Is The 2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport Worth The Extra Money?

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
The 2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport.

Eight days shy of a year ago, we had our first test of the Lexus RX350 F-Sport.  At the time, surrounded by  the relatively flat streets and urban freeways of Phoenix, Arizona, we had to work in a side trip on the winding roads along the edge of Camelback Mountain to determine whether the F-Sport package (which leaves the stock RX350's 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 in place but adds an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and an F-Sport tuned suspension) was worth the additional seven grand plus change on top of a stock RX350.

Well, as is so often the case, it really depends on where you live and drive. Since moving to Sacramento last fall, winding roads have become a way of life. And the 2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport, $100 more expensive than last year's model at a base price of $47,450, proved itself day in and day out.

A stock RX350 is an isolation tank...very little feedback from the road or your surroundings.  That's by design.  The F-Sport turns the equation inside out...feedback and control are your new best friends. Whipped cream on wheels transforms into a textbook on tight, taut and tossable.

Rear view of 2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport.

Some might think Lexus misses the boat here by not throwing in more power than the stock RX, but I didn't miss it.  And leaving the 3.5-liter in place allows the F-Sport to match the 18 city/26 highway EPA rating of its less athletic sibling.

As usual, the press fleet folks worked the option sheet to load the RX350 F-sport beyond its already encyclopedic list (click here) of standard equipment.  Let's start at the lowest-priced items and work up:

$59 for a cargo net.

$500 for Intuitive Parking Assist.

$500 for a blind spot monitor.

$995 for an upgraded Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound audio system with DVD, HD Radio, iTunes tagging and 15-speakers.

$1,200 for a heads-up display.

$4,920 for rear seat entertainment, satellite navigation with voice command, a backup camera and the Lexus Enform infotainment app suite.

Total price, with $910 delivery, processing and handling fee:


Interior view of 2014 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport
2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport interior.
Yeah, that's a chunk.  But it drives great, gets good mileage for its size class, there's nothing in that option list that I'd say is a waste of money (I might pass on rear-seat entertainment, just because the kids are grown, but then you lose the backup camera, which is helpful given the tall tail of the RX), and...it's a Lexus.  Meaning it's built well with good materials and is unlikely to ever break.  If you're thinking, I need a crossover, but I want some fun", this is a good way to go.