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January 24, 2013

Lexus engineers know not to mess with a good thing

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When you have a good thing going, some say to leave it alone. Engineers that are responsible for the 2013 Lexus did mostly that, making some cosmetic changes outside and adding cabin refinements inside, leaving its RX 350 mostly intact. Why not?

The result places the refined luxury crossover SUV in venerable territory in its third year of its third generation. In addition to being the top-selling luxury SUV, the RX continues to attract buyers from multi generations.

One reason for its popularity may be linked to its technological curves. In standard mode with a mouse like interface, its wizardry can be simple enough to operate without a teenager on board to explain all the gizmos.

If you have the aforementioned teenager on board, or its equivalent in geekness, the Lexus Enform system will not disappoint, The Enform screen will bring you up close and personal with movie tickets, dining reservations, favorite music genre and a host of Internet based systems awaiting exploration.

The RX 350 still has a single engine choice for its lineup, a 270 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated with a silky smooth six-speed automatic transmission. The test car I drove was equipped with full-time active torque all-wheel-drive.

In addition to providing a firm grip on the road, the luxury car-based SUV recorded a zero to 60 mile per hour time of 6.8 seconds, quicker than others in its class.

There are 10 airbags onboard including curtain airbags and side bags for the rear seat. Rear seatbacks also slide and recline for added comfort. Cargo space with the rear seats in place is 40 cubic feet and 80 with the seats down.

While the new RX seats five adults comfortably, a third row seat is not available, forcing some potential buyers into other SUVs including the Acura MDX or Infiniti JX35.

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