Motor Trend Compares the Lexus RX 350 vs Cadillac SRX

Lexus RX350 vs. Cadillac SRX

It’s always been obvious that Motor Trend has an anti-Lexus bias, but their latest RX 350 vs. Cadillac SRX comparison is a disservice to anyone looking to the magazine for realistic advice:

No doubt we could option these two out with similar equipment for similar pricing. Point is, adding all the equipment to the Cadillac won’t solve the shortcomings in refinement next to the Lexus.

The RX 350 is more isolated, with road impacts notably quieter and less harsh…The Lexus is quicker, its 3.5-liter V-6 making just 10 more horses…but making 34 foot-pounds more torque, with better EPA and observed fuel economy.

Those of you who value Lexus’ “relentless pursuit of perfection” will puzzle over our values in choosing this comparison’s winner. Those of you who understand how we value entertaining driving dynamics over all else will understand.

Let’s see, the SRX is slower, has abysmal build quality, a harsher ride, uses more gas and still comes out as the recommended pick because it’s “more fun and rewarding to drive.” When did driving dynamics become the most important aspect in comparing 2-ton luxury crossovers?

[Source: Motor Trend]



  1. Good point regarding the previous comparo they did with the outgoing RX; also the LSh comparo was strange in its selection.  However, they were less acerbic than Car and Driver and some Edmunds writers…they did name the RX the “benchmark” for refinement, coddling, etc…which is what luxury crossover buyers are looking for IMO.

  2. Am I the only one confused after reading this article? 
    So the RX is a better car in every aspect, but the fun category…if i’m sitting in rush hour traffic monday through friday… i don’t know how much fun driving i’ll be having.

  3. this makes me mad the more i read it. its like taking two shirts, and letting the one that’s more comfortable, nicer, better valued, better brand, and better quality lose because the other shirt is more fun to wear…motor trend, stuck up cadillac loving old American men (sorry krew and all else)...i’m not surprised

  4. It’s like I’ve been saying, why place such a high emphasis on fun-to-drive factor on luxury SUV’s? It would be different if we were comparing exotic sports cars.

    What a shame, I always thought Motor Trend was one of the lesser biased publications. Anyone subscribe to them? We should write a letter to the editor.

  5. The car magazines have NEVER understood the appeal of a Lexus.  Their testing equipment is designed to measure performance—speed acceleration, etc.

    Chatty person that I am, I have taken to asking other Lexus drivers I happen upon at gas pumps if they are happy with their vehicles.  The response is always a variation of “Of course.”  Lexus owners LOVE their rides!

    So the question is, Why don’t the motor mags agree with the driving public? 

    1) Because a Lexus is a hyper-premium Toyota, it is the first luxury car to have BETTER than Camry reliability.  Even rich guys who can afford expensive repairs like reliability.  The car magazines have no way to capture the importance of reliability so miss this MOST important reason for owner loyalty.

    2) Refinement may be “boring’ but it is a revered long-term virtue.  Think that smoothness and low noise levels aren’t important—then take a car for a long drive.  I recently drove an LS from south of Nashville to a SW Minneapolis suburb, by myself, in one day—940 miles.  That LS beat me up less in nearly a thousand miles than some cars I have owned could do in 100.  And at 80 mph, I can listen to Mozart string quartets.  Car mags DO measure cabin noise levels and probably could measure vibrations transmitted to the driver, but a bunch of hot-rodders on a three-day test can NEVER appreciate the long-term benefits of smooth and quiet.

    3) Mileage.  On that 940 drive cruising at the speed limit plus 5, that LS got 27.8 mpg.  I am old enough to remember when 40 hp. Beetle drivers bragged about that kind of mileage.  There is something wonderful about zooming along in an LS and knowing you get better gas mileage than the guy bouncing along in the Subaru next to you.

    4) Performance has become irrational.  I bought an RX-7 in 1979 that could go 0-60 in 11.0 seconds.  Considering how much trouble I managed to get into with that car, I can only imagine that sorts of trouble I could get into with my LS because it is MUCH faster than my RX-7.  Cops lose their sense of humor at 90.  So virtually your whole driving life will be spent at speeds less than 90.  But car mags think that it is somehow important if a car does 0-60 in 6.3 rather than 7.9 seconds or that one car has a top speed of 156 rather than 130.  So absurd comparisons actually trump important measures.

    5) A Lexus is invisible.  If you need to be noticed by the peons and cops, there are much better rides than something like an LS.  I have owned yellow sports cars—trust me on this, invisible is MUCH better.  But for car magazines, a yellow or red attention-getter on the cover increases newstand sales.  Their business models cannot allow the promotion of the nuanced and subtle.

    There are probably other reasons that the car mags don’t get it.  I really don’t much care.  While the global economic slowdown has caught Lexus in its downdraft, they are not in trouble from a product standpoint.  Their cars are works of absolute mechanical genius that still make their owners happy.  Mine still delights me on a regular basis.  And I stopped reading the car mag about 15 years ago because they persisted in being so juvenile and irrelevant.

  6. Very well said, techno!  Good points all around.  A number of automotive publications, C&D especially, have become more and more narrowly defined, niche tailored with new 20s-ish writers that are focused on 0-60 times above all else.

  7. okay, i dont get what they are saying about the caddy. its hideous.

  8. the only thing that the srx has more than of the RX is dissapointing looks.

  9. Lexus has it all over Cadillac when it comes to refinement and reliability.  If only the RX 350 didn’t look so dildoish…  Just sayin’.

  10. Good point, techno.
    Just wanted to know, what model year is your LS?

  11. Maybe if you could stop looking like a douche…  Just Sayin’

  12. I agree with you mostly, however I think some auto mags just have it in for Lexus.

    Take the IS-F for example. One of the main complaints was not it’s performance, rather it was its harsh ride quality.

    I just find it odd that they place such a high emphasis on fun-to-drive factor on luxury SUV’s, then when they review a raw performance track ready sports sedan they complain that it rides too hard.

    Go figure.

  13. A 2004 LS 430.  And before that, I had a 96 LS 400.

  14. Why shouldn’t the car mags “have it in for Lexus?”  For years they have been picking something else in their comparison tests while folks keep ignoring them and buying Lexus anyway.

    On the other hand, even I cannot understand why Lexus built the IS-F.  400+ hp in a shoebox?  Just where do you drive such a thing?  Rough and noisy is certainly NOT my idea of a Lexus.

  15. Excellent commentary!  I’ve worked for Lexus for the past 19 years and the only years that Lexus received praise was early on when the quality challenged the Germans so much that we were applauded as a spur to them to improve.  Now, every car made is a better car because of Lexus.  Competitors tore our cars apart to see how we did that.  Some things they could emulate and others they could or would not.  Now the only praise we have received is to the ISF and even that is given reluctantly.  Now here in Motor Trend is the evidence, par-excellant, that the prejudice is gone to the absurd.  Their favored vehicle is the one that has the worst ride, the worst quality, the worst gas mileage, the slowest and the noisiest.  So what’s so appealing about the Cadillac?  Ghetto gangster appeal.

  16. In reply to the car mags criticism of the ISF as having a harsh ride.  I spent 3 days in Vegas on a test track with professional drivers learning to drive the ISF and their biggest comment was what a great smooth ride the car had to be such a great track car.  They said that is was about the only car with its ability that you could drive every day on the road.  Compared to the M3 the ride is much smoother.  This harsh ride stuff is just more car mag BS try to shoot down Lexus.

  17. Techno—great comment, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re absolutely right, these magazines are so far away from the reality of vehicle ownership, it’s laughable.

    (This comparison also reeks of manufactured controversy, but if Motor Trend really wanted to be contrary, they should have picked the RX.)

  18. Up until the last page of the comparison, the writing was even handed and leaning heavily towards the RX. It’s almost like the final verdict was self-mocking, as though they couldn’t bring themselves to pick the Lexus purely out of bias.

  19. It’s really like Motor Trend can’t help themselves—I don’t even know if they believe what they’re saying.

  20. I agree with Krew. The review says RX is all great and then at the end they simply just pick SRX. That seems biased. I guess reliability does not mean anything to them if reliability is an important part of car reviews. I guess Motor Trend is still on the list of biased magazines then.

  21. WOW, hahaha that’s just plain sad. Motor Trends desperate for Lexus to lose when Lexus is faster, more luxurious, and higher quality. VERY silly. =P What are u smoking MOTOR TREND?!?!

  22. the point is, Lexus wants to show that they really do have an ace of performance up their sleeves, even if that ace is stitched in two toned leather and wood. i personally love the ISF, and i cant pick between whether i love the LS600hL more or the ISF. coming from a 15 year old like me, that’s a rare statement raspberry

  23. In 1986, I was writing a book that contained a section on manufacturing and economics.  I had read several books on what I called Toyota’s Statistic Quality Practices and had come to the conclusion that either you copied Toyota or you made inferior products.  I wrote, “Toyota has also proven that once it is learned how to make a cheap car better than an expensive car, making an expensive car better than anything on the planet is only a matter of time.”

    I had NO way of knowing at the time they were planning to build a Lexus.  But having predicted they would probably try, I determined I MUST have one and that it MUST be built at their Tahara plant.

    Considering who they were competing against, the Lexus project was an act of considerable courage.  They had no tradition of building a “luxury” car.  They “only” had their build quality.  Yet somehow, that was more than enough.

  24. We must be on the same vibe, look what I was writing while you were posting this comment:

  25. Thank you for your excellent comments.  You were very insightful.  Thanks for sharing that story.

  26. not what I’m smokin! thats for sure! smile

    Ive been in love with the lexus brand since i was 5 years old. I finally got a 93 LS400 exactly 3 years ago (minus one day) with 200k. My car has 280k on it now and i could drive across america and not fret one bit. my car has NEVER LEFT ME STRANDED. its 16 years old! the attention to detail is unsurpassed in a production car. yes my car is boring to drive, but honestly the car aces every other category.

    Oh btw my lexus has been very cheap to own. I’m a DIY kinda guy and my car has been corolla cheap (except when gas was $4) and even then when comparing mileage to smaller cars, the 1uz-fe still manages to be more powerful,smoother, and fuel effiecent.

  27. As a fellow first-gen LS owner, welcome to The Lexus Enthusiast! I couldn’t agree more, when it comes down to it, reliability is very important over the life of a vehicle, as both of us know first hand.

    Thanks for commenting!

  28. Even when Top Gear mag tested the IS-F on Isle of Man roads ( which are quite bumpy ), they had no issues bout ride quality. They were also impressed with the IS-F engine noise, paddle shifters & brakes. Says a lot , cause we all know how critical the Brits are bout Lexus too.

  29. The RX looks way better in those photos than the SRX & thats saying something cause I hate this new RX design (the previous one I liked). The SRX looks like the box the RX came in ! Cadillacs can be quite bad, I sat in an STS recently & I was shocked at its flaws :
    -Space is cramped, especially the rear seat.
    -Interior plastic & build quality is poor (nowhere near Lexus standards).
    -Wood trim was cheapness taken to the extreme.
    The DTS was only slighty better. But the Escalade had good quality.

  30. I can understand the appeal of having an SUV that handles well but that’s not the main reason to pick an SUV. I’m getting really tired of these auto magazines and people on shooting down Lexus every chance they get. Lexus seems to be treated like the forgotten step child. People forget that Lexus is not built for superior handling or sporty driving, it’s meant for affordable luxury, something I think it does very well. How can the Lexus be winning in every category but lose because it doesn’t handle as well? Oh and let’s not forget, GM is in bankruptcy while Lexus is not, that should be a rather large category to look at. I’m not sure why people think the new RX isn’t a leap ahead of the old one, when you drive it it’s like a completely different car. Sure it might not handle as well as the ML but it is much more comfortable with a much better layout. When i’m sitting in traffic I won’t care what the 0-60 of my SUV is, i am going to care about how comfortable my seat is and how quiet the cabin is, something cadillac cannot compete with. And i’m not sure why people are so set on bashing other car companies, i’m not the biggest fan of hyundai but i still look seriously at the genesis. While other people compare a BMW X5 to an RX, it just doesn’t make sense, the RX is not driving 120mph on the freeway so you really don’t need that type of handling, instead the RX is driving around suburbia and sitting in traffic on the freeway. So instead of picking which one is more fun to drive at 100 mph lets pick the one that is the most comfortable for a great price, the area Lexus strives in.

  31. Well said, Tyler, I agree completely.

  32. Very well stated, Tyler. I share your opinion. Even running this website, I’m not afraid to show enthusiasm for other car brands, and I think that’s a defining characteristic of Lexus enthusiasts—Maturity.

  33. By “maturity”, I hope you don’t mean “elderly”, Krew. HA, HA… Just kidding.
    But you must forgive any immaturity I may show when it comes to bad mouthing Audi, after all I’m only 31 !

  34. Motor Trend also ragged on the second-gen IS350 when it first came out and did a comparison against BMW and Benz respective cars.  Guess who won?  BMW as ALWAYS.  They acknowledged that the IS was better in every way expect that it wasn’t “fun” to drive.  I let my subscription run out shortly after, their love for BMW is disgusting.

  35. The IS is plenty fun to drive. seriously, i hate motor trend because how they suck up to bmw like bmw gave them life…
    KREW, GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! (wrote it in caps so you won’t miss it)
    i am leaving The Lexus Enthusiast. mainly because i pretty much annoy everybody, especially you. so goodbye. and good luck with this website.

  36. If you interpreted my comment as anything other than disdain for Motor Trend, please seek help.  I love my IS350, it’s fun to drive.

  37. To LEXUSaddict :
    I personally like your comments & don’t find anything annoying about them. I believe all true Lexus fans should be honest with each other & communicate freely, especially thru a great website such as this. I’m thankful to our host, Krew for spending time & energy to give us the absolute latest news from Lexus, but if you have offended him in some way I’m sorry to see you go.

  38. LexusADDICT: No idea what this is about, but I would prefer if it was addressed outside of the comments section. Please contact me via email or use the contact form and let me know what the issue is.

  39. Why is it everybody hates Lexus/Toyota especially Nascar fans. I think they are scared becaause their companies are going to bankruptcy. Well in fact their technology is 10 years behind japanese car makers. Watch out Hyundai is busy photocopying LEXUS. LOL

  40. Buddy you definitely have a problem if you think everyone in the world should have the same taste. Talk about being BIAS! You work for Toyota! Myself, I don't work for any car maker. Every couple a years when it's time to purchase a new vehicle my wife and I test drive the Lexus, Acura and Cadillac. In our opinion the Cadillac always wins .Why? Looks, comfort, performance and FEEL! Next SUV will be The Cadillac SRX!

  41. Then next time you can save yourself and a salesman a lot of time by simply buying the Cadillac without test driving anything else.  I am curious why you are on a Lexus blog since you are obviously a Cadillac fan.  The reason I’ve worked for Toyota for 20 years is that they make the highest quality product with the greatest customer support.  This is not only my biased opinion but that of JD Powers and Consumer Reports as well.  I have owned Cadillacs and Lexus in my life and I greatly prefer the Lexus.  In the past 20 years Cadillac has improved a lot; you can thank Lexus for that.

  42. I think both cars are the best feature car but according to me Cadillac SRX is looks good as compare to lexus rx 350.  cool

  43. In fact, I don’t mind if I have two of them. Cardillac’s advantage is