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Lexus RX 350 Driving Experiences and Problems



  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    edited February 2010
    Actually, my '07 RX was made in Canada. I have the non-navi model, and I've had no problems with it.

    I'm wondering if Lexus was trying to make the 2010 RX sound more sportier?? I mean, it sounds nice when you first hit the push button start, but after that it gets annoying. I've been playing my iPod on the stereo, which helps to drown out the exhaust note.
    It definitely has a different exhaust sound than my '07 RX. Ironically, the exhaust tip on the outside I felt was another disappointment in the 2010. I thought Lexus would follow suit like they did with the other models; IS, ES, GS, and put the split dual
    exhaust tips on the RX to give it a little sportier flair. But you can't even see the exhaust tip on the 2010. It's kind of hidden under the

    Now, I did drive it at night tonight, and the interior lighting is nice for nighttime driving. I got to play with the nav on this model a little
    bit. After a little fumbling, I was able to input my home address and it took me right to my doorstep. The controls are so different and the interior design is so different from my '07. I believe it would take a little more time to get to know this vehicle. Also, I
    discovered there's no sunglass holder. As I've said in previous posts, I'm having a hard time justifying paying more money for any crossover SUV out right now that would be worth turning in my '07 RX for.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    I'm just curious maximafan, do you have a maxima, I have a 2010 Maxima SV and I am loving the car so far in almost every regard! we looked at the 2010 RX350 before getting the Max, we liked the testdrive but we could not get the vehicle how we wanted it with out getting the expensively priced nav package and audio package which both we didn't need; I just feel for a vehicle over $40k I would expect HID Xenon's to come standard without having to get a nav and audio package but you can't and I couldn't wait 4 months to get one ordered how I wanted from Japan so we went with the new Max!

    sorry I went off on a little bit of a tangent but I'm curious that you mentioned how loud the vehicle is; I test drove a base AWD version twice and found the vehicle to be extremely quiet; what version do you have? I have read that the sport package and hybrid models tend to have more wind, road, and exhaust noise then the regular FWD and AWD options without the sport package?
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    edited February 2010
    Hey, Smarty666. When I first joined Carspace back in 2005 or 2006, I believe it was, I was leasing a 2002 Nissan Maxima. It was
    a great car, but got totalled in an accident back in July of 2006.
    Thus, this is how I ended up leasing a 2007 Lexus RX350 in August of 2006. So while I enjoyed driving the Maxima, I have to
    say I have enjoyed the Lexus even more. The treatment at Lexus for my service intervals has been great; first class.

    But I have to agree with you regarding the 2010 Lexus. It's going to cost more money to get the things that I would want on it. I mean, admittedly, there's things on the 2010 that aren't on my '07, and there's things that I'll have to pay extra for that I've got on my
    '07 that cost quite a bit less than the 2010.

    The noisiness that I was referring to while driving the 2010 loaner that I drove was mainly the exhaust note. The car was quiet in most respects, but I didn't care for the sound of the exhaust note.
    I will say that I was impressed by the pickup that the car had. Man, I thought my '07 was quick, but the 2010 feels even quicker, which is remarkable since it only has 5 more horsepower and weighs over 400 pounds more. I guess that 6 speed tranny really does make a difference!

    Oh, and speaking of noise, I also opened the sunroof on the 2010 and had to crack a back window open because of too much buffeting or helicopter-like sound coming through. I don't have this problem on the '07.
  • I thought I would list some of my likes and dislikes after driving a 2010 RX350 loaner vehicle for a day-and-a-half.

    Likes: 1.) Impressive power and pickup. Even feels more powerful than my '07 RX.
    2.) Once I got used to the Navigation system, I thought it was very nice with nice features.
    3.) Love the push button start and the smart access to the vehicle. It was convenient not having to hunt for my keys.
    4. The 2010 doesn't seem to exhibit some of the quirks of a FWD
    vehicle. My '07 probably drives more like a FWD vehicle.
    5.) The 2010 model feels a little more planted on the road than my '07, and the steering is a little less numb and a little more firm than my RX. I've always felt the steering was a little overboosted on my RX at low speeds, although it's pretty good on the highway, especially on longer trips.
    6.) The 6-speed tranny is definitely a smooth operator, very smooth shifts.

    Dislikes: 1.)Exhaust note has a cheapy sound to it. I like the more quiet and smooth exhaust note on my '07 better.
    2.) I was not able to warm up to the middle dash design. I felt it was overdone by Lexus, maybe just too large?? And to me, the middle part kind of looks cheap for a $40,000-plus vehicle. The instrument panel behind the steering wheel is nice, although, again, I like the one on my '07 better.
    3.) I noticed this 2010 model that I drove didn't have the lighted aluminum kickplates on the door sill. I understand you have to go all the way to the Luxury package to get this now. I have these on my '07 non-navi model that only has the premium package.
    4.) There was a loud buffeting or helicopter-like noise when I opened the sunroof with all the windows closed. I had to crack a back window to get it to stop. I do not need to do this in the '07 RX.
    5.) There is now no sunglasses holder on the upper console thanks to Enform.
    6.) Really bad layout of the iPod jacks and the power jacks way down in the bowels of the middle console that the armrest also doesn't open all the way up, making it even more difficult to reach down into the dark pit to plug in everything.(Unbelievable!)

    So to conclude, it's about even with the likes and dislikes, but right now, when you factor in the price increase, I would say I'm leaning towards buying my '07 RX at the end of the lease. I never thought I would consider this, as I like to drive a new car every three or four years. But who knows how this is going to go??
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited February 2010
    very nice analysis man on the RX; sorry to hear about your 2002 Maxima! what a bummer :cry:

    anyway, I hear you about Lexus customer service, besides my 2010 Max, I have a 05 FX35 and a 08 TL and the customer service and dealership experience at Infiniti and Acura is ten times better then the mediocre treatment I get at Nissan but that was to be expected!!

    I don't remember hearing the exhaust note that your mentioning but then again I might have missed it being that I only test drove the RX for about 10 minutes and had the salesman yapping in my ear the whole time about how great the RX is so that might have had something to do with it! you would know better since you had it for a much longer period then I did!

    I have to say though, def give the new max a look at, or at the very least test drive one; it has a really nice refined exhaust note when you step on the gas which is not low but not loud either and really gives the car a sporty flair to complement the killer body style! you are right though, its hard to compare a Maxima to a RX because the material quality is going to be a little bit better in the Lexus and the dealership experience obviously as well; but like I said just to get Xenon Headlights, intelligent high-beam, rain sensing wipers, and heated front seats, which were the only features I really wanted, I had to get the nav and audio packages and which jacked the price up to almost 46k, while for 39k I could get everything I wanted and more in the maxima I have now; I love the heated steering wheel, dual panel moonroof, mood lighting, power rear sunshade, etc!!

    the only prob is the buyout on my Max lease is so ridiculous that I'll probably try and go back to Lexus to see what they are offering and I know now that if I want to get a RX the way I want with the equipment/colors I specifically want, I'll have order it from Japan, 3-4 months ahead of time!!

    Glad to hear your enjoyed your 07 RX man, best of luck with it!! :D
  • chucko3chucko3 Posts: 793
    I own a 07GS350 with a 3.5L engine. There is a TSB for 07/08 GS350
    regarding brief engine knock/rattle on cold start up.
    I read the TSB. It has to do with the intake camshaft gear assembly.
    That could be the same noise issue the with RX350.
    This repair is covered under the Lexus Powertrain Warranty for 6 yrs/70K miles.
    I will wait until then to see if the noise gets louder and longer.
    Too early to open up my car engine.
  • Hi, Chucko3. I have not received any TSB for the '07 RX350 regarding the brief engine knock/rattle on cold start up. Now,
    back in January I did take care of a Limited Campaign service bulletin for the '07 RX350 regarding an oil hose line. I got the line
    changed out, and no problems. Getting back to the engine knock on cold start, I guess I'm so used to it now, after driving the car for over three-and-a-half years, that it doesn't even bother me.
    The funny thing is, the car becomes so smooth and quiet after that fifteen minute cold start. Now, if you stand outside near the front of the car, the engine is not the quietest around.
  • I hear you on the difference in the way you are treated between Lexus and Nissan. During the ownership with my Maxima, the service guys, to me, were a bunch of grumps, kind of rude.
    The funny thing is, I had been driving several Nissans starting back in 1995. In the beginning, the group of guys in service that I dealt with at Nissan were great, very nice. But over the years, particuarly when I had the Maxima, it was a different story.

    Today, I went to get my purse to go into the garage to get into my
    RX( I had to get out of the house, got cabin fever after battling a nasty cold) I almost forgot to pull out my key, I had forgotten I wasn't driving the 2010 RX with the smart access key!(LOL) Must be the congestion in my head(Ha!Ha!) I sure did miss that nice little feature though.
  • chucko3chucko3 Posts: 793
    Unlike Campain Service TSB, customers won't be informed of regular TSB.
    I wouldn't have my engine opened up & camshafts replaced yet.
  • I'm so glad I ran across this site. I haven't bought a new car in 9 years and I'm looking to purchase in the next few months. I've always admired the Lexus brand and am interested in the RX 350 model. I'm not coming from a luxury model but considering that I spend over an hour a day in my car, I'd like it to be something I enjoy driving. This will be an upgrade.

    So, here's my question. I'd already been debating purchasing certified pre-owned versus new. I'd finally decided to go with new. I'm a technology geek so things like the entry system on the 2010 appeal to me. I then read about the issue with the volume on the NAV system and thought that I would just skip the NAV instead. But after reading through more of the posts here on engine noise, etc I'm back to strongly considering a CPO.

    If you had the choice between the 2010 and an earlier model with very low mileage, which would you choose? My local dealer has a good selection of '07-'09's with mileage in the 5K - 30K range due to people trading them in for the 2010 model. I'd love to hear your opinions. Thanks in advance.

    Note: maximafan, thanks for your posts on this topic. They've been really helpful.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    edited February 2010
    Hi, Nichelle02. Yeah, I'm kind of in this same boat, particularly after driving an '07 RX350, which has been my first Lexus, for the past three-and-a-half years. My experience has been very, very positive in driving this vehicle these past few years. I've enjoyed it so much, that I'm not sure that I'm ready to give it back at the end of the lease. I'm still unsure what I would like to do, as I do like to drive new cars every few years. The best thing that I could recommend is that you drive both the 2010 and, say, a 2009 or 2008 preowned model. Of course, a 2007 model will probably be somewhat cheaper than a 2009 model, but I noticed on the Carmax website that there is a lot of 2007 very low-mileage 2007's.

    I think if this were going to be my first Lexus vehicle and I decided to go with a preowned, I would make sure to check the Carfax history on the vehicle, and if it's a certified preowned vehicle from a Lexus dealership, there should be a vehicle history with the dealer if the car was serviced at the dealership. I've done all my oil changes, tire rotations and brake jobs at the dealership. The only thing I did outside of the dealership was purchase new tires somewhere else.

    Keep in mind you'll probably notice that the price of the preowned vehicles in some cases may be higher priced than what you may find at Carmax or elsewhere, but I believe you're also paying for a precertified warranty, which would or should be added to whatever warranty is left over on the vehicle.

    So, I know it's a hard decision to make. For sure, the 2010 is going to have more "Techie" things on it than what a 2007-2009 model will have, but I'm still a little disappointed that Lexus didn't go a little further with the 2010, as has been mentioned in my previous posts; but, also, with things that are being offered by the competitor models such as the SRX and the new 2011 Lincoln MKX and some other models, I mean, these vehicles are offering things like panoramic sunroofs, they've got the split dual exhausts, which I think makes the vehicles look more sporty. I think some of these things would have been nice to see on the 2010 RX. I really did enjoy the push-button start and the smart access for entering the loaner car that I drove.

    Now, one other little thing regarding the 2007-2009 RX models.
    Some people complain that they're kind of boring to drive. Well,
    for me, I really kind of like the smoothness of my ride, and I think it actually helps me calm down when I'm in crazy traffic or stressful driving conditions. I like to cruise in the RX!! :shades:
    Though, the 2010 might be a little more fun to drive.

    I think whatever choice you decide to go with will be the right choice for you as long as you do some homework and weigh the
    plusses and minuses.

    Good luck!! Oh, by the way, regarding the volume problem with the radio playing and the nav voice. I don't remember exactly what tab I went into on the main menu, but I was able to raise the volume on the nav voice. I think I put it at level five, and I didn't have a problem hearing the voice give directions while I was playing my iPod through the radio.
  • I seem to recall when Toyota introduced the new 3.5L V6 that they went to a STEEL CHAIN timing belt as opposed to the RUBBER belt in the 3.3L. There was a LOT of hoopla about how noisy the new engine was compared to the 3.3L and I thought some of it was being attributed to the timing belt change.

    I'm in the same boat as some of you coming off of leases with my '08 RX400h coming due in November. I am NOT liking some of the stuff I am seeing here and on other message boards about the 2010. Has anyone conisdered the Murano LE? The interior and seats are every bit the equal of the RX.

    You won't get pampered by the service dept. or have a luxurous waiting area, but you also won't have to pay >$300 for the 15K service. On the other hand, I doubt the Murano will hold its value like an RX. Decisions...decisions...
  • Thanks maximafan. If I go with used, it will be the first used car purchase for me. I'd planned to go through the Lexus dealership with a CPO as I just felt a little more comfortable with that process (including inspections), warranty, etc. I was able to access the carfax car reports online right through the dealership's site. The cars I've been looking at were purchased, traded-in and being offered for re-sale at the same dealership and I could see the maintenance documentation. It looks like those owners were like you in that they did almost everything at the dealership. I'm definitely trying to do my homework and unless I experience some kind of new issue :sick: with my current car, I have a bit of time to make the decision. I'd like to have this wrapped up fairly soon but am willing to wait and make sure I buy the right one.

    I'm concerned about the engine feedback on the 2010 so I'm going to do more research on that. I'll test drive them both and since they offered to let me keep it for a day I think I'll take them up on it. I certainly wouldn't mind spending less money if the 2010 really isn't all that better than the previous models. I just don't have enough experience with them to say what I would prefer just yet.

    And thanks for the tip on the NAV system. If I go with the 2010, I might skip this add-on. The more I think about it, the more I consider that I rarely use the GPS device I own today. It seems pretty expensive for a unit that doesn't read street names and doesn't lower the volume of the music when giving directions. I'm fine with purchasing a Garmin and calling it a day!

    This week's plan? Test drive them both. And I'll look for differences in the ride and see which one I prefer.
  • jogan1jogan1 Posts: 11
    I have owned a 2002 RX, a 2007 RX and took delivery on a 2010 RX in late December. The 2007 was very fine and in some respects I would like it back. The Rxs have been my wife's car so I do not drive it a lot.

    Some of the nice things on the 2010 RX350:

    1 - Push button start with no key needed and locking the doors after exiting by simply touching the front top of the front door exterior handle. When returning to the car the driver door unlocks when you get within a few feet (can be programmed to unlock all doors)

    2 - Addition of Satellite radio along with weather and traffic conditions on your route (the 08 or 09 may have offered this). Three months included.

    3 - Addition of Lexus program similar to GM Onstar with 12 months included.

    4 - Navigation has been improved and you now navigate with a mouse like device on the center console. Have been able to increase Nav voice volume so that you can hear with radio volume up moderately.

    5 - Leather on seats is very nice.

    6 - Have had no problems with engine noise although the initial start fast idle seems higher than the 07 RX350.

    Some not so nice items on 2010 RX350:

    1 - Floor Mats are either dark brown or black in color. I believe they were changed when the Toyota Camry, Lexus ES350 acceleration problem came up in July of last year (they are now cut 2" or so to the left and the same amount below the gas pedal). Unles recently changed, in order to get similar color floor mats to match the parchment (light beige) interior you must either order the Lexus premium floor mats at a suggested price of $325 or buy non Lexus mats. There is a web site - - that offers Lexus items at reduced prices. The premium floor mats are $209.95 for example. Note previous year RX floor mats will not fit perfectly and a Lexus dealer will knowingly sell for a 2010 application because of the Toyotal/Lexus floor mat problem.

    2 - Satellite Radio volume on many 2010 RX350 is lower than FM volume. This is not adjustable as Satellite Radio is a separate unit

    3 - The rear hatch will not open via power and must be opened manually (it will open from inside the car or with the electronic key) when you touch the hatch button from the outside - The 2007 did open via power.

    4 - On the 07 RX350 when the Navagation voice came on the radio volume was automatically lowered. This feature is not on the 2010 RX350.

    5 - On the 2007 RX350 the Cargo Area Cover when not being used could be stored out of sight in its own compartment. On the 2010 RX they use a larger tempo spare tire and there is no place to put the Cargo Area Cover.

    6 - The 2010 RX does not have any body side moldings as previous RXs did. So door dings instead of going into a body side molding that can easily be replaced (pressure sensative on the 2007). I have purchased painted body side moldings for the 2010 RX from a firm that advertises on Ebay. The price is approx. $125 plus shipping of about $10 for 4 (Paint and Adhesion guaranteed for 5 years.

    7 - Although the 2010 RX350 has the same engine as the 2007 RX350, the 07 showed 20 mpg city & 25 mpg hwy. The 2010 RX is 18 mpg city & 25 highway but so far our mpg has been less but possible will improve after a few thousand additional miles.

    8 - On previous (before push button start) RXs you received a credit card size card with a key that could be used when necessary. The 2010 does not offer this although refers to it in the owner manual. You can purchase an electronic credit card key for $300+ and while there is a place for a small thickness metal key for the door and glove box locks Lexus states that they can not cut the RX metal key that is inserted inside the electronic key card.

    My wife really liked the 07 RX and I promoted the 2010 RX. Both of us are pleased with the 2010 but feel Lexus could have provided some of the things mentioned above. If you are still considering a 2010 ask the dealer if you can take one on a Saturday afternoon and return Monday morning. We did this for each of the 3 RXs that we have owned.
  • bv2000bv2000 Posts: 15
    How many free maint services does Lexus provide?
  • bv2000bv2000 Posts: 15
    I complained about the low volume on the navigation unit, and Lexus installed (at no charge) an amplifier supplied by Alpine. That rectified the problem. You have to complain vehemently to get the amplifier.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you need, could make use of, F/awd then the 2010 RX350 is the only one of the RXes that has a decent, functional F/awd system. And I would NEVER again buy a captive gps.nav system.
  • Thanks jogan1 for the comparison info on the 2010. That was great! It's a huge help to hear from someone that has owned both the current and earlier models. I'll ask about driving one for a couple of days.

    wwest, thanks. I live in Minnesota but don't do anything other than basic highway driving on my commute to the office in the winter. I'd still planned on getting the F/awd, though.

    Thanks again to everyone. You've helped me more than you know.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2010
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply or leave you with the impression that F/awd was adequate for anything BUT basic (wintertime) highway driving. Most F/awd systems aren't even close to adequate for that purpose but the 2010 RX350 (and Venza, 2011 Sienna) F/awd is closer than most.

    Of course the Honda/Acura SH-AWD system remains the best of the best insofar as F/awd systems are concerned.
  • Have just received notice from Lexus that they now offer a "new" Genuine Lexus Motor Oil SAE OW-20. Usage will provide lower cost; better mileage; less pollution, etc. etc. Also adjusts from 6 months 5000 miles to 12 months 10K complimentary service.

    Is this just a means of getting me into the dealership, or is this oil something new and different? Can I use other after market products?
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