12 Best & Worst Lexus RX 350 Years (With Pictures)

The Lexus RX 350 is a luxury midsize SUV that first entered the U.S. market as a 2007 model year. 

It boasts supreme comfort, excellent reliability, and dependable handling. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the RX 350’s best and worst years…

2023 Lexus RX 350

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Lexus RX 350 Are:

The best Lexus RX 350 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2018, and 2014. The worst model years of the RX 350 are 2007, 2008, 2010, 2009, 2016, and 2015. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Lexus RX 350?

2023 Lexus RX 350

For 2023 the RX is more stylish and sharper looking than ever before – it was completely re-designed as it rolls into the fifth generation.

It offers sporty performance and good efficiency, as well as intuitive driver assistance features.

Buyers can choose from 5 trim levels: Base, Premium, Premium Plus, Luxury, and F Sport. 

Pricing ranges from approximately $48,600 to $57,800.

If we were to recommend just one, we would suggest that you go for the midrange Premium Plus trim (approx. $53,200) as it provides a good blend of value, tech, performance and luxury. 

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: NA
  • JD Power: NA

2023 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“I traded my 2020 RX350 Luxury model for the 2023 RX350 Luxury model. It is an overall fantastic upgrade. It is hands down a better vehicle in all aspects. The engine sound of the 4 cyl is very different than the old pleasing V6, but the drivability is just as good. The handling is much, much better and the tech and comfort are also greatly improved. Very happy !!”

2022 Lexus RX 350

The 2022 RX 350 is the final installment of the fourth generation, it has great reliability scores and barely any complaints on the NHTSA website.

It has an upscale interior with top-quality materials and a spacious cargo bay that makes it easy to load items.

There are two trim choices: Base and F Sport. 

Fuel efficiency figures are very similar as both variants are fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 horsepower).

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2022 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“Just picked up a fully optioned out 2022 RX350 with Luxury pkg.  My wife and I wanted the most comfortable and reliable vehicle we could get but still with buttons on the dash!  Very pleased with the fit and finish of overall features of this vehicle.  It’s all we needed and more.  But I do wish that at this price point they had added a few more luxury items to perfect it.”

2021 Lexus RX 350

The 2021 RX 350 was the penultimate entry of the fourth generation that was launched in 2016. It is one of the most reliable RX models to date based on NHTSA data.

New standard features for this model year included wireless smartphone charging, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

This model comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 horsepower) mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Front-wheel drive is standard although it can also be equipped with all-wheel drive.

For camping enthusiasts, this SUV’s maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, when fitted with the proper equipment. 

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2021 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“The RX is a noticeable improvement from my 2018 Volvo XC60. It’s quieter, smoother, and much more comfortable. The features I gained over the Volvo are all little things that appeal to me. For example, the electrically adjustable steering wheel as part of the memory seating position. The fact that the seat adjusts to my driving position when starting and retracts when stopping are features the Volvo lacked. The Mark Levenson sound system is the best I’ve ever heard in any car. The sometimes maligned trackpad is extremely easy to use, just adding to the excellent user interface overall. I expected the RX to be quiet and it doesn’t disappoint. The ride is so smooth…”

2021 Lexus RX 350

2020 Lexus RX 350

The 2020 RX 350 is another safe choice when shopping for an RX.

For 2021 the RX received slightly sportier handling, revised front and rear styling, and a new touchscreen display capable of accommodating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Of the 2 trim levels, we suggest opting for the entry-level Base trim as it is more well-rounded and has a very competitive price tag.

The add-on Navigation package is great too which adds a sharp-looking 12.3-inch display, an upgraded audio system, and an onboard navigation system.

Noteworthy safety features include the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, the Lexus Enform Safety Connect, and the Panoramic View Monitor. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2020 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“I drive extensively and this is my fifth RX. Yes number 5, when you drive to remote areas it all about reliability. Previously I had the 2015 RX which drove fine but had a lot of temperamental electronics. The new 2020 has a premium package that offers every safety feature, brake hold, cross traffic front and rear, blind spot warning you name it. I do love the heated steering wheel, and the auto heated seats.”

2018 Lexus RX 350

The 2018 RX 350 is the second installment of the fourth generation. For those on a tight budget that still want something modern and reliable, this is a great pick.

It provides owners with a long list of driver assist features and safety tech, however you would fare much better with the high-end F Sport trim as it comes with even more desirable options.

These add-ons include adaptive suspension dampers, heated and ventilated front seats,  and massive 20-inch wheels. 

Owners mainly praised this model for its high-quality interior, stand-out comfort levels, and general appearance. 

Fuel efficiency is so-so. Expect up to 23 MPG for combined city and highway driving.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 86 / 100

2018 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“Extremely quiet and comfortable. Insulates driver from the drama of city driving. Love the aggressive styling. Mileage ratings not accurate. I’m getting 17 to 18 mpg in pure city driving, and 30 to 32 mpg pure highway. Carving canyons is the lowest priority for me, much prefer a luxurious ride and a car that can easily go 200k miles with a line of folks waiting to pay top dollar to buy it from you when you get there.”

2014 Lexus RX 350

The 2014 RX is the most reliable entry from the second generation that spanned from model years 2012 – 2015. It has also scored exemplary reviews from owners and auto critics.

It has an attractive cabin, a plush ride, ultra-comfortable seating and lots of safety features and driver assists.

Upgrades for 2014 included a 115-volt power outlet for passengers in the back, the integration of brake priming to the pre-collision warning system, and the Siri Eyes Free feature (for iPhone users). 

With its 3.5-liter V6 engine (270 horsepower) and 6-speed automatic transmission, EPA places fuel economy estimates at 21 MPG for combined driving, 18 MPG for city driving, and 25 MPG for highway driving.

The model secured an overall 4-star rating from NHTSA based on crash tests.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2014 RX 350, Edmunds review:

“This vehicle is excellent. My wife loves her RX 350 and even though it’s not as fun to drive as my Jaguar I can say with complete sincerity that if I had to choose between the two the Lexus would win every time. Handles well. Quiet. Extremely comfortable seats and ride. I’d highly recommend this SUV to anyone with a family. There is plenty of room for the kids in the back.”

Consumer Scores For Best Lexus RX 350 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Lexus RX 3503.7 / 5.0NANA
2022 Lexus RX 3504.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.083 / 100
2021 Lexus RX 3504.0 / 5.04.1 / 5.083 / 100
2020 Lexus RX 3504.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.084 / 100
2018 Lexus RX 3504.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.086 / 100
2014 Lexus RX 3504.3 / 5.04.5 / 5.085 / 100

Related: How Long Do Lexus RX Last? (12 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Lexus RX 350?

2007 Lexus RX 350

The 2007 RX 350 was the first ever model produced, so it should come as no surprise it was also the most problematic.

Engine problems were common with many owners reporting oil leaks.

Here is how one owner described it:

“Lost engine oil driving 20 minutes to work. Lexus dealer advised there is a common problem with the oil cooler line, there is a campaign within 10 years of first use. They won’t replace it unless leaking; otherwise you are allowed to drive until the line blows causing catastrophic engine damage. A $60 part ends up being an engine replacement; nevermind the potential danger of an engine freeze at 65 miles an hour.”

Steering problems were also a common issue and there were numerous complaints due to power steering oil leaks which subsequently meant the power steering rack needed replacing.

The 2007 RX 350 had a total of 40 problems at CarComplaints.com and 207 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Rack and pinion leaking
  • Water pump leak
  • Massive oil leak
2007 Lexus RX 350

2008 Lexus RX 350

The 2008 RX 350 had its fair share of engine oil leaking complaints, although they were less prevalent than the 2007 model.

The more pressing concern for owners of this model year was that various rubber and plastic parts melted.

According to the reports, rubber linings and plastic materials along the trunk, rear hatch handle, and dashboard turned to sticky black goo.

Here is what one owner had to say:

“The rear door hatchback rubber handle has melted & dripped on the bumper. If I try to open the door using the handle, black tarry goop gets on my hand & very difficult to get off.”

Owners also reported steering issues, causing the steering wheel to become loose. This often resulted in hefty repairs bulls for a replacement rack and pinion.

The 2008 RX 350 had a total of 23 problems at CarComplaints.com and 151 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Shifting lag
  • ASL (automatic speed limiter) issues
  • Power steering rack leak
  • Dashboard cracking

2010 Lexus RX 350

Owners of the 2010 RX 350 were severely affected by what is known as sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). 

This refers to a situation where a vehicle’s throttle opens unexpectedly, causing the vehicle to rapidly accelerate without any prompt or driver input.

What made this issue worse was the fact that despite the seemingly widespread nature of this issue, there were no definitive recall campaigns or notices given to affected owners, resulting in confusion and frustration among owners.

Here is one NHTSA report:

Driver was pulling into a parking spot, just rolling to a stop with her foot on the brake. The car suddenly accelerated into a brick wall and a tree. The front bumper of the car was smashed and the frame was bent. Air bag did not deploy as it should have.

The 2010 RX 350 had a total of 10 problems at CarComplaints.com and 121 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Air conditioning not working
  • Car accelerates on its own 
  • Doors rattling
  • Paint discoloration
2010 Lexus RX 350

2009 Lexus RX 350

The 2009 RX 350 was another model affected by power steering leaking problems.

A leak in this component can cause several problems, including a reduction in power steering capability, whining or grinding noises, and excessive steering wheel vibration. 

Owners were often forced to replace the whole steering rack.

One owner recounts his service experience below:

“During vehicle service, I was told that the rack of power steering is leaking, which costs around $1500 for replacing power steering rack. After looking on line, I found this is a common problem for RX 350 with low mileage. This is a safety issue Lexus should recall and to fix the problem.”

Melting and cracking dashboards were also a common complaint from owners, as described by one owner below:

“My dash is cracked in a couple of places. Online research shows this is a common problem, however I see no recall notice. This should be replaced by Lexus as it greatly reduces the resell value of the car.”

The 2009 RX 350 had a total of 9 problems at CarComplaints.com and 117 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Dashboard melting
  • Steering rack leak

2016 and 2015 Lexus RX 350

The 2016 and 2015 RX 350 aren’t clunkers by any stretch of the imagination but they did receive higher-than-average complaints, according to NHTSA data.

A number of owners reported hearing a loud bang, only to discover the sunroof had exploded for no apparent reason.

Here’s one owner’s report:

“In the early afternoon of November 24, 2019, my wife was driving her 2015 Lexus Rx350 on a highway near Athens, Georgia when the sunroof glass suddenly exploded without warning, sending shards of glass throughout the interior cabin of the vehicle.”

There were also complaints from owners who were involved in accidents and the airbags didn’t deploy.

The 2016 RX 350 had a total of 8 problems at CarComplaints.com and 77 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2015 RX 350 had a total of 5 problems at CarComplaints.com and 59 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Not shifting properly
  • Bluetooth issues
  • Sunroof exploded while driving
  • Poor tire quality
  • Roof easily dented
  • Off-center wheel alignment
2015 Lexus RX 350

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Lexus RX 350
2022 Lexus RX 35010
2021 Lexus RX 35012
2020 Lexus RX 3508
2019 Lexus RX 350141
2018 Lexus RX 350130
2017 Lexus RX 3501062
2016 Lexus RX 350877
2015 Lexus RX 350559
2014 Lexus RX 350322
2013 Lexus RX 350341
2012 Lexus RX 350343
2011 Lexus RX 350348
2010 Lexus RX 35010121
2009 Lexus RX 3509117
2008 Lexus RX 35023151
2007 Lexus RX 35040207

What Problems Do Lexus RX 350s Have?

  • Shifting lag
  • ASL (automatic speed limiter) issues
  • Rack and pinion leaking
  • Water pump leak
  • Oil leak
  • Power steering rack leak
  • Dashboard cracking
  • Air conditioning not working properly
  • Doors rattling
  • Paint discoloration
  • Steering rack leak
  • Ventilated seats do not work properly
  • Brake pressure low warning
  • Not shifting properly
  • Bluetooth issues
  • Sunroof exploded while driving

Related: 8 Most Common Lexus RX 350 Problems (Explained)

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Lexus RX 350?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Audi Q88.1$72,800 – $125,800City: 13 – 18 /Highway: 20 – 23
Land Rover Range Rover Velar8.0$60,300 – $79,200City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 25 – 26
Land Rover Discovery7.9$58,400 – $77,800City: 19 /Highway: 22 – 25
Acura MDX7.8$49,550 – $73,200City: 17 – 19 /Highway: 21 – 26
Infiniti QX607.8$49,200 – $65,500City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 26
BMW X67.7$70,100 – $113,700City: 13 – 21 /Highway: 18 – 25
Lexus RX 3507.7$47,400 – $57,000City: 21 – 22 /Highway: 28 – 29
Land Rover Defender7.6$53,500 – $118,400City: 14 – 18 /Highway: 19 – 23
Cadillac XT57.5$44,195 – $57,095City: 18 – 22 /Highway: 23 – 29
Cadillac XT67.4$48,595 – $60,095City: 18 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 27
Maserati Levante7.0$87,600 – $161,400City: 13 – 16 /Highway: 20 – 22
Lexus GX6.6$56,425 – $67,080City: 15 /Highway: 19

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/lexus/rx

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/lexus/rx-350

https://www.edmunds.com/lexus/rx-350/

https://www.kbb.com/lexus/rx/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2022/lexus/rx

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Lexus/RX_350/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/lexus/RX 350/