2010 RX 450h New Car Test Drive
As vehicles become more complex, driving becomes more like operating a computer. Yet the new 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h seems uncommonly easy to operate. And they are brimming with new technology. If the RX were a computer, and in more ways than ever, it is, it would have a plug-and-play operating system and an inviting, engaging user interface.
When driven back-to-back against the previous model, it's clear the new 2010 RX offers more than cosmetic improvements. Mechanical improvements for the all-new Lexus RX include an independent rear suspension, a 10-airbag safety system, a six-speed sequential transmission, and an improved all-wheel-drive system. Upgraded accommodations include better seats, integrated satellite radio, acoustic glass, automatic high beam control, and a heads-up display among other things. Many of the improvements are due to more and better computer logic for integrated control of driving systems such as the transmission, all-wheel-drive, navigation, steering and brakes. Perhaps the key interior upgrade is the introduction of a mouse-like controller which Lexus calls Remote touch. It's used instead of a touch screen to operate climate, audio and the navigation system.
Compared to competing SUVs, such as the current Acura MDX, Mercedes ML 350 and BMW X5 3.0, the RX 350 gets better mileage and cleaner emissions ratings. The RX 450h hybrid gets better mileage yet, and is among the cleanest vehicles yet devised by man.
The RX 350 and RX 450h are offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system is completely new, lighter and more efficient. It works electronically without the locking center differential in previous models.
The RX 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic multi-mode transmission. Compared to the current model, the RX 350 is a little heavier due to stouter rear suspension components, which provide upgraded crash performance.
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 comes with front-wheel drive ($37,625) or all-wheel drive ($39,025). The RX 450h ($42,685) and RX 450h AWD ($44,275) are similarly equipped. The Lexus RX models comes standard with fabric upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, AM/FM/6CD with nine speakers and a luxury level of standard equipment.
The optional Luxury Package ($4,900) includes semi-aniline leather trim interior; one-touch-open/close Moonroof; Power Retractable Electrochromic Outside Mirrors; Wood and Lather Steering Wheel and Shift Knob; Wide Angle Side-View Monitor, 19-inch Alloy wheels with Mud and Snow Tires; MP3 MiniPlug with USB Audio Plug; Power Rear Door; Illuminated Scuff Plate and Headlamp Cleaner. Comfort Package ($2,000) includes bi-xenon high intensity discharge (HID) projector headlamps; adaptive front lighting system; automatic high beams; rain-sensing automatic wipers.
Dual-Screen Rear Seat Entertainment with Navigation ($5,615) includes DVD rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, audio/video inputs, 120V AC power outlet and navigation system with voice command, backup monitor, XM Nav Traffic and Nav Weather with 90-day trial subscription and Remote Touch controller.
Options include Heads Up Display ($1,200), Heated/Ventilated Front Seats ($640); 19-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels with Mud and Snow Tires ($660); and Bi-Xenon High Intensity discharge Headlamps with AFS and Automatic High Beams ($875). Mark Levinson Audio ($1,610) and Intuitive Parking Assist ($500) are available as stand-alone options. Navigation System ($2,465) includes Hard Disc Drive Navigation System with voice command; Backup Monitor; XM Nav Traffic and Nav Weather with 90-day trial subscription; Remote Touch controller. Sports Package ($1,300) includes 19-inch Sport finish alloy wheels with mud and snow tires, sport-tuned suspension, Vehicle Dynamic Management (VDIM).
Safety equipment includes front airbags; front-seat mounted side airbags; roll-sensing front and rear side-curtain air bags; driver and front passenger knee airbags and side airbags; active headrests for front seats; force-limiting seatbelt pre-tensioners for driver and front passenger seats; three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners for all rear seating positions (3); direct-type tire pressure monitoring system; four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Brake Assist; enhanced VSC (Vehicle Stability Control). Optional safety features include Pre-collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control ($1500); Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) come with Sports Package.