Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: 2013 Lexus RX350 F Sport adds perks

One of the most popular luxury SUVs on the market, the Lexus RX 350, is now available in the carmaker's F Sport trim, which brings cosmetic changes, as well as eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a sport-tuned suspension.

Appearance: The F Sport trim adds a chrome-trimmed black-mesh grille to the now-familiar hourglass shape. The grille is complemented by LED eyeliners beneath the headlights. Our tester came in Claret Mica, a rich burgundy color that was set off by 19-inch twisted-spoke alloy wheels with a dark graphite finish. Overall, the F Sport trim brings some attitude to a family SUV.

Performance: The F Sport isn't about power. The same 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 — an adequate performer — comes in all RX trims. The F Sport's 8-speed automatic transmission does slightly improve the estimated highway mpg (18/26) over the other RX models and their 6-speed gearboxes (18/24 for AWD). We split on the SUV's ride, with Lyra finding the suspension's tuning harsh and stiff. She also didn't like the steering feel, thinking it lacking in feedback. Overall, she thought the RX felt heavy. Peter, while agreeing that you'll feel the bumps a little more, drove the RX back from Tallahassee in light rain and heavy fog. He felt confident in the vehicle's AWD handling and was glad for its sturdiness (and heads-up display).

Interior: Like the other Lexuses we've driven, the interior is superb, with excellent materials and fit and finish. Our tester's comfortable black leather seats were attractive, with white contrast stitching that also shows up on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The front seats are heated and cooled, of course, but the controls are placed just in front of the armrest bin — too far back for a shorter driver like Lyra, who, with the seat moved forward, had to contort her arm to reach it. The 10-way seat adjustment is helpful for a shorter driver, however. In the rear, the seats are roomy and sit high. We both loved the stylish interior design, with its asymmetrical center console and the deeply inset LCD screen that protects against glare. The RX 350 has the available Enform infotainment system and standard Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. Like other Lexus vehicles, the RX 350 has a mouse instead of a touchscreen. Lyra isn't a fan of it, but Peter thinks it's an easier way to change audio or other settings while driving. The rear seat backs fold flat for excellent storage space (up to 80.3 cubic feet). Peter was able to load all of his daughter's belongings on the trip back from Florida State University.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Color: I like the rich hue, and it looked at home on the FSU campus.

Intangibles: Peter isn't a big SUV fan, but the RX F Sport is one he could envision owning.

Lift gate: It made loading and unloading easier.

Lyra Solochek

Heads-up display: See your speed and turn directions without taking your eyes off the road.

Audio: 7.1-channel 330-watt sound system with 15 speakers.

F Sport wheels: Beautiful graphite finish on the twisted-spoke wheels.

The bottom line: Is the stylish F Sport package really worth the $6,000-plus over the standard 350 AWD model?









2013 Lexus RX 350

F Sport

Price: $39,660 base start, $47,000 F Sport start, $53,924 as tested

Powertrain: 3.5-liter V-6 with 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, all-wheel drive

Horsepower: 270 at 6,200 rpm

Torque: 248 pound-feet at 4,700 rpm

Curb weight: 4,510 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 107.9

Length, 187.8

Width, 74.2

Height, 67.7

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

18 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway

Safety features: Dual advanced front airbags, front knee airbags, side curtains, vehicle dynamics integrated management with ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, Safety Connect postcollision notification

Website: lexus.com/models/RX/

The Daily Drivers: 2013 Lexus RX350 F Sport adds perks 01/11/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]
  2. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Tampa Heights project gets $21.5 million in funding

    Real Estate

    TAMPA --- The Tampa-based Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa. Proceeds from the bond issue are expected to used for new roads, sidewalks, the Tampa …

    Tampa's Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.
[Courtesy of Aerial Innovations, Inc.]
  4. Grocery chain Aldi hiring for 500 positions across Florida

    Retail

    Aldi, the German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across Florida, including at its locations in Tampa Bay. The company will hold a "one-day hiring spree" Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Aldi stores in the state, a Tuesday release said.

    Aldi, a German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across the state. | [Times file photo]
  5. Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow

    News

    TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

    A resident walks by a pile of debris caused by a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in Everglades City. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida's worst storm surges, up to 9 feet (2.7 meters), when Hurricane Irma slammed the region eight days ago, leaving the insides of homes a sodden mess and caking the streets with mud. The storm affected nearly every part of the state, and, so far, the death toll stands at 42. [AP Photo | Alan Diaz]