RX marks the sweet spot

Bul­let­proof qual­ity and a huge list of kit are Lexus hall­marks

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - USED CAR - GRA­HAM SMITH

SUVs such as the Lexus RX350 come with all the bells and whis­tles. There’s noth­ing you can’t have.

The RX350 was a heav­ily re­vamped ver­sion of the RX launched in 2003, con­ceived to ri­val the likes of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML and the Audi Q7.

It be­gins with a rea­son­ably at­trac­tive wagon with slick lines and smooth shapes, with the choice of three lev­els of equip­ment start­ing with the Pres­tige and climb­ing through the Sports to the ul­ti­mate Sports Lux­ury.

The im­proved 3.5-litre V6 engine now puts out 204kW/346Nm linked to a new six-speed auto with se­quen­tial shift­ing.

Over­all the RX350 used a lit­tle less fuel, a good thing be­cause it needed ex­pen­sive pre­mium un­leaded.

Fi­nal drive was an on­de­mand all-wheel drive sys­tem, mean­ing it was a front-driver most of the time un­til it felt the front wheels slip and drive was dis­patched rear­ward.

While all that’s re­as­sur­ing, SUVs are more about com­fort and con­ve­nience.

That’s taken care of with power seats and a fold­ing rear seat, while a power tail­gate takes care of the con­ve­nience.

As for equip­ment there isn’t much that the RX350 doesn’t have. On the road it drives much like a car — it han­dles well, rides com­fort­ably and boasts plenty of zip when the right pedal is de­pressed.

NOW

With the RX350 launched just three years ago, the ear­li­est mod­els will be show­ing around 50,000km, which makes it an ideal choice for those buy­ers happy to buy sec­ond-hand and avoid the de­pre­ci­a­tion slug. Lexus’s four-year war­ranty still ap­plies.

Those early RX350s will be com­ing off lease around now, which adds to the at­trac­tion. We have had vir­tu­ally no com­plaints from own­ers.

Look for a ser­vice record, which shouldn’t be an is­sue on such a re­cent car.

Make the usual visual checks of the body­work, look­ing for any signs of a crunch that might de­tract from a car’s ap­peal.

Be aware that the RX350 re­quires pre­mium un­leaded petrol, which will bump up run­ning costs.

SMITHY SAYS

Well-built, solid SUV with all the bells and whis­tles. Should be on your shop­ping list.

Good value: Early RX350s will have 50,000km on them and the pre­vi­ous owner will have dealt with the de­pre­ci­a­tion

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