Best & Worst Lexus RX 350 Years

We've ranked each Lexus RX 350 model for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Lexus RX 350 years and pick the best one.

In this guide, I’ll break down all Lexus RX 350 generations, highlighting the best years for the RX 350 to buy and the worst Lexus RX 350 years to avoid.

Using reliable sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and VehicleHistory, I’ve combined user reviews, official recalls, and performance data to provide a holistic view of the vehicle’s history.

As we navigate each generation, you’ll gain insights into Lexus RX 350’s powertrain specifics, technological and safety advancements, and common owner-reported problems.

Let’s dive right in.

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Table of ContentsShow

Lexus RX 350 Generations

The Lexus RX 350 made its market debut in the second generation of the RX line, specifically in the 2007 model year.

It carried forward the luxury crossover mantle from the RX 330, equipping the RX 350 with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, plush interior styling, innovative technology, and enhanced performance capabilities, affirming Lexus’s commitment to luxury, performance, and style.

Here is a table showing all Lexus RX 350 generations from 2007.

GenerationYears
2nd Generation (XU30)2007-2009
3rd Generation (AL10)2010-2015
4th Generation (AL20)2016-2022
5th Generation (ALA10/ALH10)2023-Present

Understanding the generational distinctions, from design overhauls to powertrain enhancements and interior refinements, is critical since these differences might heavily influence a buying decision.

Lexus RX 350 Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When ranking and categorizing the best and worst Lexus RX 350’s model years, we consider a comprehensive set of factors including, but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • Cars.com owner ratings

Our graph below synthesizes data from the sources above, visually representing yearly ratings of each Lexus RX 350 model.

Lexus RX 350 Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Following this, we’ve distilled our findings into a table that categorizes each model year as the best, neutral, or worst year for the Lexus RX 350.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
2nd (2007-2009)2008
2009
N/A2007
3rd (2010-2015)2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
N/A2010
4th (2016-2022)2018
2020
2021
2022
20192016
2017
5th (2023-Present)2023  

In this context, “Neutral Years” represent those model years that neither shine in excellence nor dramatically fail in performance and reliability.

Some factors, like the NHTSA recalls and complaints, can significantly lower a vehicle’s perceived reliability and owner satisfaction scores.

Let’s dive into the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst Lexus RX 350 years.

Best & Worst Years for Lexus RX 350 2nd Generation (2007-2009)

Lexus RX 350 2nd generation 2007 model
The 2007 Lexus RX 350

The 2nd Generation Lexus RX 350 debuted in 2004, bringing luxury, performance, and technological prowess enhancements.

2008 and 2009 are the best years for the second-generation Lexus RX 350, while 2007 is the Lexus RX 350 year you should avoid.

The Best Years: 2008, 2009

With relatively fewer complaints registered in NHTSA, 2008 and 2009 are categorized as the best years for the Lexus RX 350 in this generation.

These years featured a standard 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine, which delivered 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 5-speed U151E/F automatic transmission.

These models achieved an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 18 city / 23 highway mpg for the FWD variant, with the AWD offering slightly less.

Trim levels ranged from Premium, which included leather trim and a sunroof, to the Ultra-Premium Package, boasting features like the Mark Levinson Surround Sound system, navigation system, rearview camera, and heated and ventilated front seats.

Safety was also a strong suit in these models, with standard stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, curtain airbags, and an optional Pre-Collision System (PCS).

However, it’s critical that these years weren’t without their faults. The dreaded oil cooler pipe issue from 2007 persisted.

The Worst Years: 2007

The 2007 Lexus RX 350 is earmarked as the worst year RX 350 you should avoid due to many issues that significantly impacted its reliability and owner satisfaction.

The most severe was an oil leak from the faulty VVT-i oil hose, which risked complete oil loss and catastrophic engine damage.

This year also suffered from defects in the water pump, leading to engine overheating and potential failure, issues with the rack and pinion resulting in power steering fluid leaks, and brake actuator failures that could affect the vehicle’s safe operation.

Moreover, structural problems, such as cracked dashboards, detracted from the vehicle’s luxury appeal and owner satisfaction.

A recall was issued concerning the floor carpet cover and retention clips that, if not installed correctly, could interfere with the accelerator pedal, resulting in unintended acceleration.

See NHTSA 2007, 2008, 2009 Lexus RX 350 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Lexus RX 350 3rd Generation (2010-2015)

Lexus RX 350 3rd generation 2010 model
The 2010 Lexus RX 350

The 3rd Generation of the Lexus RX 350, released in 2010, heralded a noteworthy evolution in design, comfort, and technology, underscoring Lexus’s dedication to luxury and performance.

In this generation, 2011-2015 are the best years for the used Lexus RX 305 to buy. 2010 is the worst Lexus RX 350 year you should avoid at all costs.

The Best Years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

What are the best years for the Lexus RX 350? With excellent ratings on platforms like J.D. Power, VehicleHistory, Cars.com, and Consumer Reports ratings, 2011-2015 are the best years for the third-gen Lexus RX 350.

These vehicles were equipped with a 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine churning out 275 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed U660E/F automatic transmission with sequential shift mode.

The fuel efficiency was commendable for a luxury SUV, with an EPA rating of 18 city / 25 highway mpg for the FWD variant and a slightly lower efficiency for the AWD version.

These model years introduced the F Sport package, adding an eight-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, a sport-tuned suspension, and unique design elements.

The cabin featured semi-aniline leather seats, a Mark Levinson premium sound system, navigation with voice control, and the Lexus Enform service for emergency assistance and other telematics services.

Regarding safety, these years included a ten-airbag system, stability control, available blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2013 Lexus RX 350 even received the IIHS Top Safety Pick accolade.

The Worst Years: 2010

With substantial oil leak problems, 2010 is the poorest Lexus RX 350 year you should avoid like the plague.

It suffered from similar engine issues as its predecessors, particularly concerning the VVT-i oil line, which could burst and cause rapid oil loss, leading to engine failure.

This year was also haunted by reports of unintended acceleration, leading to a substantial recall to rectify floor mat and pedal problems that could trap the accelerator.

Further complicating matters, this model faced problems with the cooling system, leading to potential engine overheating.

Electrical issues were also a nuisance, with instances of a spontaneously dead battery or faulty alternator.

Regarding driving experience, some owners reported harsh transmission shifts and uncomfortable suspension, detracting from the luxury vehicle’s expected smoothness.

See NHTSA 2010 Lexus RX 350 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Lexus RX 350 4th Generation (2016-2022)

Lexus RX 350 4th generation 2016 model
The 2016 Lexus RX 350

The 4th-generation Lexus RX 350 debuted in 2016, revealing a radical overhaul in design language with a bolder, more angular appearance, enhanced cabin luxury, and a suite of new technologies.

With some newly emerged issues and persistent problems from the previous generation, 2016 and 2017 are the Lexus RX 350 years that should be avoided. 2018 and 2020-2022 are the best years for the Lexus RX 350.

The Best Years: 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022

What is the most reliable year for the Lexus RX 350? With excellent ratings from VehicleHistory, Cars.com, and Consumer Reports, 2018 and 2020-2022 are undeniably the best and most reliable years for the fourth-gen Lexus RX 350.

Under the hood, these vehicles were powered by a 3.5-liter  2GR-FKS V6 engine that produced 295 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque paired with an 8-speed automatic Aisin AWF8F35 transmission.

Fuel economy estimates were impressive, with the 2020 model achieving approximately 20 city / 27 highway mpg.

Regarding trim levels, these years offered the standard RX, the sportier F Sport, and the RX L, which provided a third row of seating.

The cabin’s luxury quotient was accentuated with ambient lighting, premium materials, and options like a 12.3-inch infotainment display, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, and a panoramic sunroof.

Technological advancements came to the fore with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Lexus’s advanced safety system suite as standard from the 2020 model year.

These model years were relatively free of significant defects, although occasional reports mentioned infotainment system glitches or minor mechanical issues.

The Neutral Years: 2019

The 2019 Lexus RX 350 occupied a middle ground, neither shining as brightly as the best Lexus RX 350 years nor plagued with the issues of the worst years.

While offering the features and specifications of the 2018 model, the 2019 Lexus RX 350 was among the models that received a recall for low-pressure fuel pump failures causing engine stalling.

Some owners also pointed out that the third row in the RX L variant was a bit cramped.

Nevertheless, it retained the essential qualities of a Lexus, with general satisfaction among owners and only isolated issues.

The Worst Years: 2016, 2017

What is the Lexus RX 350 years to avoid? 2016 and 2017 are undoubtedly the worst years for the fourth-generation Lexus RX 350 you should avoid. Here is why:

Most notably, these years faced issues with faulty fuel pumps that could cause the engine to stall without warning.

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 was subjected to a recall for ABS actuators that might have had a damaged O-ring, potentially compromising brake fluid pressure control during ABS activation.

The 2017, 2019, and 2020 Lexus RX 350 models received a necessary recall for the low-pressure fuel pump failures causing engine stalling.

Especially for the 2017 RX 350, Toyota issued a recall for the brake assist vacuum pump, which may fail and cause reduced braking performance.

See NHTSA 2016, 2017, 2019 Lexus RX 350 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Lexus RX 350 5th Generation (2023-Present)

Lexus RX 350 5th generation 2023 model
The 2023 Lexus RX 350

The 2023 Lexus RX 350 marks the beginning of the model’s fifth generation, showcasing various advancements in performance, comfort, and safety that uphold the luxury ethos of the brand.

While it’s too early to determine the long-term reliability of this model year, the advancements and features presented in the 2023 Lexus RX 350 set a promising tone for the fifth generation.

The Best Years: 2023

In terms of performance and power train, the 2023 Lexus RX 350 is equipped with a refined 2.4-liter T24A-FTS turbo I4 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, producing an impressive 275 horsepower.

Preliminary estimates indicate a fuel consumption rate of around 22 city / 29 highway mpg, though these figures may slightly vary based on driving conditions and habits.

The F Sport trim, known for its athletic stance, adds sport-tuned suspension and unique exterior and interior trim accents, while the Luxury package focuses on premium materials, added comfort features, and advanced technology.

The new Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, a standard feature, includes an array of safety technologies, such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane tracing, and road sign assist.

Notably, the Lexus RX 2023 received the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

The infotainment system is anchored by a 14-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, ensuring connectivity and entertainment are at the driver’s fingertips.

Lexus RX 350 Average Resale Values

See the average list prices of each Lexus RX 350 model with our detailed graph below.

Lexus RX 350 Average List Price

Conclusion

Choosing one of the best years for the Lexus RX 350 will definitely be a good investment in the long term. Our research shows that the best Lexus RX 350 years are the 2011-2015, 2018-2021 models as they provide a blend of reliability, performance, and innovation.

The 2023 Lexus RX 350 model is also promising.

Which features in the best Lexus RX 350 years are vital: reliability, advanced tech, or safety enhancements?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.