Highlight: The RX name stands for Radiant Crossover, according to Wikepedia.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $46,950 (Base Model starts at $40,670)

Seating Capacity:  5

Standard Safety Features: 10 airbags; ABS; an electronic brake force distribution; LED Running Lights; a vehicle theft deterrent system; automatic collision notification; an emergency assist button; an enhanced roadside assistance system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed transmission; 10-way power cloth   seats; driver’s seat easy/exit access; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a rearview automatic mirror; keyless entry with a smart less touch pad; partially reclining rear seats; and a Tonneau cover for the cargo area.

Suspension System:
Front- Macpherson Strut, coil
Rear- Double Wishbone type, coil springs

Standard Audio: a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD with XM Satellite subscription for 90 days

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:  4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  6 years or 70,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower): 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/270-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 18-city/25-hwy

Towing: 3,500 lbs

Other Trim Levels:

RX 450h (a hybrid model)
F-Type (trim)

What’s New: Lexus’ luxurious five-passenger crossover went through a major overhaul during the 2013 model year. So, with that being the case, there are only a few content changes for the 2014 model year.

Pros: The roomy five-passenger crossover is really considered a multiuse vehicle. It’s capable of carrying people and loads of cargo, especially when the rear seats are folded-down and not in use. The RX is literally an all-purpose vehicle.  Depending on how it is equipped, the RX can be transformed from a pure gasoline model to a hybrid model to an all-wheel drive model to a more athletic and a bolder, more athletic F-type model.

The base model RX we reviewed was outfitted with just a few accessories. The crossover included a navigation system, a rear camera, real-time traffic data, real-time weather updates, real-time sports scores, an audible alert parking system, blind spot monitoring, leather seats, a power sunroof, and an upgraded audio system, which included 12 speakers, HD radio, and iTune tagging.

Moreover, for those seeking out the latest high-tech safety features, they can opt for a Pre-Collision system, which includes a forward warning collision system and a radar activated cruise control system. Furthermore, serious audio lovers can opt for the premium class Mark Levinson system, which steps the game up to a 15-speaker audio system coupled with a DVD player.

Cons: The somewhat well-appointed RX we reviewed lacked standard heated seats and a heated steering wheel. In our opinion, these features should be standard on a vehicle synonymous with luxury.

It’s also ironic that for the base price of approximately $40,000, there is not much included in the  base model Lexus RX, if we can call it that, until one adds-on a few options. In fact, we did not realize leather seats, a navigation system and a back up camera system weren’t standard, until we reviewed the RX. Yes, even mainstream brands like Honda makes the back up camera standard on every Civic.

The Verdict: The third-generation RX continues to be a segment sales leader, after fourteen years on the market. The RX is the perfect luxury alternative to station wagons and truck-like SUVs. The car-based crossover is truly an all-purpose vehicle. It’s able to carry five in luxury as well as cargo. In fact, the vehicle is capable of pulling up to 3,500 lbs. The RX is the perfect soccer mom vehicle, as well as the perfect dad vehicle, when the F-Sport model is added, which consist of larger wheels, larger brakes and a performance-tuned suspension system. Yes, there is something for everyone with the RX.

Now we’re wondering when Lexus plans on adding a third-row seat to the RX, making it a seven-passenger crossover like its nearest competitor, the Buick Enclave.
 
Competition: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volvo XC60

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.

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