Lexus RX
(2009 - 2015)

  • Superb build quality.
  • Class-leading reputation for reliability.
  • A genuine premium experience.
  • Excellent driving experience.
  • Tech is beginning to age.
  • Arguably lacks its European competitors image and appeal.
  • Smaller boot than there in this class.
  • Ummm.
Overview

The 2009 to 2015 third generation RX initially began with the RX 350 and RX 450h.

Both the 350 and 450h share a very similar 3.5 litre V6 engine however the 450h adds two electric motors for the front wheels while another electric motor exclusively powers the rear wheels.

The 350 is also four wheel drive however the rear wheels are powered by a more traditional mechanical rear differential setup.

Either way both all wheel drive systems can shift power and torque to front and rear depending on the scenario and how you are driving.

Later in the life cycle an entry level and front wheel drive only RX270 was introduced powered by a 2.7 litre 4 cylinder engine.

In terms of the trim specs, in addition to the single trim RX270 and a smattering of special editions, initially, the 350 and 450h were available across three variants called Prestige, Sport and Sport Luxury, each receiving more goodies the higher up the food chain you climb, but these were then renamed post the mid life update, becoming Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury.

Speaking of that update, mid 2012 saw the introduction of the Series 2 which received some structural changes under quite a refreshed exterior design package. The interior aesthetic also received its fair share of changes with an updated design, more premium materials, new tech and even more features.

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What goes wrong

Exterior:

  • There are a few reports that the windscreen and doors are known to rattle and there have even been minor reports of the doors coming loose over time.
  • In the case of the windscreen rattling this usually comes down to the two bottom windscreen stoppers and the windscreen retainers.
  • In the case of the doors, it’s usually either the bolts and nuts coming loose, the window regulators or doors that are slightly misaligned.

Interior:

  • Some 2010 – 2011 models are susceptible to cases of the steering column making a rattling sound, an updated steering column was introduced and that could be replaced if the rattles become unbearable.
  • There are also a few reports that the air conditioning can show an error message on the display screen and the air conditioning will fail to blow cold air. But in more rare instances, faulty air conditioning amplifiers can trigger air to blow randomly.
  • There are also reports that some infotainment systems can play up but a software update normally remedies this.

Mechanically:

  • The 4 cylinder 1AR-FE is the 2.7 litre version of the 2AR-FE which is in a host of different Toyota models. It is incredibly reliable with no one common issue causing any serious problems or failures.
    And the 2GR-FE V6 has been around for a very long time and has proven to be one of the most reliable engines available in any vehicle. The newer versions the 2AR-FXE are slightly more complex than the earlier variants, but again, very reliable. They all do very occasionally have minor issues like injector or coil pack issues or a leaking water pump but that’s about it.
  • As for the Hybrid systems, generally speaking, very reliable. There are some occasional issues with hybrid control systems but it is far from common. However in terms of the the batteries, they do occasionally have problems.
  • One of the issues is that they overheat because the cooling vents can become clogged up with dirt and crap. It is a good idea to take the vents out every year or so and give them a solid clean.
  • When it comes to repairing or replacing the batteries. This does not have to be done by the dealership. They’re very good and more affordable alternatives out there.
  • Overall the thing about all of the RX range is that even though they are a luxury car, they really don’t cost any more to service than your average family car. In some cases, actually less.
    Also generally anything from Lexus has a fairly high threshold for neglect, (unlike some other luxury manufactures) although regular servicing is a must and if kept up to date, the RX will most certainly outlast its Euro competitors.
Model range, pricing & features

RX 270

  • Price when new: $64,110 - $64,400
  • Price used: $24,000 - $40,000

The RX 270 was introduced in June 2012 and compared to the RX 350 and RX 450h Prestige models, the RX 270 only omitted the following equipment: 2nd row pre-tensioners, heated front seats and heated side mirrors.

Standard features include:

18-inch alloy wheels
Body coloured bumper bars
Body coloured side mirrors
Rear spoiler
Roof rails
10 airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s and front passenger knee, front side impact, rear side impact and full-length curtain airbags,
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Height adjustable seatbelts for driver and front passenger
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
Headrests for all occupants
Active head restraints for driver and front passenger
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control
Reversing camera with grid lines
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Electrically folding side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down function for all windows
Cruise control
Bi-xenon headlights
Front fog lights
Automatic headlights
Rear Fog Lights
Headlight washers
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Rear wiper
Remote central locking
Proximity entry
Push button start
Engine immobiliser
Alarm
Tachometer
Personal profile (customised control functions) saved into the keys
Memory functions (seat memory, steering wheel)
Power steering
Steering wheel – electrically adjustable
Dual-zone climate control
Rear air vents
Leather upholstery
10-way electrically adjustable driver and front passenger’s seat
Electric lumbar support adjustment for driver and front passenger
8-inch multi-information display screen
12-speaker sound system
DAB+ digital radio
6-disc in-dash CD/DVD player
MP3 compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity – phone and audio streaming
Satellite navigation
AUX (3.5mm) input
12V power outlet
Cup holders – front & rear
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Front seat map pockets
40:20:40 rear folding seats with through loading system
Cargo net
First aid kit

RX 270 X Special Edition

  • Price when new: $69,045
  • Price used: $28,000 - $35,000

Limited to 300 units, the RX 270 X Special Edition added $7,000 of additional styling features like larger alloy wheels and a sports-luxury front bumper as well as some luxury feature additions such as heated front seats, heads-up display and illuminated sill plates.

In addition to the RX 270:

19-inch alloy wheels
Sports-luxury grade front bumper
“X” badging
Heated front seats
Heads-up display
Illuminated sill plates
Cargo luggage tray

RX 350 Prestige and RX 450h Prestige

  • Price when new: $82,814 - $89,900
  • Price used: $16,000 - $32,000

The Prestige is the entry level spec available on the RX 350 and RX 450h and featured a comprehensive level of safety and luxury equipment as standard.

Standard features include:

18-inch alloy wheels
Body coloured bumper bars
Body coloured side mirrors
Rear spoiler
Roof rails
10 airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s and front passenger knee, front side impact, rear side impact and full-length curtain airbags,
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Height adjustable seatbelts for driver and front passenger
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver, front passenger and 2nd row (outer rear seats)
Headrests for all occupants
Active head restraints for driver and front passenger
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control
Reversing camera with grid lines
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Heated side mirrors
Electrically folding side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down function for all windows
Cruise control
Bi-xenon headlights
Front fog lights
Automatic headlights
Rear Fog Lights
Headlight washers
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Rear wiper
Remote central locking
Proximity entry
Push button start
Engine immobiliser
Alarm
Tachometer
Personal profile (customised control functions) saved into the keys
Memory functions (seat memory, steering wheel)
Power steering
Steering wheel – electrically adjustable
Dual-zone climate control
Rear air vents
Leather upholstery
Electrically adjustable driver and front passenger’s seat
Electric lumbar support adjustment for driver and front passenger
Seat heating: driver and front passenger
8-inch multi-infomation display screen
12-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
6-disc in-dash CD/DVD player
MP3 compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity – phone and audio streaming
Satellite navigation
AUX (3.5mm) input
12V power outlet
Cup holders – front & rear
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Front seat map pockets
40:20:40 rear folding seats with through loading system
Cargo net
First aid kit

X Special Edition

  • Price when new: $82,900 - $89,900
  • Price used: $22,000 - $40,000

Released in November 2011 and limited to 350 units, the X Special Edition was released and featured $7,000 of additional equipment over the Prestige model.

In addition to the Prestige:

19-inch alloy wheels
Heads-up display
Leather accented steering wheel
Leather gear knob
Reversing camera
Protective luggage mat

RX 350 Luxury and RX 450h Luxury

  • Price when new: $73,110 - $82,900
  • Price used: $28,000 - $50,000

The Luxury model was introduced in June 2012 and effectively replaced the Prestige model. As part of the RX range update, the Luxury added larger alloy wheels and additional technology features over the Prestige model.

In addition to the RX 270:

19-inch alloy wheels
Self-levelling HID adaptive headlights
LED daytime running lights
Heated side mirrors
Courtesy lights

RX 350 Sport and RX 450h Sport

  • Price when new: $89,814 - $96,600
  • Price used: $18,000 - $32,000

The Sport model is the mid-range spec of the RX range, and added larger alloy wheels, Lexus’ pre-collision system, electric sunroof and adaptive cruise control.

In addition to the Prestige:

19-inch alloy wheels
Pre-collision system (PCS)
Electric sunroof
Adaptive cruise control

RX 350 F Sport and RX 450h F Sport

  • Price when new: $81,110 - $89,900
  • Price used: $25,500 - $60,000

The F Sport model replaced the Sport model in June 2012, and brought additional sport-orientated features such as Yamaha-development suspension upgrades and gearshift paddles.

In addition to the Sport:

“F Sport” badging
Yamaha-development suspension upgrades
Steering wheel gearshift paddles
Dark silver highlights for interior trim
DAB+ digital radio

RX 350 Sports Luxury and RX 450h Sports Luxury

  • Price when new: $89,610 - $108,900
  • Price used: $15,000 - $50,000

The top-of-the-range Sports Luxury spec added intelligent adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors, heated electrochromatic side mirrors with memory function and 12-way electrically adjustable front seats. An update in June 2012 added LED headlights.

In addition to the Sport & F Sport:

Intelligent adaptive headlights (i-AFS)
Front and rear parking sensors
Heated electrochromatic side mirrors with memory function
Dipping side mirrors
Side-view camera
12-way electrically adjustable driver and front seats
Passenger seat memory function
12-speaker Mark Levinson sound system

June 2012 update:
LED headlights (RX 450h only)
DAB+ digital radio

Should you buy it?

Of course you bloody should.

We understand the attraction to the RX’s European rivals. As good as the RX is, and as acclaimed as Lexus are for build quality, reliability and longevity, the likes of Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW continually dominate Lexus in terms of image and just mass appeal.

There is simply something about the European brands that make them so appealing and attractive.

But, as we’ve seen previously on ReDriven and as countless reports, surveys and expert accounts have shown, quite often the trade off for all of the alluring appeal of the Europeans, is an inferior reputation for reliability and prohibitive repair costs when compared to Lexus.

Therefore if you need a luxury SUV of this size and for this budget, the RX is the pick.

It drives beautifully, it’s reliable, if something goes wrong it shouldn’t cost a fortune to fix, the interior is spacious and feels immensely premium, it’s safe, practical and loaded with features and on the used market offers excellent value for money plus in 450h form it’s even quite fuel efficient, what a brilliant thing.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

4 years/100,000kms

Servicing:

6 months/10,000kms
12 months/15,000kms (from 2013)

Tech specs

Body Style:

5-door SUV

Engines:

2.7 litre petrol inline 4-cylinder (RX 270)
3.5 litre petrol V6 (RX 350)
3.5 litre petrol hybrid V6 with two electric motors (RX 450h)

Power:

138kW – 2.7 litre petrol inline 4-cylinder
204kW – 3.5 litre petrol V6
220kW – 3.5 litre petrol hybrid V6 (combined power)

Torque:

252Nm – 2.7 litre petrol inline 4-cylinder
346Nm – 3.5 litre petrol V6
317Nm – 3.5 litre petrol hybrid V6 (engine only)

Transmission & drivetrains:

6-speed automatic, front wheel drive (FWD) – RX 270
6-speed automatic, four wheel drive (4×4) – RX 350
6-speed CVT, four-wheel drive (4×4) – RX 450h

Fuel consumption:

6.3 – 10.8L/100km

Length:

4770mm

Width:

1885mm

Height:

1725mm

Kerb weight:

1840 – 2205kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of September 2, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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