FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
If you want to be the only guy at a busy intersection behind the wheel of one of Lexus’ RX models, forget it. Lexus has been cranking out RX variants since ’99, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a busy parking lot without one. Some drivers don’t mind blending into the crowd and err toward practicality; for them, a new Lexus RX is a good bet.

BOTTOM LINE:
Hop into the driver’s seat of a 2010 RX 350 and you’ll see why this is such a popular car. The driving position is comfortable and visibility is good all around. Everything in the car’s interior is wrapped, stitched, or padded, making the car one luxurious people mover.

Instead of a touch-screen LCD info display, new this year is a touch-feedback joystick below the gear shifter that lets you cruise through the info and navigation menus—a great alternative to touch-screen systems that get smudged with fingerprints.

On the back roads, we got a kick out of high beams that sense oncoming drivers and dim the headlights automatically. Once the approaching car has passed, the high beams turn themselves back on.

Behind the wheel, the engine and transmission deliver the goods smoothly and efficiently. The car provides a good blend of power and economy, giving the oomph you need to make a pass on the freeway along with acceptable gas mileage for a midsize SUV.

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY:
Its striking blend of style, practicality, space, and economy make the RX 350 a no-brainer as a family car, which explains its presence in many North Texas driveways. With plenty of options—including 4-wheel-drive and hybrid models—there’s enough variety to find the right fit for your needs. Just don’t get one the same color as your neighbor.