What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Lexus RX 350?

WVDOT Automotive is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Lexus RX model was introduced in 1999 and quickly gained popularity because of the vehicle’s look, feel, drive, and luxury.

Various variants of the RX model came out as time went on, among which, in 2007, the Lexus RX 350 model was introduced.

In general, the Lexus RX 350 is a vehicle that has been famous for its reliability and the lack of complaints from users. However, there are downsides to every vehicle as well.

Today, in this article, I will discuss some of the best and worst years for Lexus RX 350.

Best Years for Lexus RX 350:

  1. 2021
  2. 2020
  3. 2011
  4. 2019
  5. 2012
  6. 2013
  7. 2018

Worst Years for Lexus RX 350:

  1. 2009
  2. 2007
  3. 2008
  4. 2010
  5. 2015
  6. 2014
  7. 2016

Along with this, I will also be looking at the common problems of the vehicle, so make sure to read the article in its entirety.

List Of The Best Years For The Lexus RX 350: What Years To Buy

In the short time that this Lexus RX 350 has been a part of the Lexus RX series, there have been many great years for this model.

Here are some of the best year models of this vehicle below:

#1 Best Year: 2021 Lexus RX 350

On the top of the list of these best years, you have the 2021 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model is part of the fourth generation of the Lexus RX series, which came to the market in 2016.

Moreover, some improvements in the quality of life features come with this model. The vehicle features built-in wireless phone charging for all phones that support it.

There have been added safety features that have been made standard for the 2021 model, like blind-spot mirroring and the cross-traffic alert system.

These add to the peace of mind for the driving person, making this vehicle one of, if not the best, in the series.

#2 Best Year: 2020 Lexus RX 350

In the second place, I have the 2020 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model is where the last major redesign took place in terms of the vehicle’s looks and style. This is the same design that is currently being used today.

Overall, the design is the same as the 2019 one regarding body size and build. However, this one is better with the slight revision of the front and rear styling.

The car also features a new touch screen with an integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also a bunch more safety features that have been made standard with this model.

#3 Best Year: 2011 Lexus RX 350

The 2011 model of the Lexus RX 350 comes in third place in this list. Although the Lexus RX series has been around since the late 90s, the RX 350 model in specific, released in 2007, had quite a few complaints regarding some of the features and issues.

However, this was all mostly fixed in the 2011 model. This model saw a significantly smaller number of complaints compared to its predecessors. This model, in specific, also got some high scores in crash tests.

#4 Best Year: 2019 Lexus RX 350

Next up on this list is the Lexus RX 350’s 2019 model. This model comes below the 2011 model is because it had a comparatively higher number of complaints regarding fuel efficiency not being as good as the reports show them to be.

However, other than that, there have been no major complaints. This model saw the integration of the vehicle’s system with the Lexus Enform Connect app, which is available for both iPhone and Android.

This makes it a very well-rounded vehicle in terms of ease of use and luxury.

#5 Best Year: 2012 Lexus RX 350

In fifth place, there is the 2012 model of the Lexus RX 350. The model had an optional variant which allowed for a slightly different look in terms of the vehicle’s appearance.

There was also the fact that the fuel recommendation went down to 87-octane gasoline. However, this came with the drawback of having slightly less power output by the vehicle’s engine.

Other than that, this model has the signature luxury which the Lexus RX series is known for, both in terms of a comfortable interior and a very good outlook.

#6 Best Year: 2013 Lexus RX 350

In second last place on this list of best years, I would like to add the Lexus RX 350’s 2013 model. This model was part of the third generation of the Lexus RX series and saw a decent redesign in terms of the style and look of the vehicle.

This gives the model that luxury car looks and takes it to the next level with its modern look. The F-Sports package of this model has an even different look than this one.

Other than that, some more quality of life features have been standardized with this model.

#7 Best Year: 2018 Lexus RX 350

In last place, there is the 2018 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model remains largely unchanged compared to its predecessor. There have been slight changes to the interior and some standardized features.

Other than that, this model some quite a fewer number of complaints compared to its recent predecessor year models.

While the model features a lot of good performance and handling, it simply offers nothing when compared to the models above it, leaving me to place it at last place.

List Of The Worst Years For The Lexus RX 350: What Years To Avoid

Despite a mostly positive response, there have been some years that there were problems with the Lexus RX 350.

Here are some of those years below:

#1 Worst Year: 2009 Lexus RX 350

Starting off the list of the worst years of the Lexus RX 350, I would like to talk about the 2019 model of this vehicle.

Though having a lower number of complaints, this model was quite a serious problem that some of the users faced. This problem was the vehicle’s steering system.

Some of the reports say that the steering rack was prone to leaking. Others claim that the lock is sometimes very difficult to unlock on the steering wheel, thereby locking the driver out from even starting up the vehicle.

The problem might not seem that severe. However, a locking steering system could also mean that it could happen while driving, which can be fatal by some chance.

#2 Worst Year: 2007 Lexus RX 350

Next up on this list, on the number two spot, there is the 2007 model of the Lexus RX 350. This year was the debut model of the RX 350 as its addition to the Lexus RX series of vehicles.

It could have been because the vehicle came under many scrutinies that this model faced the largest number of complaints. These were for different problems and issues faced by users.

Some of which are interior accessories problems, engine problems, and body and paint problems.

#3 Worst Year: 2008 Lexus RX 350

In the third spot of this list of worst years, I have added the 2008 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model was placed right after its predecessor model, the 2007 model because it had fewer complaints than that model.

However, the complaints that were still there were related to the previous model’s same problems. So that means that Lexus did not exactly fix the root causes of all the problems this vehicle was facing, which led them to show up again.

#4 Worst Year: 2010 Lexus RX 350

Next on this list of worst years is the 2010 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model is placed here because it fixed the major issue with the steering system that was faced by its predecessor, and the worst year on this list, the 2009 model.

However, this model had a larger number of complaints than that model. These complaints were related to different issues like engine problems, body and paint problems, and AC and heater problems.

This last problem is an embarrassing one for a vehicle that boasts its luxurious features and capabilities.

#5 Worst Year: 2017 Lexus RX 350

Coming up on the fifth spot on this list is the 2017 model of the Lexus RX 350. This model has been placed on this list because not only did it face some complaints, it remains quite unremarkable compared to the other competitor midsized SUVs on the market.

This model has no third-row seat, yet it still has a smaller storage capacity. The optional tech for this model is quite clever at first glance. However, in practicality, it can be distracting to use while driving.

#6 Worst Year: 2016 Lexus RX 350

In sixth place of this list of worst years, I have placed the 2016 Lexus RX 350 model. This model was the first entry in the fourth generation of the Lexus RX series of vehicles. This model was quite disappointing in some aspects.

First of all, the storage capacity in this model is too small and below average, especially for a midsized SUV.

Other than that, this model also faced complaints regarding interior accessories of the vehicle, like the remote touch screen, which can be distracting to use.

#7 Worst Year: 2014 Lexus RX 350

Lastly, to conclude this list, I have added the 2014 model of the Lexus RX 350.

This model has been placed last on this list because it has the lowest number of complaints regarding the problems than the other year models that have been mentioned in this list of worst years.

However, the problems are related to the vehicle’s exterior accessories and its fuel system.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Lexus RX 350?

Although the Lexus RX 350 is praised heavily for its looks and luxury, there are still some problems that this vehicle has faced that have been and are still present.

So, I have summarized some of the most common problems that are faced by the Lexus RX 350 below:

1. Smaller Storage Space Compared To Competitor Vehicles

This is something that this vehicle has been criticized for since the start. The Lexus RX 350 comes under the midsized SUV category, so many, when comparing this vehicle with others in the same category, expect to see some third-row seats.

If that is not the case, decent storage space is necessary. It’s sad to see that the Lexus RX 350 has neither of these, which leaves a sour taste in my mouth because otherwise, this vehicle is amazing in terms of its luxury.

2. Steering System Locking

Like most cars, when you pull out the key after turning off the vehicle, the steering wheel can be locked for security—the Lexus RX 350’s steering system allowed for this same functionality as well.

However, the problem with some of the models of this vehicle was that their steering would lock up and not open again. This could be because of a jam in the mechanical parts.

Regardless, you could not start up your car with your steering wheel locked. This problem showed up in the Lexus RX 350 for a while. However, it was fixed pretty soon.

3. Slow/Below Average Acceleration

Midsize SUVs generally have quite decently sized engines. Since the Lexus RX 350 comes under this category of vehicles, it also has quite a strong engine. However, even with this engine, the engine’s power output is just not there.

Other competing vehicles in the same category have much higher power output from their engines, some with even smaller engines than the RX 350.

This problem leads to the vehicle having quite a low acceleration compared to other vehicles in the same category. Another reason for this could be that the engine performs differently on different fuel types.

4. Interior Accessories Not Working Properly

This kind of problem really should not exist in a vehicle marketed and priced mainly for its luxurious elements. The problem is that the interior elements like the AC and the heater, in some models, just completely stop working after a few years.

In most models, the screens and interactable features may be clever, but they can be quite distracting to use for the person who is driving.

5. Poor Engine Idling

The Lexus RX 350 is known for having a poor engine idle. This was due to faulty sensors, which are most likely to be the cam sensors & the oxygen sensors.

Once the engine would warm up and you would leave it on idle, then it would rev and fluctuate randomly rather than remaining constant. This was also accompanied by the VSC & TRC warning lights remaining on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Long Does The Lexus RX 350 Last?

The Lexus RX 350 is designed to be quite a long-lasting vehicle. Given that you maintain a proper maintenance schedule, a Lexus RX 350 should be able to easily last over 200,000 miles.

However, do keep in mind that as this vehicle gets older, the chances of needing a major repair done get higher.

So, if you are going for a used Lexus RX 350, you should know how much the vehicle has been used and how well it has been maintained during that time.

For more information, you can also read this article: How Long Do Lexus RX Last?

Q2. Is The Lexus RX 350 Good In The Snow?

As mentioned before, the Lexus RX 350 is a vehicle designed to last a long time. That is why it has been built to be rugged enough to survive all sorts of weather and terrain.

Snow being no exception to this. However, the stock wheels do not perform that well in the snow, so you should think about getting the tires changed to snow tires if you are going to be driving this in the snow.

Q3. Is The Lexus RX 350 Expensive To Maintain?

Despite being an expensive vehicle to buy, the Lexus RX 350 is a relatively cheaper vehicle to maintain.

Assuming that a major problem does not show up in the vehicle, the vehicle’s maintenance can cost a maximum of around $7000 in 10 years of usage.

This is lower than the average cost at the same time as any other SUV in the same category. However, keep in mind that a major repair can be quite expensive.

Q4. Does The Lexus RX 350 Require Premium Gas?

I am not sure what can be said for the earliest models of this vehicle. However, the later models of the Lexus RX 350 are really good in fuel economy. Along with this, they do not require premium fuel to give this performance.

From what I know, all options of the Lexus RX 350 have the recommendation to use 87 octanes for fuel. This is not considered as premium fuel as it is not as expensive as the premium 91 or 93 octanes.

Q5. Where Is Lexus RX 350 Made?

The first generation of the Lexus RX 350 was mostly assembled and produced in various plants across Japan in Miyawaka. The second generation would continue to be produced there and would also be produced in Cambridge, Canada.

These two assembled plants would be the main factories of the Lexus RX 350 for the 3rd & 4th generation, which means that these two plants are where the lineup is currently being made.

Conclusion

Speaking specifically regarding the luxury that this vehicle provides, the Lexus RX 350 was a great addition to Lexus’ RX series of vehicles.

Their performance in terms of fuel efficiency and a comfortable drive makes them a perfect contender for the midsized SUV market. However, since this is a major brand, any major repair will be expensive.

So if you are looking for a used one, I have mentioned the best and worst years for Lexus RX 350, which should make it easier for you to get the best model and avoid the worst models I have listed.