Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Community News Network

February 3, 2014

Lexus RX crossover gets upgraded style, crispness with sport package

Ever since the Lexus RX was launched 15 years ago, it’s followed a three-part formula that buyers seem to like.

One, it’s built incredibly well. From the rich materials to the tight construction and subtle color choices, it’s hard to find any crossovers that are executed better than this one.

Two, it’s got a quiet, smooth ride that makes it a joy on highway trips.

And three, it’s got an overall style that is classy but doesn’t draw too much attention to itself. It’s more subdued than ostentatious.

That’s why I was surprised to see that Lexus has dramatically changed two-thirds of that formula on the 2014 RX 350, at least when you opt for the F SPORT package.

The sporty version of the RX is still built as wonderfully as any other RX, but its firm suspension and more aggressive styling combine to give it a different personality from the standard model.

First, there’s the bling.

The F SPORT package adds big, dark, 19-inch wheels that look trendier and more youthful than the base RX. It also gets an angrier looking front end, with a unique mesh grille treatment and bigger air intake thanks to its revised front bumper.

Inside, black leather upholstery with silver stitching, ebony bird’s eye maple wood trim and a black headliner give it a sinister look. But, despite all the blackness, it doesn’t have the cave-like feeling you might expect. The textures are different and rich enough that it feels more warm and cozy than dark and cold.

The biggest surprise for me, though, is just how differently this F SPORT version drives. A major reason for that is a firmer suspension, of course, which makes it much more controllable in aggressive maneuvering and tight turns.

Another reason is that the F SPORT model gets its own special transmission, an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Not only does it drive extremely well with crisp, quick shifts, but it also results in a 2-mpg improvement in fuel economy on the highway.

The big question is whether you should opt for the firm-riding F SPORT or the smooth-riding regular RX. Personally, I’d pick the smoother, squishier suspension since that’s what crossovers are best at. If I wanted a car that thrills me, I’d get a true sports sedan like the new Lexus IS instead.

At the same time, I understand the appeal of the RX 350 F SPORT. For people who like the quality and practicality of the RX but want it with a more exciting, engaging look and feel, it’s a nice twist on the RX’s longstanding formula for success.

Pricing starts at $39,760 for the RX 350 and $47,450 for the F SPORT model. A more fuel-efficient version, the RX 450h hybrid, is also available starting at $46,410.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller