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Lexus RX 350 Driving Experiences and Problems



  • 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?
  • avalonfanavalonfan Posts: 28
    Just turned 1000 miles on our new 2010, RX-350. Traded in an ES-350 for the RX. First impressions are positive. The added width makes for a roomy interior. The RX seems to be quieter in all respects. Road noise is less, wind noise, too. Sitting at a higher elevation provides excellent viewing. Front seats much softer. Nav is very good. Headroom far superior. General storage much improved. Engine still provides good power when needed.
    No side moulding, but my 2005 Avalon didn't have any, and we did not experience problems.
    Overall, this car feels more solid, seems to hold the road better than the ES. We consider it a decent upgrade. Let's see how we feel after, say 10,000 miles.
  • bobbassbobbass Posts: 34
    I was all set to get an ES350 in '08, but got scared off by all the "surging transmission" posts that were rampant on the Toyo V6 powertrain that year. Ended up getting an '08 RX400h and never regretted it.

    I'm surprised that you rank the NAV as "very good." Most people, myself included, feel that the Toyo NAVs are inferior to most other OEM systems and virtually all standalone GPS devices.

    Please let us know how your MPG settles out and what grade gas you're using.
  • jogan1jogan1 Posts: 11
    I felt the same about the 07 RX 350 Nav but the 2010 RX 350 has imporovments that make it very nice. The Lexus service similar to GM Onstar is also nice in that they can download to the Nav system directions etc that for whatever reason you do not or can not obtain. Weather and accident locations on your route (from sat. raio) also nice.
  • avalonfanavalonfan Posts: 28
    As to fuel I have stayed with using Mid (89). Might switch to a blend after 5000 miles or so. No long interstate drives, yet, so my best MPG has been just south of 22 miles per gallon.

    I was told the 2010 RX Nav system is the most current edition available, but never came upon any side by side comparisons from previous versions. However, the mouse-like control on the console allows for easy switching between programs and setups. As has already been pointed out by others XM radio provides interesting useful features that tie in well with the Nav. And, so far, the accuracy of the mapping has been right on.
  • leodlionleodlion Posts: 7
    I believe it depends on the dealer. Mine gives me free maintenance services for two years.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..I believe it depends on the dealer.."

    Much more likely that it really depends on how throughly the dealer was able to "soak" you at the time of the initial sale.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    I know what you mean, I was at a Nissan dealership one time getting a price when they told me that if I bought or leased with them I'd get 2 years free maintenance, a loaner car, free food/drinks etc (all of which mind you, you normally would not get at a Nissan dealer) and then the first thing out of the salesman's mouth after telling me all this was, "so, what kind of monthly payments were you looking for?" ;)
  • "What are you looking to pay (for this car)?"

    I tell them I want to pay exactly what they paid for the car and I want Blue Book Retail on my trade in. And I know they want to charge me the sticker price on the new car and give me 90% of the wholesale value of my trade.

    So make me a net net, out the door offer and let's see who gets what they want!
  • tusa6tusa6 Posts: 2
  • tusa6tusa6 Posts: 2
  • maximafan - From your post....

    " 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."

    After test drives and a lot of contemplation, I actually went with the Cadillac SRX. I've made the purchase and pick it up shortly. Even though I didn't go with the Lexus, the information from this board was incredibly helpful.

  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    edited March 2010
    Hi, Nichelle02. Congratulations on your new ride! I've been eyeing the 2010 SRX also. I really like the styling inside and out.
    But there are two issues that concerned me about the vehicle. The first issue is the lack of torque. Although I haven't had the opportunity to drive one, I was concerned it wouldn't be as zippy as my current RX. Also, there is no spare tire on the vehicle. I'm not sure I would care to not have a spare tire on my vehicle. Outside of that, you get a lot of nice features for the price. Please keep us posted on your driving experiences with the SRX.

    Once again, good luck and congrats!!

    P.S. I'm now considering looking for a 2008-2009 Lexus RX350 that would have the navigation and a few other upgrades from my current RX. I'm looking at the pre-certified pre-owneds and also on Carmax to get an idea of pricing. At least if I could find one with the navigation on it, it would have a cassette player from which I could buy a cassette adapter to play my iPod and still get good stereo quality sound. :shades:
  • bobbassbobbass Posts: 34

    If you have access to a broadcast of "Motorweek," they did a comprehensive test of the new SRX Turbo and pretty much gave it a glowing review. PBS NJN is running it again on Wed. at 7:00 PM.

    The big drawback for me was the overall 16.8 MPG. But, it is a GORGEOUS vehicle - I much prefer the styling to the RX.

    I leased an '02 Cadillac STS and it was the most comfortable vehicle I ever had. GOOD LUCK with your SRX!
  • nichelle02nichelle02 Posts: 10
    edited March 2010
    Thanks maximafan and bobbass . I pick it up on Wednesday (or Friday if my schedule is too crazy on Wednesday). I had the same concerns on the torque. But I felt good with my test drive and went with the 3.0. It's not as peppy as the RX, that's definitely true. The dealer offers a 7 day return/30 day exchange policy so if it doesn't work out, I'll exchange for the Turbo. But that gas mileage is such a killer along with the cost of Premium fuel. And I agree on the spare tire. I was really surprised that it didn't have one. I did find a spare tire kit for the SRX for about $300 that fits into the storage space/cubby. I don't need the extra space so I'll be buying the spare and placing it there.

    Thanks for the tip on the Motorweek episode. I just checked the schedule and can't find a Wednesday re-broadcast here. But I looked online and it looks like that episode aired on 3/12. I just missed it! Videos are posted on their site and they post them about 5 days to a week after they air. I'll be checking back as I would love to see it.

    Once I've had the car for a bit and drive it under different conditions, I'll definitely post more info in the SRX forum. I'm waiting to get kicked out of the Lexus discussion soon :)

    By the way, this is actually the one I bought. The pics are still up on the dealer site but should be removed soon since it's sold: - collection-new-5077826.html
  • bobbassbobbass Posts: 34

    One more SRX-related post and I'll cease & desist:

    The best "Cadillac Specific" Message Board (well...except for Edmunds, of course) I've come across is at ""

    The specific forum you want is here:

    SRX Message Board

    If you click on the first heading, "Post Pics..." on page SIX you will see YOUR VEHICLE! I was so impressed with these pics I copied and sent them to one of my buddies who also likes the 2010 SRX. ENJOY!
  • nichelle02nichelle02 Posts: 10
    edited March 2010
    Too funny! I ran across that board on Friday. I even posted in that thread! My posts are at the end. The one on page six is pretty close but it's the Caribbean Blue color. The one I purchased is the Imperial Blue which is a bit darker. The one posted also has the Premium package which is the top package. There's not a lot of difference between that one and mine except for the keyless access (similar to Lexus) and the rear seat DVD. The keyless access is the only feature that I really wanted that I didn't get.

    The pics in that thread are fantastic though! They show great detail.

    I'd originally planned to spend a little more time looking. But my car died on Friday evening and I just didn't want to put another dime into it. I'd already done test drives, etc so I did a search on Friday and spent hours reading the Cadillac forum there and at Edmunds. There was a ton of information which helped with the decision.
  • ppateppate Posts: 6
    I have a new Lexus RX350 (less than a week old & 100 miles). I walked into the garage and noticed this same type of humming noise. I could not pinpoint exactly where the sound was coming from. The car had been parked for at least 4 hours. I turned on the car and the humming noise stopped.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Small pump that runs intermittently to purge fuel vapors from the fuel tank.
  • jackurjackur Posts: 6
    edited March 2010
    Does anyone know anything about the oil horse problem ( Thanks!
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    Nichelle02, your new car is gorgeous!! It looks so nice in the dark blue color. I saw a black one in the parking garage where I work and I got all excited. I thought is was beautiful. Did you get it with the Navigation system? Also, as far as the spare tire kit, do you mean that it's an actual spare tire, maybe like a donut that fits into a compartment in the vehicle or is this the device that you use to inflate one of the existing tires that may have a flat??

    Anyway, congratulations, again. I also have surfed over on the Cadillac forums looking up what others are paying for the 2010 SRX, although there is not as much activity on there as on the Lexus forum.
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