January 15, 2012
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Today’s onslaught of weather was a downer. The fact that I couldn’t get the powered tailgate to open automatically or even by pulling on it was even more of one, as I had to climb into the trunk, through the back seat, to get my snow brush. Despite the “trunk” of the Lexus RX 350 being part of the passenger compartment, it was difficult to get into this way; getting past the tonneau cover was particularly challenging, so rest assured your goods are most likely safe back there.
Once I did get the ice off the RX 350, I headed out onto slushy roads to be greeted by a traction control system that apparently is designed to simply stop you from driving in bad weather. Why must Toyota and Lexus use such a nanny-ish system? Instead of using the anti-lock braking system to control wheel spin, the RX’s simply retards engine output, causing the car to lose momentum. It can be turned off at speeds under 40 km/h but re-engages automatically above that speed.
Once you get going, though, the RX 350 feels sure-footed and well balanced. The ride is “Cadillac”-like as they say, but I suppose the new term really should “Lexus”-like. The ride is soft and vague — not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly keeps the driver and the road as two separate entities.
Out on the highway the RX 350 is smooth and soundless as you glide along, and in the city the power from the 3.5-litre engine can get you from stop light to stop light ahead of many other vehicles on the road.
Although the RX offers no road feel, grip is ever-present and the RX 350 hugs the curves surprisingly well. To this vehicle, potholes are non-existent; the road leading to my home is riddled with ruts, but feels nearly as smooth as the nearby newly-paved highway in the RX 350 — impressive.