Comedian Mike Myers may be best known as the creator of Austin Powers but one of his funniest skits during his tenure on “Saturday Night Live” was “Coffee Talk starring Linda Richmond.” In these hilarious 5 minute episodes where he pontificated on the wondrous nature of Barbra Streisand he also coined the phrase, “it’s like buttah.” That’s butter for those of you who don’t speak Long Island-ese.
If ever there was a car that was perfectly suited to the “like-buttah” nature of Ms. Richmond it would have to be the silky smooth 2010 Lexus RX350. From the feel of the leather to the movement of every switch, knob and control, it truly feels like the Lexus RX was dipped in a giant vat of molten hot “buttah.” And if you are looking for a luxuriously decadent driving experience that is definitely a good thing.
The 2010 Lexus RX350 starts at just $37,625 decently equipped although it does cost extra to get the Posh-ute essentials like navigation, iPod connectivity or the Premium Package (which contains luxury features that are often times standard nowadays with upscale brands). The $2,400 Premium Package includes leather upholstery, power memory seats, a USB/iPod jack, power moonroof, power rear hatch and more.
But if you are looking for the full Lexus experience and you like your toys to be state of the art you must equip your 2010 RX350 with the Luxury Package for an additional $4,900. It includes the most buttery semi-aniline leather that Lexus makes, a leather/wood trim steering wheel, smog recirculation mode for the climate control, wide side view mirrors, a wide-view side monitoring system (like a back-up camera only for the sides) and gorgeous 19 inch alloy wheels all in addition to the goodies that come with the Premium Package.
Other than that you can also equip your 2010 Lexus RX350 with a rear seat DVD entertainment set-up ($5,615), a towing package that lets you tow anything up to 3,500 pounds ($268) and you can even add a $1,610 state of the art Mark Levinson 15-speaker 330 watt audio system that should please even the most ardent audiophile. Safety features like Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and Electronic Brake Force Distribution with ABS all come standard with every 2010 RX350. Which safety feature doesn’t come standard? All-Wheel Drive is an optional extra that pushes the base MSRP to $39,025.
While the exterior styling of the 2010 RX350 is evolutionary at best, why should Lexus mess with a design they got right the first time? This five seat luxury-SUV has been pleasing upwardly mobile families for years now what with its classic lines and very comfortable interior. There is also plentiful cargo room with 40 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 80.03 with them down. Few people ever need more space than that making the 2010 RX350 an ideal suburban companion.
The standard engine in the 2010 Lexus RX350 is the venerable Toyota 3.5 liter V6 this time tuned to 275 horsepower and 257 pound feet of torque. Man, is this engine ever quiet. So if peace and relaxation after work is what you like in a commuter vehicle look no more. The 3.5 liter V6 also returns a respectable 18 city/24 highway on the EPA cycle.
The only transmission available with the 2010 Lexus RX350 is a buttery smooth (that word again) six-speed automatic. Steering and handling are, again, a bit buttery meaning road imperfections are well and truly smoothed out but then so is a lot of the sensation of driving. The RX350 isn’t a vehicle that should be attracting road racers so the point is probably moot, anyhow.
An Audi Q5, however, does have more of a fun to drive ethos which may be contributing to that model’s booming sales. There is only so long that a quiet, easy to drive, relaxing car will please anyone. Eventually you have got to have a little edge to your daily driver or what’s the use? It makes you wonder if that is why so many Lexus models are leased instead of purchased.
One area that Lexus needs to work on in the interior is the color of the Bird’s Eye Maple trim that comes with the gray leathers. Luckily you can order a much nicer dark walnut with the beige and black interiors but why is there no chance of designing an RX interior with piano black trim, brushed metal or some other futuristic material? Lexus must remember that even Jaguar has ditched the traditional wood sometimes to get with the times.
Despite the media fear mongering about the reliability, safety and quality of Toyota products the 2010 Lexus RX350 proves that there is no reason not to buy a Lexus. Especially now that some of these speeding Prius models in the news have been shown to be victims of human errors and not part of some general incompetence at Lexus/Toyota’s engineering department.