Inside Story: 2010 Lexus RX 350 luxury cars lexus inside story
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus RX 350 luxury cars lexus inside story
2010 Lexus RX. Click image to enlarge

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Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation. For driving impressions, please see our Test Drives section.

Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2010 Lexus RX

A funny thing seems to be happening to luxury SUVs in the land of 50 Large: they appear to be concentrating more on the ‘S’, and not as much as on the ‘U’. Ground clearances are heading south; manual gates and paddle shifters abound; and in many ways, the styling of the all-new 2010 Lexus RX 350 is remarkably familiar, when compared to such radical departures as the Infiniti FX, and the current tweaking going on in the Acura camp. (Could those frontal grillework treatments get ANY bigger?) ‘Familiar’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when that familiarity breeds new, and needed interior improvements. This week, I received a Lexus RX 350 tester, in Premium Package 2 trim, with an MSRP of $51,500. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus RX 350 luxury cars lexus inside story
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus RX 350 luxury cars lexus inside story
2010 Lexus RX. Click image to enlarge

The familiar electroluminescent glow of Lexus products appears, with the added visibility of upper halo lighting. A digital gear quadrant selection screen is provided, along with ECO indicators for good driving behaviour. The Multi Information Display (MID) allows access to such key features as the snow mode algorithim for the six-speed automatic. The access toggle for the MID is found on the right-hand wheel spoke, with a push tab confirmation switch. Audio controls and Bluetooth wireless phone access keys round out the wheel, with the cruise control tab found at the 4 o’clock wheel position. The engine start switch is found to the left of the audio head unit, which includes a six-CD stacker. The upper display screen is the usual fare for those that don’t opt for navi, though it still manages to display the dual-zone HVAC settings, audio selection, and digital clock, with all the love of a highway advisory panel on wheels.

A manual gate is offered for the six-speed shifter, and as ergonomic as it may be, the aesthetics for this shifter assembly are non-existent (see “ugly stick”). Make note that the rear defroster switch also controls the exterior side mirrors de-icing. To the left of the driver, the lower switch bank houses the windshield wiper de-icer, power rear hatch open/close, power furl door, and headlamp washers. Dimmer switch and odometer reset keys seem out of place. Traction control cancel and differential lock keys are found on the centre console. The driver’s door pod houses full-auto window lifts, plus the touchpad for the exterior mirror controls. The exterior mirrors house external turn signal indicators, and approach lighting.

Cubbies!
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus RX 350 luxury cars lexus inside story
2010 Lexus RX. Click image to enlarge

It appears the middle-upper class does get thirsty, as evidenced by this dash-mounted cupholder to the left of the driver, with spring cinch. Even door pockets have become beverage savvy, with bottle-specific holders in the front tip-out compartments, and moulded units for the rear doors. A flip-top door on the centre console reveals a dual cupholder, with removable cincher biscuit. Front seatbacks receive hard panel door pockets with elasticized webbing. The 40/20/40 rear seat centre portion flips down to reveal flip-tops for both storage, and a dual cupholder with C-clamp cinchers. A pass-through compartment is located below the centre console bridge.