RX offers a panoramic view monitor, parking assist, and blind spot monitor.

Interior materials will include all the usual good stuff, like leather upholstery, brushed metal for the surrounds, and lots of wood trim as well.

“In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department.”

In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department. Even with its extended length, the RX’s sloping roofline in the rear will inevitably impact comfort back there. What’s more, legroom for the middle passengers might get a little more cramped as well after adding an entire third row behind.

Note that the seven-seater incorporates two passengers in front, three in the middle, and two in the rear. To give you a better idea how this upgrade might work in the previous five-seater, we’ve listed the current RX’s interior dimensions below.

2017 Lexus RX Interior Dimensions

Headroom (front / rear) (Inches) 39.4/39.1
Legroom (front / rear) (Inches) 44.1/38
Shoulder room (front / rear) (Inches) 57.8/57.6
Hip room (front / rear) (Inches) 56.6/56.1

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets 3.5-liter V-6
  • Hybrid adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter V-6
  • Is a sport model in the cards?

2016 Lexus RX - image 746640

Note: 2017 Lexus RX engine pictured here.

“Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model”

Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model. Peak output is rated at 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque for the base model, with features like four camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and dual variable valve timing keeping it honest.

Routing the power to the front axle is an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling a run to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 124 mph. Mileage figures look like 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Extra outlay will get you AWD, which adds grip, but makes the crossover a bit slower to 60 mph (7.9 seconds) and a bit less efficient with the dino juice (19 mph city, 26 mpg highway, 22 mph combined).

“If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL.”

If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL. We think it’s unlikely, given the practicality focus of adding a third row, but you never know – folks love their sporty crossovers, these days.

“The hybrid model adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process.”

Next up, we have the hybrid model, which adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process. Routing the muscle is an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). Output comes to 308 horses, while mileage looks like 31 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. AWD comes as standard with the hybrid, with the run to 60 mph taking 7.9 seconds and top speed rated at 112 mph.

Look for all these numbers to carryover with the RXL, possibly with a few minor updates where appropriate (a few extra horsepower here, a few extra mpg there).

2017 Lexus RX Engine And Performance Specs

Engine configuration Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, hybrid 3.5-liter V-6
Drivetrain FWD, AWD
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, CVT
0-to-60 mph 7.7 seconds, 7.9 seconds
Top speed 124 mph, 112 mph
Mileage (mpg, city/highway/combined) 20/27/23, 31/28/30

Prices


2018 Lexus RXL - image 745296

While final pricing has yet to be announced, we aren’t expecting a huge jump for the extended third-row model – perhaps just a couple thousand more at most. As is, the Lexus RX starts at $43,220 for the FWD RX 350, while tossing in AWD bumps that up to $44,620. Go for the RX 350 Sport, and you’re looking at $49,120 for the FWD model and $50,520 for the AWD model. Finally, the hybrid will run ‘ya $53,035, while the hybrid sport is $56,495.

Competition


2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 585697

Audi Q7

Recently revised for the 2017 model year, the Q7 gets all the good stuff that Audi can stuff into its mid-size dimensions. Outside the styling is handsome, with simple design features that look on par with the Four Ring brand’s current crop of vehicles, including a large Singleframe grille in the nose and lots of squared shapes front to back. Inside, the cabin gets a fresh layout that looks equally appealing, arriving with lots of leather, aluminum, and wood. Several engine selections are on tap, including a 3.0-liter diesel, 3.0-liter gas, and 2.0-liter gas options. There’s also a hybrid option, if you’re so inclined.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q7.

Volvo XC90


2016 Volvo XC90 - image 565987

Long story short, the critics love the XC90. Not only does it look great outside, with its sleek front fascia, LED headlights, and powerful proportions, but it gets even better inside, where the Swedes bring the heat with elegance and refinement on par or exceeding that of its European rivals. The technology onboard is extensive and cutting-edge, with lots of features keeping it safe, while five individual powertrains are offered under the hood. Both diesels and gas options make the cut, but the most powerful of the bunch is the T8 hybrid, offering as much as 400 horsepower and 472-pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90

Conclusion


2016 Lexus RX - image 711913

Note: 2017 Lexus RX pictured here.

“This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL.”

Adding an extra row to the uber-popular Lexus RX is a natural evolution for the mid-size crossover. Not only will it expand the practicality and appeal of the model, but it will also do well to broaden the brand’s current crossover offerings overall. This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL. A hybrid option is definitely in the cards at this point, and who knows, maybe a sport version will drop as well.

The only potential drawback we could see is pricing, especially with so many competitors waiting in the wings to scoop up missed sales. That said, we don’t think Lexus will fumble on this one – it seems like a pretty straightforward upgrade to add that rear bench, so the price tag shouldn’t get too much of an increase. Stay tuned for an update after the LA Auto Show.

  • Leave it
    • Polarizing styling
    • Seemingly endless number of competitors
    • Might be a bit cramped on the rear bench

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 746641

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.



Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Apple’s Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads

In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is secretly developing self-driving car technology, and earlier this week, one of the tech giant’s autonomous test mules was possibly spotted out and about on California streets. Made public in a brief video clip posted to Twitter, the car in question is a late-model Lexus RX SUV with what appears to be a roof full of cameras, radar equipment, lidar, and various other sensors critical to self-driving operation. Making the spot was MacCallister Higgins, co-founder of Voyage, a rival self-driving tech startup, who seems convinced that the car is indeed of Apple origin. In response to Higgins’ short video clip, Twitter user @idiggapple posted a pic of the same Lexus (or one that looks very similar), which apparently pulled up to an Apple shuttle stop briefly before departing.

By all accounts, it certainly looks like this is indeed Apple’s latest test mule. The company has already been approved for public testing of autonomous Lexus RX vehicles, the previous iterations of which have made headlines after showing up at random intervals around the Bay Area. To us, this definitely looks like the car is gathering data for self-driving software development, although the car could also be used for mapping purposes, another activity that lends itself to self-driving tech development.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


2021 Apple iCar - image 688456

We’ve been following the Apple car story for a few years now, even going so far as to draw up a rendering of what it might look like. However, these days it’s looking like Apple will probably stick with just creating self-driving software, rather than a whole new car from the ground up.

That wasn’t always the case. Apple’s self-driving project, dubbed internally as “Project Titan,” was reportedly first tasked with designing and producing a standalone all-electric vehicle. However, following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.

“Following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.”

Meanwhile, a variety of other tech companies are also pushing for full-autonomous tech. Google is one good example, which created the subsidiary Waymo to take over its self-driving project in 2009.

The question is this – who will get there first, and what will the tech look like?

While the idea of a standalone car built by tech companies is an interesting proposition, the more likely scenario is an established automaker sourcing self-driving software solutions from the tech companies in some kind of joint project.


Apple's Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads - image 739283
“While getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world.”

The alternative is a company like Tesla, which seems deadest on developing its own systems and offering them directly to customers through products like the Model 3.

But here’s the rub – while getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world. And that’s no easy feat, especially when developing these systems in secrecy while racing to be the first to market. Tesla knows this all to well, already feeling the heat after several highly publicized crashes raised questions over the safety of self-driving systems.

What do you think, dear reader? Does the idea of self-driving cars excite you, or does news like this have you worried? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

References


2021 Apple iCar - image 688199

Read our full speculative review on the 2021 Apple iCar.

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.

PostHeaderIcon Apple’s Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads

In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is secretly developing self-driving car technology, and earlier this week, one of the tech giant’s autonomous test mules was possibly spotted out and about on California streets. Made public in a brief video clip posted to Twitter, the car in question is a late-model Lexus RX SUV with what appears to be a roof full of cameras, radar equipment, lidar, and various other sensors critical to self-driving operation. Making the spot was MacCallister Higgins, co-founder of Voyage, a rival self-driving tech startup, who seems convinced that the car is indeed of Apple origin. In response to Higgins’ short video clip, Twitter user @idiggapple posted a pic of the same Lexus (or one that looks very similar), which apparently pulled up to an Apple shuttle stop briefly before departing.

By all accounts, it certainly looks like this is indeed Apple’s latest test mule. The company has already been approved for public testing of autonomous Lexus RX vehicles, the previous iterations of which have made headlines after showing up at random intervals around the Bay Area. To us, this definitely looks like the car is gathering data for self-driving software development, although the car could also be used for mapping purposes, another activity that lends itself to self-driving tech development.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


2021 Apple iCar - image 688456

We’ve been following the Apple car story for a few years now, even going so far as to draw up a rendering of what it might look like. However, these days it’s looking like Apple will probably stick with just creating self-driving software, rather than a whole new car from the ground up.

That wasn’t always the case. Apple’s self-driving project, dubbed internally as “Project Titan,” was reportedly first tasked with designing and producing a standalone all-electric vehicle. However, following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.

“Following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.”

Meanwhile, a variety of other tech companies are also pushing for full-autonomous tech. Google is one good example, which created the subsidiary Waymo to take over its self-driving project in 2009.

The question is this – who will get there first, and what will the tech look like?

While the idea of a standalone car built by tech companies is an interesting proposition, the more likely scenario is an established automaker sourcing self-driving software solutions from the tech companies in some kind of joint project.


Apple's Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads - image 739283
“While getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world.”

The alternative is a company like Tesla, which seems deadest on developing its own systems and offering them directly to customers through products like the Model 3.

But here’s the rub – while getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world. And that’s no easy feat, especially when developing these systems in secrecy while racing to be the first to market. Tesla knows this all to well, already feeling the heat after several highly publicized crashes raised questions over the safety of self-driving systems.

What do you think, dear reader? Does the idea of self-driving cars excite you, or does news like this have you worried? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

References


2021 Apple iCar - image 688199

Read our full speculative review on the 2021 Apple iCar.

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.

PostHeaderIcon Patent Application For Lexus RX350L Surfaces In Europe

If a recent trademark application in Europe is any indication, the Lexus RX could get a range-topping variant in the near future. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but AutoGuide is reporting that an application for a “Lexus RX350L” trademark has appeared in Europe.

The trademark was filed with the European Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market on March 11, 2016. The application is classified under the category “Automobiles and structural parts thereof”, seemingly indicating that Lexus is planning on building a long-wheelbase version of the RX350. The giveaway in this instance is the addition of the letter “L” on the model’s nameplate. Lexus has a history of using that same letter to indicate a longer version of a specific model. Case in point: the LS600h L, the long-wheelbase hybrid version of the Japanese automaker’s flagship model.

Using that as an indicator, it looks like Lexus is in the process of developing an extended version of the RX SUV, one that could turn into the range-topping version of the entire lineup. It would make sense for Lexus to have a seven-seater SUV sitting as a de facto flagship model, especially in a time when a lot of its rivals are coming out with their own seven-seater SUVs.

There’s still no actual timetable on when the model will be launched, but given the current climate of the SUV market, expect it to arrive sooner than later, possibly as early as late 2016, giving Lexus enough time to prep it as a 2017 model.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Google Exec Explains Crash Caused By Autonomous Vehicle

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, took the stage at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the road accident caused by one of the tech giant’s autonomous vehicles. Word of the crash only made the news last week even though the actual collision between Google’s self-driving Lexus RX and a city transit bus occurred on February 14, 2016.

At the conference, Urmson explained that all of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been taught to move to the right-most lane when they plan to turn right, something all human drivers are also taught to do. The RX did just that, but just before it was supposed to turn right, it detected sand bags on the road ahead it, prompting it to make a sudden stop.

Once the light turned green, the car prepared to take the lane to the left, but not before detecting a city bus that it anticipated would slow down to give way to the car. But the bus didn’t slow down and just as the car was making the lane change, it hit the side of the bus at two mph, resulting in minor damages to both vehicles.

No one was injured from the mishap, but seeing as Google assumed responsibility for causing the crash, Urmson’s team immediately began implementing “3,500 new tests” to ensure that its autonomous cars wouldn’t be responsible for another crash of that nature again. These tests don’t cover the system of just one autonomous vehicle. On the contrary, the self-driving team said that the tech is fed through its fleet of autonomous cars through deep learning technology, enabling all the Google cars to share these tests and experiences from real-world driving situations. The tech giant believes that situations like the one can be used as a learning tool for its entire fleet of cars, ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Google Exec Explains Crash Caused By Autonomous Vehicle

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, took the stage at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the road accident caused by one of the tech giant’s autonomous vehicles. Word of the crash only made the news last week even though the actual collision between Google’s self-driving Lexus RX and a city transit bus occurred on February 14, 2016.

At the conference, Urmson explained that all of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been taught to move to the right-most lane when they plan to turn right, something all human drivers are also taught to do. The RX did just that, but just before it was supposed to turn right, it detected sand bags on the road ahead it, prompting it to make a sudden stop.

Once the light turned green, the car prepared to take the lane to the left, but not before detecting a city bus that it anticipated would slow down to give way to the car. But the bus didn’t slow down and just as the car was making the lane change, it hit the side of the bus at two mph, resulting in minor damages to both vehicles.

No one was injured from the mishap, but seeing as Google assumed responsibility for causing the crash, Urmson’s team immediately began implementing “3,500 new tests” to ensure that its autonomous cars wouldn’t be responsible for another crash of that nature again. These tests don’t cover the system of just one autonomous vehicle. On the contrary, the self-driving team said that the tech is fed through its fleet of autonomous cars through deep learning technology, enabling all the Google cars to share these tests and experiences from real-world driving situations. The tech giant believes that situations like the one can be used as a learning tool for its entire fleet of cars, ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Google Exec Explains Crash Caused By Autonomous Vehicle

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, took the stage at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the road accident caused by one of the tech giant’s autonomous vehicles. Word of the crash only made the news last week even though the actual collision between Google’s self-driving Lexus RX and a city transit bus occurred on February 14, 2016.

At the conference, Urmson explained that all of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been taught to move to the right-most lane when they plan to turn right, something all human drivers are also taught to do. The RX did just that, but just before it was supposed to turn right, it detected sand bags on the road ahead it, prompting it to make a sudden stop.

Once the light turned green, the car prepared to take the lane to the left, but not before detecting a city bus that it anticipated would slow down to give way to the car. But the bus didn’t slow down and just as the car was making the lane change, it hit the side of the bus at two mph, resulting in minor damages to both vehicles.

No one was injured from the mishap, but seeing as Google assumed responsibility for causing the crash, Urmson’s team immediately began implementing “3,500 new tests” to ensure that its autonomous cars wouldn’t be responsible for another crash of that nature again. These tests don’t cover the system of just one autonomous vehicle. On the contrary, the self-driving team said that the tech is fed through its fleet of autonomous cars through deep learning technology, enabling all the Google cars to share these tests and experiences from real-world driving situations. The tech giant believes that situations like the one can be used as a learning tool for its entire fleet of cars, ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Google's Self-Driving Lexus RX Crashes Into Commuter Bus

One of Google’s self-driving vehicles, in this case a Lexus RX, figured into an accident with a transit bus last February 14, 2016 in Mountain View, California. Ironically, the crash occurred within a cartwheel’s distance of the tech giant’s headquarters.

The crash occurred when the autonomous SUV attempted to switch lanes to avoid some sand bags, incorrectly assuming that the bus approaching from behind would either slow down or stop completely to let the car make the lane switch. Neither ended up happening and the RX smacked right into the side of the bus. The RX ended up damaging its front fender, wheel, and a self-driving sensor.

Thankfully, the crash happened at low speeds – the autonomous SUV was angling towards the center lane at two mph while the bus was traveling at 15 mph. Nobody was hurt from the accident and all the passengers of the bus were transferred to a new bus to continue their commute.

Google has since released a statement, saying that it shouldered “some responsibility” for the accident, saying that it could’ve avoided the ordeal entirely if it had just waited for the bus to pass before making the lane switch. That said, it also chalked up the incident to a simple “misunderstanding” that happens routinely on the road every day in all parts of the world.

Since the accident, Google also said that it had reviewed the incident and has made important refinements to its software so that its cars have a clearer understanding of the behavior of public transit vehicles in cases like the one it was involved in.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Lexus RX 200t

Lexus only recently unveiled the 2016 RX, and it has a completely new look that some may love and others, not so much. At the Shanghai Auto Show, Lexus revealed a new addition to the redesigned RX lineup, in the form of the RX 200t.

The Lexus RX lineup dates back to the 1999 model year, which was when the U.S. first laid eyes upon the RX 300 crossover SUV. In 2004, the RX gained a new look, a 3.3-liter engine, and a new name: RX 330. In the 2007 model year, the RX’s engine grew again to a 3.5-liter V-6, which meant that a name change to the RX 350 also took place. Following its change to the RX 350, the SUV received a new look in 2010.

With its new four-cylinder addition for the 2016 model year, the RX is treading into new waters for this segment, as neither the Acura MDX nor the Infiniti QX60 have four-pot offerings. Is this movement to a smaller, turbocharged engine a good move for Lexus?

Continue reading my review of the RX 200t to find out.

Lexus RX 200t originally appeared on topspeed.com on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 11:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Lexus RX – Generations

Lexus unveiled the all-new RX at the New York Auto Show last week, and the redesigned crossover hits showrooms in 2016. The RX luxury crossover is such an integral part of the Lexus lineup that it’s easy to forget it’s only been a part of the family since 1998, when it debuted as a 1999 model. As one of the first true crossover vehicles, the RX was born just as the sport-utility vehicle craze was hitting its stride, and its unibody chassis and car-like ride predicted fairly accurately the future of the SUV.

Considering the RX has always shown a remarkable focus in terms of what it offers, this could be a case of the market adapting to the vehicle, rather than the other way around. How did Lexus pull that off? Let’s take a look back at the previous three generations of the RX.

Continue reading to learn more about Lexus RX’s generations.

Lexus RX – Generations originally appeared on topspeed.com on Thursday, 9 April 2015 18:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon C-Pillar Design Comparison: Lexus RX Vs. Nissan Maxima

If you’ve been following us lately, you probably noticed our new focus on comparisons. They helped us conclude the new Focus RS is a better alternative to the Golf R, and that the Porsche Boxster has the upper hand over the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Also, comparing the Focus RS and the 2015 Mustang made us realize Ford is brave enough to let use choose between two fantastic and highly desirable performance cars. If you enjoyed those, than be prepared for more, but until we roll out our next comparo, we will take a closer look at the 2016 Nissan Maxima and 2016 Lexus RX.

Confused? Than let me say that this isn’t a regular comparison. That would be impossible since the two come in different shapes and sizes, and, more importantly, compete in completely different segments. So what do the Maxima and the RX have in common, you may ask? Well, besides being made by Japanese manufacturers, these new models share a common design feature, which seems rather awkward with both cars having been introduced at the New York Auto Show. Keep reading to find out more about it.

Continue reading for the whole story.

C-Pillar Design Comparison: Lexus RX Vs. Nissan Maxima originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 06:00 EST.

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