Susan Frissell rx1

Our 2015 Lexus RX appeared rather plain in its basic beige-tan paint color. Not the most interesting option offered from Lexus. And one has to admit, although there is little to say about the RX that is negative, this is a vehicle that despite its lack of exciting styling, continues to outsell most CUV’s on the market. And when driving it on daily basis, it is easy to understand why. This is a smooth riding, quiet, easily handled vehicle. Every bit of 4,000 pounds, it doesn’t feel heavy or cumbersome. A favorite with women-suburban mom’s and real estate agents-this small ute also comes equipped with most appreciated amenities.rx2

Our test Lexus RX comes equipped with many safety features, including all-wheel-drive (AWD).

Having reviewed this vehicle a couple of times in 2014, it’s hard to come up with something too different or radical about our test drive. So we have chosen to focus on those features which make it a preferred winter-driving vehicle. Such as AWD and its advantages, as well as disadvantages. Two of the biggest advantages of an AWD car are its turning and accelerating traction. Each wheel is delegated a responsibility to both push and pull the car through a turn. A car with AWD, however, still has the same braking system as other vehicles so the driver doesn’t have to push the car hard.

Because with AWD all the wheels are under power at the same time and the car maintains more control. Each wheel handles one-fourth of the car’s weight and momentum. During turns, the rear wheels impel the car forward, while the front wheels pull the car in the proper direction. This movement limits tire slip and any drag.
When driving in snow in a car with AWD, correcting a skid by accelerating is almost impossible. This is because all four tires are moving forward. There is no negative force on the rear wheels to pull the car straight. If you accelerate during a skid, the car will hold in its slide because the front wheels cannot control the rear wheels’ forward motion.
There are however, some disadvantages to all-wheel-drive. rx3

AWD can be heavy, and were more so in the past, which impacted fuel economy. As new engine and transmission technology improves, this is less of a problem. While AWD used to be found in trucks and utility vehicles, it is proving to be a much-desired safety benefit in all vehicles.

Important to luxury-car buyers, the AWD option adds a sense of security when navigating snow-covered roads. Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have all equipped their sedans with all-wheel-drive. Hyundai also offers AWD in its Genesis sedan. With few negative qualities and improved grip and safety even on dry roads, AWD is becoming more desirable.
Perhaps seen as another disadvantage to some buyers, AWD is more expensive than two-wheel drive. This also dictates more expensive repairs.

MSRP: $42,195; total vehicle price $51,000; destination $910
Engine: 3.5 liter 270 hp., 248 lb.ft. torque, 24-valve V6, VVT-1
Transmission: 6-sp. Automatic with ‘Snow Mode’
Wheelbase: 107.9 in.
Height: 66.7 in.
Width: 74.2 in.
Length: 187.8 in.
Weight: 4,178 lbs.
Tires: 235/55VR19 all-season
Wheels: 19×7.5 inch triple-split 5-spoke alloy with light gray finish
EPA fuel economy: 18/25 mpg.
Fuel tank capacity: 19.2 gal.