Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

February 3, 2014

Lexus RX crossover gets upgraded style, crispness with sport package

Ever since the Lexus RX was launched 15 years ago, it’s followed a three-part formula that buyers seem to like.

One, it’s built incredibly well. From the rich materials to the tight construction and subtle color choices, it’s hard to find any crossovers that are executed better than this one.

Two, it’s got a quiet, smooth ride that makes it a joy on highway trips.

And three, it’s got an overall style that is classy but doesn’t draw too much attention to itself. It’s more subdued than ostentatious.

That’s why I was surprised to see that Lexus has dramatically changed two-thirds of that formula on the 2014 RX 350, at least when you opt for the F SPORT package.

The sporty version of the RX is still built as wonderfully as any other RX, but its firm suspension and more aggressive styling combine to give it a different personality from the standard model.

First, there’s the bling.

The F SPORT package adds big, dark, 19-inch wheels that look trendier and more youthful than the base RX. It also gets an angrier looking front end, with a unique mesh grille treatment and bigger air intake thanks to its revised front bumper.

Inside, black leather upholstery with silver stitching, ebony bird’s eye maple wood trim and a black headliner give it a sinister look. But, despite all the blackness, it doesn’t have the cave-like feeling you might expect. The textures are different and rich enough that it feels more warm and cozy than dark and cold.

The biggest surprise for me, though, is just how differently this F SPORT version drives. A major reason for that is a firmer suspension, of course, which makes it much more controllable in aggressive maneuvering and tight turns.

Another reason is that the F SPORT model gets its own special transmission, an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Not only does it drive extremely well with crisp, quick shifts, but it also results in a 2-mpg improvement in fuel economy on the highway.

The big question is whether you should opt for the firm-riding F SPORT or the smooth-riding regular RX. Personally, I’d pick the smoother, squishier suspension since that’s what crossovers are best at. If I wanted a car that thrills me, I’d get a true sports sedan like the new Lexus IS instead.

At the same time, I understand the appeal of the RX 350 F SPORT. For people who like the quality and practicality of the RX but want it with a more exciting, engaging look and feel, it’s a nice twist on the RX’s longstanding formula for success.

Pricing starts at $39,760 for the RX 350 and $47,450 for the F SPORT model. A more fuel-efficient version, the RX 450h hybrid, is also available starting at $46,410.

1
Text Only
Get the scoop!
  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • Trials of the Cherokee reflected in their skulls, researchers say

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 18, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Stocks