Things I hate about my 2019 RX350

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Apr 22, 2018
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MA
I drive a 2020 Tundra and I love it. Gas mileage sucks and the tech is old but the thing has 20K miles on it and it still seems rock solid. My wife drives a 2019 RX350 that I almost never drive. Now to be clear, my wife drives like an old grandma. Easy on the throttle, easy on the brakes, and mostly in-town driving which is free-flowing 35-45mph with very little stop and go. We almost always take my truck on trips but we went to NYC this weekend and figured the smaller RX350 would be easier. Her RX350 has 23K miles on it and it is meticulously maintained.

We get on the highway and I get up to 75mph and there is a shimmy in the steering wheel. Traffic is really moving and I pull into the passing lane and depress the throttle and transmission slams down from 8th to 6th gear with a big thunk. Now I'm doing 80mph and the steering wheel shimmy is getting worse. I have to apply the brakes and there is a very significant brake pedal pulsation that I didn't feel doing 45mph. The more I depress the brake pedal the worse the pulsing gets. I'm annoyed at this point. During the trip, the transmission slams into downshifts several times. Today I check the tires which are rotated every 5k and properly inflated and with 23K miles they are basically toast and will need to be replaced before winter. There is also a dashboard creak and several areas where you can hear plastic on plastic rubbing over bumps. The NY roads really beat the crap out of us and the suspension is harsh.

My impressions:

1. That 3.5L V-6 is one of the smoothest engines I've ever driven with a pretty decent growl when on the throttle.

2. The 8-speed transmission most of the time gives completely imperceptible upshifts but downshifts come with clunk/bang ~25% of the time. The transmission is also in a HUGE hurry to upshift as fast as possible and it affected driveability. I hate that stupid transmission.

3. I have nearly 4 bald tires with 23K and I'm assuming I have a warped rotor and a wheel out of balance. Really? You can not drive a car more gently than my wife drives it.

4. The suspension/20" wheels suck. Handling sucks with HUGE amounts of understeer and body roll while also exhibiting lots of harshness over bumps. Usually, if the suspension is too soft causing body roll it will at least absorb bumps but Toyota has managed to simultaneously dial-in overly soft/poor handling with a harsh ride.

5. The interior quality is not holding up and of course, the Infotainment is a nightmare.

6. My wife is not a car person and so she doesn't notice anything...ever...so I'm glad SHE drives it and not me. I REALLY HATE DRIVING THAT VEHICLE!

7. What DOES this vehicle do well?

8. Hopefully the major mechanical components will go the distance but there are definitely areas where it seems like Toyota dropped the ball.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
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241
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Northern Michigan
I drive a 2020 Tundra and I love it. Gas mileage sucks and the tech is old but the thing has 20K miles on it and it still seems rock solid. My wife drives a 2019 RX350 that I almost never drive. Now to be clear, my wife drives like an old grandma. Easy on the throttle, easy on the brakes, and mostly in-town driving which is free-flowing 35-45mph with very little stop and go. We almost always take my truck on trips but we went to NYC this weekend and figured the smaller RX350 would be easier. Her RX350 has 23K miles on it and it is meticulously maintained.

We get on the highway and I get up to 75mph and there is a shimmy in the steering wheel. Traffic is really moving and I pull into the passing lane and depress the throttle and transmission slams down from 8th to 6th gear with a big thunk. Now I'm doing 80mph and the steering wheel shimmy is getting worse. I have to apply the brakes and there is a very significant brake pedal pulsation that I didn't feel doing 45mph. The more I depress the brake pedal the worse the pulsing gets. I'm annoyed at this point. During the trip, the transmission slams into downshifts several times. Today I check the tires which are rotated every 5k and properly inflated and with 23K miles they are basically toast and will need to be replaced before winter. There is also a dashboard creak and several areas where you an hear plastic on plastic rubbing over bumps.

My impressions:

1. That 3.5L V-6 is one of the smoothest engines I've ever driven with a pretty decent growl when on the throttle.

2. The 8-speed transmission most of the time gives completely imperceptible upshifts but downshifts come with clunk/bang ~25% of the time. The transmission is also in a HUGE hurry to upshift as fast as possible and it affected driveability. I hate that stupid transmission.

3. I have nearly 4 bald tires with 23K and I'm assuming I have a warped rotor and a wheel out of balance. Really? You can not drive a car more gently than my wife drives it.

4. My wife is not a car person and so she doesn't notice anything...ever...so I'm glad SHE drives it and not me. I REALLY HATE DRIVING THAT VEHICLE!

5. Hopefully the major mechanical components will go the distance but there are definitely areas where it seems like Toyota dropped the ball.
I test drove the RX earlier this year agree with you on the engine and tranny, not uncommon for OEM tires to be sub par…on any vehicle.
 

JRed

Site Donor 2021
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They're a nice ride but I don't think there has been a vehicle built in the last 20 years that screams "old money" louder than the RX350. Maybe the LL Bean edition Subarus.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Messages
1,028
Location
Colorado
2004 RX330 purchased new with 270,000 miles, to compare generations and see some similarities to your post:
-Constant brake rotor issues since new
-Many sets of tires and none lasted longer than about ~35k - OEM were at wear bar at 28k
--The Michelin Defender LTX M/S that is on the vehicle now are wearing really well - if they come in your size, check them out
-The vehicle has been incredibly reliable, but feels numb when driving
 
Joined
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Messages
12,269
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Phoenix
I have 20"s on my Jeep and it rides great, they steam roll over all the weird steep gutters Phoenix has in and out of driveways. I don't think that's your issue with the ride.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2018
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Great Lakes
You drove the car very differently than what it has learned from the way your wife drives. Especially the transmission. That’s why it always wanted to upshift early and had hard downshifts.
This. My wife and I have wildly different driving behaviors, in her words “IT IS A MINIVAN NOT A RACECAR!” and when I drive the transmission isn’t happy about it for the first ~10-15 miles. It seems to learn quickly at least.

As for the under steer…. Most cars are designed to understeer because it’s the “safe” choice vs oversteer. I find it annoying and borderline dangerous…. But I understand why they do it.
 
Joined
Jun 14, 2011
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Texas
I wouldn't be so quick to assume that you have warped rotors when the tires are so badly out of balance. Replace the tires and make sure they are balanced properly first.
Bump-up the tire pressure from the 35 lbs that the factory recommends. This chassis is known to be hard on tires at the recommended tire pressure. I would go to 40 in the front and 38 in the rear, and continue to rotate them. This should help with the premature tire wear. It made a huge difference in mine.
 

Ws6

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Mar 7, 2008
Messages
4,224
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South Central US
While I love Japanese vehicles, Japanese tires are trash. I have taken to just giving the dealer the tires that come on the vehicle and putting Michelin or Continental on before even taking delivery. Often you can get credit for the "new" tires this way. If i don't, ill be replacing them at under 20k miles guaranteed, and they will be unsafe in the rain for at least half of that at speeds of over 50-55.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
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2,087
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If you're planning to drive it more, see if you can score a wheel 'downgrade' to 18" and increase your tire sidewall. Get some tires that have a better wear rating, make sure they're balanced correctly (get on the nearest expressway when you leave the tire shop), and get an alignment as soon as you're sure they're balanced. That RX is softly sprung enough, and has enough suspension travel that it should be isolating you from the road a little better. 20" wheels hamper its ability to do that.

Sounds like you need your rotors turned, or replaced, depending on the level of warping you have. Go for quality. You get what you pay for in the braking department. It sounds like someone over-torqued your wheel nuts at some point, as it doesn't sound likely that your wife overheated your brakes.

Not many people do this anymore, but I dismount my wheels and haul them to Discount Tire to have new tires mounted. I'm more comfortable tightening my own lug nuts, especially after a local body shop tightened them down on my Focus using Godzilla's air wrench and I had to replace the hub. This gives me a chance to look over everything while the wheels are off. If you are able to do this, I recommend you do it.

If you plan to avoid the car like the plague after this trip, then don't bother switching up wheel sizes, but do shop around for tires that wear better. Lexus doesn't care that your OEM tires are shot by 20,000 miles. They care about which manufacturer sells them huge numbers of tires at the best price.
 
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open range
Rotors warp because of tire rotations. The tq limiters used on pneumatic guns are trash. Ive had this hallen to a Jeep, 370z, and 2 cx5s. Its not brand specific, it's tech and tool specific.

This and perhaps rust build-up along with being too easy on the brakes.
.
 
Joined
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Rotors warp because of tire rotations. The tq limiters used on pneumatic guns are trash. Ive had this hallen to a Jeep, 370z, and 2 cx5s. Its not brand specific, it's tech and tool specific.
Meh, I have seen no difference. Just had a 2010 RX350 come in. I did the front brakes exactly 10K ago with aftermarket pads and rotors, checked runout during install, etc. Awful pulsation. No one has touched it but me. Had a similar issue with my wife's Accord after 7K. Some combos of brake systems, pad selection and driving conditions result in this issue.
 
Joined
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By far, the single most common cause of warped brake rotors (if they are actually warped) is improper installation of the wheel. You can avoid this kind of rotor warping by tightening the lug nuts in the proper sequence using a torque wrench – every single time.
However, the rotor irregularity that most commonly causes pedal pulsation is the result of uneven transfer of friction material from the pad to the rotor. During normal use, friction material abrades from the brake pad and adheres to the rotor, forming an extremely thin layer of friction material on the rotor. When the pads and rotor are new, the bedding-in process establishes the initial layer. With continued use, the friction material is abraded away from the rotor and replaced with new material from the pad. If the brakes are not properly bedded-in or if the pads are severely overheated at any time, the transfer of friction material from pad to rotor becomes uneven. This will cause a brake pulsation and is THE most common cause of it.
 
Joined
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Messages
25,217
Location
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By far, the single most common cause of warped brake rotors (if they are actually warped) is improper installation of the wheel. You can avoid this kind of rotor warping by tightening the lug nuts in the proper sequence using a torque wrench – every single time.
Considering the condition of lug studs and the inherent inaccuracies of torqueing fasteners, I highly doubt that this is a major contributor.

With that said, I still torque all lug nuts but I really don't think they are as sensitive as widely advertised.....unless there is a drastic difference from lug to lug.

or if the pads are severely overheated at any time, the transfer of friction material from pad to rotor becomes uneven. This will cause a brake pulsation and is THE most common cause of it.
I agree. Unfortunately, pads are regularly overheated if you live in an area with hilly terrain and congested traffic.
 

b_b

Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
61
I drive a 2020 Tundra and I love it. Gas mileage sucks and the tech is old but the thing has 20K miles on it and it still seems rock solid. My wife drives a 2019 RX350 that I almost never drive. Now to be clear, my wife drives like an old grandma. Easy on the throttle, easy on the brakes, and mostly in-town driving which is free-flowing 35-45mph with very little stop and go. We almost always take my truck on trips but we went to NYC this weekend and figured the smaller RX350 would be easier. Her RX350 has 23K miles on it and it is meticulously maintained.

We get on the highway and I get up to 75mph and there is a shimmy in the steering wheel. Traffic is really moving and I pull into the passing lane and depress the throttle and transmission slams down from 8th to 6th gear with a big thunk. Now I'm doing 80mph and the steering wheel shimmy is getting worse. I have to apply the brakes and there is a very significant brake pedal pulsation that I didn't feel doing 45mph. The more I depress the brake pedal the worse the pulsing gets. I'm annoyed at this point. During the trip, the transmission slams into downshifts several times. Today I check the tires which are rotated every 5k and properly inflated and with 23K miles they are basically toast and will need to be replaced before winter. There is also a dashboard creak and several areas where you can hear plastic on plastic rubbing over bumps. The NY roads really beat the crap out of us and the suspension is harsh.

My impressions:

1. That 3.5L V-6 is one of the smoothest engines I've ever driven with a pretty decent growl when on the throttle.

2. The 8-speed transmission most of the time gives completely imperceptible upshifts but downshifts come with clunk/bang ~25% of the time. The transmission is also in a HUGE hurry to upshift as fast as possible and it affected driveability. I hate that stupid transmission.

3. I have nearly 4 bald tires with 23K and I'm assuming I have a warped rotor and a wheel out of balance. Really? You can not drive a car more gently than my wife drives it.

4. The suspension/20" wheels suck. Handling sucks with HUGE amounts of understeer and body roll while also exhibiting lots of harshness over bumps. Usually, if the suspension is too soft causing body roll it will at least absorb bumps but Toyota has managed to simultaneously dial-in overly soft/poor handling with a harsh ride.

5. The interior quality is not holding up and of course, the Infotainment is a nightmare.

6. My wife is not a car person and so she doesn't notice anything...ever...so I'm glad SHE drives it and not me. I REALLY HATE DRIVING THAT VEHICLE!

7. What DOES this vehicle do well?

8. Hopefully the major mechanical components will go the distance but there are definitely areas where it seems like Toyota dropped the ball.
just bought the wife a 21 rx350. sorry to hear about your troubles. I have driven a lot of vehicles from many makers and i can honestly say that the rx is nicest vehicle i've ever driven. its quiet, comfortable, the drivetrain is flawless. it has this vault feeling when going down the interstate at 80mph + and that's hard to do. in fact my only real complaint is the gas mileage. of course the infotainment has been fixed since yours came out so cant really speak to your experience.
 

PWMDMD

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Apr 22, 2018
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just bought the wife a 21 rx350. sorry to hear about your troubles. I have driven a lot of vehicles from many makers and i can honestly say that the rx is nicest vehicle i've ever driven. its quiet, comfortable, the drivetrain is flawless. it has this vault feeling when going down the interstate at 80mph + and that's hard to do. in fact my only real complaint is the gas mileage. of course the infotainment has been fixed since yours came out so cant really speak to your experience.
Yeah...this one felt that way too when new... ;)
 
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