2010 Lexus RX Review – Walkaround and Interior
By John Stewart [NewCarTestDrive]
Edging away from the current RX look, the 2010 RX 350 has a wider
stance, with more pronounced front fenders and crisper lines overall.
As in the previous generation, the grille is placed lower than the
headlights, so the Lexus family resemblance carries on, but the
headlights are more sharply defined and the roofline is flatter. In
essence, the rounded egg-shaped body has been redefined at the corners
to retain fluid RX cues in an updated format.
In the process, the new RX got slipperier, with a coefficient of drag of 0.33, down from 0.35.
The RX has a new keyless entry system that has a better-integrated
sensor on the front doors. It looks sleeker, and the door handles
themselves have been redesigned for a more comfortable grip. Fog lamps
are integrated into the front bumper, and the outside mirrors are
The RX 450h is distinguished by a different, more finely slotted grille
and front bumper treatment, and by energy-saving LED headlights that
are exclusive to the hybrid. Both the RX 350 and RX 450h have LED brake
lights and turn signals, but the hybrid has auto-dimming outside
mirrors. The 450h also has blue emblems and logos, and is available in
an exclusive White Pearl color.
The RX comes with 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels with 235/60R18
tires; 19-inch wheels are available as part of the Sport Package or as
a stand-alone option.
It’s strangely exciting to sit in the cockpit of the new Lexus
RX 350 and RX 450h. There is a sensation of having so much to do, just
like configuring a new computer. There are seating adjustments to lock
in, preferences for the Remote Touch controller, operating modes to
select and dashboard combinations to try out. We have a feeling an RX
owner would be surprised to discover new features after months of
The RX comes to life with the push of a button. The instruments are
bright and engaging, and shaded from outside light. The seats now have
slightly higher side bolsters for support during cornering, but they’re
still easy to get into. They feel firm at first, but medium-soft once
you settle in, and are easily adjusted to a variety of positions. Mood
lighting in the footwells and cabin supports a sense of quality and
The new cockpit provides a step up in sophistication, conveyed in part
by a gifted design scheme that includes no straight lines or sharp
corners. Every element of the interior is curved, arched or rounded in
some way, so lines blend with subtle grace and harmony. California
Walnut wood trim accents are mixed with three different interior color
combinations, complementing black, light gray, and parchment tones.
The cockpit is divided into two separate zones. The first is for
information functions, located higher up where they are easy to see.
The second is for control functions, located lower and within easy
reach of both front seat occupants. This division is made possible by
The Remote Touch system is essentially a computer mouse. It’s located
exactly where your hand would fall if your elbow were resting on the
center console. This mouse will be immediately familiar to anyone who
has used a computer. It replaces the need to reach out and touch the
screen to use the Navigation system, or adjust audio or climate
settings. We found it was simple to use while driving. It allowed us to
avoid focusing on the navi screen to tune the climate control or turn
down the volume. Plus, no more fingerprints on the screen.
The center console is bridge-like with open storage under the center.
The shifter is immediately above the Remote Touch mouse.
There are a number of redundant hard buttons on the steering wheel, and
at various points on the dash, 52 in all, but the Remote Touch mouse
really does reduce the need to use them. Like a computer mouse, Remote
Touch can be adjusted for sensitivity to your preference.
The navigation system is a sixth-generation version, with casual speech
voice recognition capability for hands-free operation of audio,
climate, and Bluetooth. The system runs from a hard disc, not a DVD, so
it’s faster and allegedly smarter than the previous system. Among the
improvements are easier phonebook transfer, voice command access to the
phonebook, and smart auto-fill when selecting destinations.
XM satellite capability is built in, and the first three months are
free when you buy the RX. Three services are available: real-time
traffic, advance weather forecasts and XM Satellite Radio. It costs
$23.99 a month to subscribe to all three services after the trial
The standard audio system has 9 speakers, a 6-disc CD changer and can
play MP3 and WMA files from your iPod. A 12-speaker system comes with
the navigation system, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound
system is available for those who require an audio system consistent
with the very best home systems.
The front seats now have longer cushions, with higher backrests, and
are fitted with active headrests as standard equipment. The headrests
are designed to adjust upward in the event of a rear-end collision,
reducing whiplash. Because of the active headrests, rear-seat
entertainment screens are independently mounted in pods behind the
headrests. The two seven-inch LCD screens can operate separately so one
passenger can play a game while another passenger watches a DVD. The
seats are covered in fabric in standard trim, with leather and
semi-aniline leather offered as available options.
One of our test units had seats covered in the consistently flawless
semi-aniline leather, and we were hard pressed to find a misplaced
stitch or shadow of stain anywhere. In fact, the leather is so supple
and uniformly perfect we first thought it must be synthetic material.
Regardless of the covering, both front seats are 10-way adjustable,
with memory, and heated/air conditioned seats are available.
The rear seat can accommodate five and has a 40/20/40 fold-down split.
The new design makes it easier to release one or both seats from the
back, without having to walk around to the side, when loading cargo.
The rear seats also have a fold-down center console with a covered wood
grain cupholder and separate covered storage compartment. The rear
seats are shorter, with less reclinability than the front seats, but
with good legroom for average-size adults like ourselves, much better
than a seat on a 757 these days. There are four grab handles, one for
each door. There are two rear air conditioning vents to cool the rear
Cargo room behind the rear seats has been slightly increased to 40 cubic feet, enough for four average golf bags.
When it comes to the interior, the hybrid 450h is essentially the same
as the 350, except that the 450h has an Eco driving indicator that
displays fuel economy using a bar graph. A hybrid system indicator
replaces the tachometer to provide driving feedback.