Review: 2014 Lexus RX450h vs RX350 F Sport

Lexus RX450hCalling all professional organizers! The 2014 RX450h is your car. And so is the RX350 F-Sport. If you drive either, make sure you create an excuse to drive your clients somewhere – anywhere.  They need to see the inside and know that there truly is a place for everything. It’s a great selling point for you.Lexus RX350 F-Sport

You’ll appreciate the organization of both from the velvety-lined coin holder to the easy-to-use mouse that is perfectly placed to be so very kind to your wrists as you navigate directions, maps, gas prices and the radio system on the monitor. Brace yourself for the uber-organized glove compartment with the owner’s manual, snug in its own case on one of two shelves.

Each of the five-door SUVs offers an individual experience including the wood interior trim in the RX450h and the aluminum pedals in the RX350 that immediately announced to me that I was about to drive a luxury sports SUV – emphasis on sports.

The RX350, which comes in creative colors such as nebula gray pearl, features a 3.5 liter, 270HP four cam 24-Valve V6 engine with VVT-I and full-time active torque control AWD. The RX450h, which comes in colors such as stargazer black, features a 3.5 liter 24 valve, DOHC V6 with VVT front electric drive motors with Lexus Hybrid Drive. Both are easy to maneuver, but the RX350 handles the curves and the dips in the road a lot more smoothly. The RX450h can be a stiffer ride.

Both offer the reclining 40/20/40 split rear seat with one-touch fold levers on the side of the seat and in the cargo space. The levers will be a relief for those of you who remember the days of tackling and wrestling with the back seat to force it to lay down for more space. The driver’s seat for both SUVs offers three choices for pre-programmed settings that are just too fun to experience. Think of it as your transformer moment, but with limited lumbar support. This area needs a bit of old-school adjusting – think rolled up towel. The specs for the interior space of both SUVs is listed about the same, but somehow it feels like more leg room is available for rear seat passengers in the RX350.

There’s a monumental difference in the entertainment system options. Though both offer single DVD/CD player video, the RX450h features a monitor behind the driver and front passenger seats. We can work with this. Alternatively, the RX350 uses the screen on the dash, which is a bit inconvenient for your back-seat passengers. They’ll need to lean in to the middle to view the screen. Awkward. Also, when your passengers are watching a movie using the wireless headphones, you should be able to listen to the radio. But I couldn’t. I assumed the confused dog look with the tilted head and a whimper as I tried to understand the logistics of the entertainment system on both of these luxury SUVs. Maybe I need to give it another test drive. Yeah, I think that’s it.

All in all, if you’re faced with buying one of these SUVs, you should smile. You’re in a good place.

The MSRP for the RX450h is $47,180; the MPG is 30 city/28 highway.
The RX350 is $47,450; the MPG is 18 city/26 highway.

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