Lexus RX: Judging for 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors

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Much like it has done with exterior design, Lexus has given its interiors an extreme makeover, too.

The RX CUV, all new for ’16, is the latest Lexus to undergo a thorough transformation inside.

Our judges are enamored with the skillful combination of leather, wood and metal-look trim in the $53,000 RX 350 CUV we tested in February. Enough so, that we’ve bestowed the vehicle with a Wards 10 Best Interiors award for 2016.

The luxury brand’s ultra-glossy wood trim has been pared down. If you don’t like it, there are many no-gloss wood options to choose from.

Metallic trim is employed with great effect throughout the ’16 RX model we tested. Interesting shapes and sizes of the trim lend lots of visual interest, especially the zig-zagging piece around the center stack and brushed-aluminum volume and tune knobs.

Leather seats and leather-trimmed door panels use eye-catching white stitching, and the headliner is a nice soft velvety material.

Our test vehicle begins at $43,300 and is equipped with a variety of options, including a $1,085 Premium package, a $1,600 panorama moonroof and a $1,750 navigation system with an 8-in. screen.

That navigation system and many of the functions in the screen’s menus are accessed by Lexus’ remote touch controller on the center console. Once controversial, we find the new controller easier to use thanks to a more precise mouse.

Also on the technology front, our judges like the head-up display, which includes a handy eco-meter to measure how fuel-efficient your driving is, as well as the ability for adaptive cruise control to bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

The RX’s seats are comfortable, even the rear seats, which can be a penalty box in some CUVs. There’s plenty of legroom in the second row and reclining seatbacks are a nice touch, making for an even more luxurious passenger experience.

Overall, the RX 350 has an interior that is premium and modern, but understated, too. That’s not an easy feat to pull off, especially at a $53,000 price point. Good job, Lexus.

-- Christie Schweinsberg

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