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HOW THE ORIGINAL LUXURY SUV FARED WITH ONE CALGARY FAMILY

Author: Jamie Zachary

Snow, sleet and sunshine – just another June day in Calgary, right?

That was the reality earlier this month when Lexus of Royal Oak Delivery & Technology Specialist, Andy, and I looked outside of the Calgary dealership’s windows – ironically, just after he went over the traction control features on the 2019 Lexus RX 350.

The good news is the “original luxury SUV” was built for snow and sun … and then some. For me, that included a 388-kilometer round trip with family in tow from home to Lake Louise – our destination for the day.

For any parent with two pre-teen girls, you’ll understand the scenarios that could play out over those 388 kilometres. It means 388 ways a weekend road trip could go wrong. Or 388 verses of bottles on the wall. Or 388 “are we there yets?” Or, in today’s case, 388 weather changes!

Thankfully, the designers behind the Lexus RX 350 must have a young family at home, too, because they took the stress out of a Sunday trip to the Rockies with a sport utility that has a mix of power, tech, and comfort that made everyone happy.

Despite some heavy traffic and strong winds leaving Calgary along the Trans Canada Highway, the RX 350 kept it calm inside with one of the quietest cabin rides on the market today, and leather seating that made me feel I was in a first-class lounge.

The RX 350 wasn’t a slouch in the performance department, either. The Lexus sport ute also offered highway passing power to spare, courtesy of a hefty 3.5-litre V-6 that served up torque like it was a side dish. Even in Eco Mode, I felt like a boss in the passing lane and on hills.

And safe thanks to the gadgetry of Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Alert and Assist, dynamic cruise control and pre-collision warning. The beauty of these systems, as Andy pointed out, is I didn’t need a PhD to understand them. They were all working in concert behind the scenes to create a safe and elegant ride.

What else I liked … It’s the little things in the RX 350 that add up to a big deal. The ventilated seats are a welcome treat on what turned out to be a warm Sunday drive, while the steering wheel felt like I was wrapping my hands around satin fringe. Extra points also go to the hand-stitched leather dash, panoramic sun roof and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

What mom liked … While her day-to-day ride is an urban compact, the Lexus sport ute’s size didn’t intimidate. In fact, the RX 350’s adjustable … well … everything, made it a Goldilocks-like drive (i.e. just right) as she took the wheel through the busy streets of Banff following a late lunch. Highlights include the panoramic view monitor while backing out, the Head’s Up Display (a full-colour projection of vehicle speed and other information onto the windshield) and the adjustable centre-console cup holders (brilliant!).

What the kids liked … The second row was so spacious that it felt like an adjoining hotel room thanks to reclining seats, generous leg room, multimedia outlets and, yes, heated seats if you happen to need them … in June.

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Want to experience the Lexus RX 350 for yourself? Take a test drive today by visiting Lexus of Royal Oak in the Northwest Auto Mall just off Stoney Trail on 112th Avenue N.W. Or check out available dealership inventory online.