2014 Lexus RX 350 Demonstrates How Lexus Created and Then Dominated the Luxury Crossover Utility Vehicle Segment


There’s no question that Lexus created the blueprint for the luxury crossover utility vehicle 15 years ago with the original RX models. The 2014 RX 350 maintains its segment leadership by evolving that original, much-copied formula. The 2013 model year brought a freshened design with the bold brand-signature spindle grille. The line also brought new driving pleasure with the RX 350 F SPORT model.

The RX 350 continues in front-wheel drive and all-weather drive models, along with the F SPORT exclusively with all-weather drive. Each is powered by the silken-smooth 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with 270 horsepower. The standard model (FWD and AWD) uses a six-speed automatic transmission while F SPORT uses eight-speed automatic transmission.

Convenience and ease of use make another leap in the 2014 Lexus RX 350 with the addition of available Siri® Eyes Free Mode technology licensed from Apple®. Compatible with the iPhone® 4S and iPhone 5 models forward, Siri lets you call contacts, select and play music from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation through Siri and Apple maps, and much more. To help you  keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, Siri can read notifications and calendar information and allow you to add reminders, calendar appointments and notes.
 
F SPORT
The RX F SPORT is a special model, with an exclusive drivetrain and chassis tuning. It’s the first RX model equipped with an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, and it exhibits a greater appetite for the road with twist-spoke 19-inch wheels and F SPORT tuned suspension. The F SPORT is clearly the driver’s RX 350, yet still a crossover that coddles passengers in quiet comfort.

The eight-speed transmission not only makes the RX 350 F SPORT more responsive, but also boosts EPA highway fuel economy from 24 mpg to 26 mpg.

The Lexus signature spindle grille gets the distinctive mesh style finish with the F SPORT, which is also distinguished by its own front bumper design. The F SPORT interior stands apart, as well, its black leather accented by contrasting silver stitching, ebony bird’s-eye maple wood trim, black headliner and aluminum pedals and footrest.

The F SPORT steps up the standard luxury by including all features from the Premium and Comfort Packages, which remain options for the standard model. The Premium Package equips the RX 350 with a perforated leather-trimmed interior, power moonroof, memory system for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and more. The Comfort Package adds heated and ventilated front seats, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.
 
Intelligent All-Weather Drive
With available Active Torque Control All-Weather Drive, the RX 350 is ready for any weather. The electronically controlled system can vary the torque distribution from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 split between front and rear wheels. When accelerating, or starting on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, prioritizing fuel efficiency.
 
Where Agility Meets Versatility
The deft balance of excellent handling with serene ride comfort that Lexus achieved with the RX 350 reflects the brand’s obsessive attention to true luxury. For example, the front suspension coil springs are inversely wound and compress in opposite directions. That arrangement prevents the negative effects of suspension compression on steering, helping to result in better straight-line stability.

The double-wishbone rear suspension would be right at home in a razor-sharp sport sedan. In the RX 350, the rear suspension design has the added benefit of yielding a wide, flat rear cargo area. The benefit is impressive: with the 40/20/40 split rear seat in use, the RX 350 offers 40 cu. ft. of carrying space. Folding all sections of the rear seat doubles that.
 
High Standard of Luxury
Lexus interiors have set new standards in design, materials, standard features and details, and the RX 350 shows why. The 10-way power front seats, ebony or espresso bird’s eye maple and dual-zone automatic climate control system set the tone for the luxury found throughout the cabin. The RX 350 upholds another Lexus tradition, the inclusion of true premium audio as standard equipment. The nine-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System offers a multitude of music source choices, including a CD player, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, Bluetooth® audio streaming and USB/iPod® control.

The Display Audio/Rear Backup Camera Package upgrades the audio system to 12 speakers. For the ultimate in mobile sound, Lexus exclusively offers Mark Levinson® audio systems, a brand revered by audiophiles. The RX 350’s optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system will delight discerning ears, no matter the music choice. The system delivers 330 total watts of power through a 15-speaker array with an incredibly low 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD).

The standard SmartAccess system combines push-button starting and touch-sensitive exterior door handles. When the driver turns off the ignition, the seat automatically slides up to two inches rearward and the power tilt/telescoping steering wheel tilts upward and slides forward to ease exit. The next time the driver is seated and pushes the “On” button, the seat and steering wheel return to their preset positions automatically.
 
Exemplary Safety Features
All Lexus RX models are equipped with 10 standard airbags, including side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, rear side airbags (for the outboard seating positions) and knee airbags for the driver and the front passenger.

Options help the RX 350 driver see more clearly, and to be alerted to what is not seen but may pose a danger. The Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling directly ahead. The radar sensor can detect certain obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer uses various sensors to determine whether a collision is imminent. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.
           
Connected, Informed and Entertained
The RX 350 driver and passengers open a world of connectivity and entertainment features when they step inside this luxurious vehicle. When equipped with the optional navigation package, the RX 350 comes with Lexus Enform that can make a compatible Bluetooth smartphone even smarter. The available Enform service, with Destination Assist, eDestination, and App Suite, comes with the Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package.  Lexus Enform provides access to the subscription-free App Suite.  These voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, listen to Internet radio, including , Pandora®, and  iHeartRadio, search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on  Facebook Places.

The RX 350’s telematics system, Lexus Enformwith Safety Connect® is available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are available on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles while Lexus Enform with Safety Connect is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week—every day of the year.

Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services including NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. SiriusXM services offer complimentary one-year trial data subscription.

Using high-intensity LEDs for high contrast and readability, the available Heads Up Display projects high-contrast white figures onto the windshield for speed, navigation and audio settings.

Rear-seat passengers will find the comfort in nearly 37 inches of legroom in the RX 350. The optional rear-seat entertainment system gives that roominess even more purpose. Each of the system’s two high-resolution seven-inch screens (one on each of the front seatbacks) can display video from a separate source, and the passengers can listen to audio through the wireless headphones.
 
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