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RX – and in particular the RX 350 I just spent a week in – is the vehicle I’ll always think of as ‘the other Kluger’.
Save thousands off a new car here (Australia only):
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – not at all. Quite the opposite. I’m seeing upmarket mum and dad and two big, strapping teenagers travelling anywhere (but let’s face it: mostly stuck in city traffic #reality) in comparative opulence, with legroom to burn…
This is a big five-seater, and nobody in row two needs to pay the price for ergonomic concessions built in to facilitate row three – because there’s no row 3 to facilitate.
This vehicle is unlikely to give you any trouble. Typically Toyota in the DNA, it’s dependable, comfortable, quiet, refined. Goes where you point it. Keeps up. But – just so you know I’m not about to kneel down and unzip Lexus in the manner of some aspiring fluffer – RX is just not that exciting. Not that dynamic.
The 350 has heaps of poke in a straight line – a modern 3.5 V6 will do that – and it’s smooth, thanks to an eight-speed conventional epicyclic auto. You’ve got to rev it, but when you do, it rewards. Highway-speed overtaking – no problem – big trucks, uphill – whatever – big tick.
And at least Toyota/Lexus has the good grace to use a proper 60-degree V6 and not one of those Frankenstein-inspired truncated 90-degree V8s. (You know: ‘we took the angle grinder to the 5.0 V8 and look what fell out.) I hate those truncated V8s. Looking at you, General Motors.
At its core, this is not the vehicle you buy for inherent driving excitement and engagement. And that’s fine – it just depends on you and your driving expectations. Most drivers are like that, I think – they wouldn’t understand the passion of tipping a car into a bend hard if it jumped up and bit them on the arse. In fact, doing that kind of thing secretly terrifies them. Especially in the wet.
There’s an entry-level RX 300 with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol four and six-speed auto – it’s the only front-drive RX you can buy. There’s also a hybrid version of the 3.5 V6 – it’s got slightly less grunt and a six-speed CVT instead of the internal combustion-only eight-speed auto.
Frankly I don’t know why you’d buy either the 300 or the 450h – you could get a Kluger Grande for much less than an RX300. And it’s going to be smoother and have more grip, thanks to AWD and better auto.
The Hybrid is difficult to justify because it’s $10,000 more than the 350. Therefore, the payback period is, like, 170,000km. And, anyway, nobody in their right mind spends $100,000 on a car to save money on fuel. If you’ve got $100k for a car, fuel is cheap. You don’t care what it costs. It’s a budgetary triviality.
If you want to be truly green you cannot drive a two-tonne vehicle without having breathtaking disrespect and/or ignorance of basic thermodynamics. If you want to be green, catch the friggin’ train to work. (So unpalatable for the rich.)
Sidelining the 300 and 450h variants, I absolutely can make a strong case for the RX 350.
Back to the differences: over in Klugerville, you can get front-drive versions of the atmo V6 as well as AWD – but with RX 350, they’re all AWD.
Biggest difference – apart from the more hatch-like converging roof on the RX and the outrageous snout and grille (which you will either embrace or not – it’s purely subjective) is that Shitsville Kluger is manufactured in Retardistan, whereas Shitsville RX emanates from the land of the rising sun itself. Home grown, in a sense.
Kluger is thus tuned to run on 91 RON unleaded. (That’s roughly equivalent to 87 in the US. They use a different rating system called ‘anti-knock index’). But Australian-spec RX demands 95 RON premium unleaded.
As a result RX has slightly higher peak power and torque figures than Kluger. But only slightly. You’re not going to feel it. You just need to know not to run it on 91 or (most) blends of e10.
A Kluger Grande AWD – the pimp’s Cadillac of Klugers – is going to knock you back about $75,000 in the traffic, notionally. And it’ll have seven seats.
RX 350 F Sport: About $100,000 on the road. Five seats. Five hundred kilos less tow capacity. More standard equipment, however.
One’s a prestige car, the other is the Camry of soft SUVs. And the obvious question is: Is it really worth paying 30 per cent more for the Lexus? Objectively, the Lexus is more polished. You’ve stepped up, but the law of diminishing returns is also in play. It’s certainly not 30 per cent better.
If you’ve never fantasised about starting from pole position, and if you’re in the market for a robust, reliable and extremely polished taxi for comfortable family conveyance, and if you’ve got the cash, and if you can see the value in elevating yourself above the mainstream, despite the law of diminishing returns, then RX 350 is a great option around the $100 grand mark.
If that’s you, you should put RX 350 on your shortlist.


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29 Replies to “2019 Lexus RX review | Auto Expert John Cadogan”

  1. John, what can I say,,, you were right in relation to our purchase of our 2017 XC90, excellent car all round, great sales team, BUT, the after sales service and lack of knowledge or just pure negligence from the service department is criminal! I could go on and on with the pure crap that we have been put through in relation to our Volvo Dealer but I won't bore you or the other readers. With just 60,000km on the clock we are cutting our losses and trading it in for the RX350. Would have loved to have gone for something like the Kruger or CX9 but the $ didn't add up. So with all the reviews that I have read hopefully our future experience with Lexus will be a trouble free one.
    Keep up the good work and I really should not have been smoking the crack pipe two years ago as you so elegantly put it…

  2. Response to AutoExpertTV:So now all the YOUTUB public can see the real you. Mr. AutoExpert an angry disrespectful man that uses profanity and disparages YouTube viewers when they express their opinion about your videos. It’s interesting that you can dish it out and disparage members of the car industry but you consider yourself an exception and special when someone constructively criticizes you. You can give it but not take it. In my comments I never used profanity at you or referred to your character with disparaging remarks. But what do I know; I’m just a common American among many YouTube viewers that you referred to as a no body.

  3. Love your work as always mate, and aside from being a shining beacon in a shitstorm of auto industry bullshit, every time I watch your videos I feel the vocabulary centre of my brain being stimulated (ie dead dingos donger lol). On a serious note have you ever considered setting up some kind of payment system that we could contribute to as a way of supporting your mostly thankless work?

  4. Hey john
    Im a diesel mechanic apprentice, whilst at training one of the trainers got onto the topic of the dpf hiluxs.
    Apparently he heard the dpf hiluxs are supposed to be running a different oil with a lower sulfer content than their usual oil. And toyota dealerships were just putting the old style oil in.
    I see the advantages of running after treatment systems with the trucks at work. Meeting euro emmisions in the after treatment means you can actually run the engine slightly more 'dirty' for more power and still meet emmissions.
    Great videos keep up the good work

  5. I have owned a Mercedes but because of after sales service I sold it! Mercedes really treat their clients like crap! I currently own an Audi and I absolutely love it although have had some small issues with after sales service mainly the corporate program.

  6. Hey you, you’d be better just being a stand up comedian swearing about religion and all other sh*t but your knowledge of cars for you is best left alone lol,

  7. As a patriotic citizen of Retardistan, I fully appreciate your comparison between the paragon of reliability, Lexus, and the icon of perpetual woe, BMW. Nothing like the encouraging words of wisdom from a faithful compatriot…

  8. Had the rx450h for 2 yrs now. My biggest gripe is not the infotainment system which is a doddle to use…honestly. Why do we need or want a mac or android system in a car? Keep it simple.

    No…its the comparitive lack of load space compared with say an X5. Hybrid buys better city mpg but it wont run on EV up hills or if you have the right foot of a lead booted urangotang. Hybrid adds 400kg so why drag all that about? Well here in blighty you get about 32mpg…and closer to 45mpg in town…not great but not bad.

    However…stomp on the gas and shove in sport mode is instant. 2.3 tonnes to 60mph in under 7 seconds…averaged over 5 runs more like 6.8 seconds backed up by independant tests. Ignore the spec sheets…they understate the true performance..they actually publish truly pessamistic performance figures not born out by testing against gps…maybe to put off the hoy-palloy from buying? Who knows but it is a quick motor.

    Cruising is quiet and refined and reliability is legendary…best cars made. Want excitement? Buy a sports car. Want a do it all reliable refined and rapid motor that carries 5 in luxury? Buy an rx450h f sport.

  9. I'm not updating my 2011 Lexus IS 350 f sport until they get rid of that disgusting front end grille thing. I hope whomever designed that is now pushing up daisies somewhere.

  10. I had the latest RX450h all day very nice very refined. Yes reliability of Lexus is like no other! Again i love my LS magnificent piece of machinery and better than Benz.

  11. Hi john love your videos Iam thinking of purchasing a motor home what do think of the fiat are they as bad as the rest of the fiats cars don't like front wheel drive on a big thing like that what is your preference in motor homes

  12. Always been toyota & owned many, still do but recently dived into the 4 rings, near new & the whole experience, dealer included has been fantastic. I was treated like it was a new car I was buying, even though I screwed them down to the last cent. So far the car has been faultless & so fun to drive. Time will tell on reliability but I have my ol Landcruiser for that.

  13. Been waiting for this review. The Lexus brand suits my un-exciting, long distance driving luxury seeking self. Thanks John. Patrick Bwoye – South Africa

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