I remember from my youth a friend had those radio-controlled squeeze lever race cars on the slotted track. We’d race them and ultimately one of us would have our RC slot car fly off the track. It was fun.
So when I get a car to drive that’s called an RC it brings back fond memories of that. And for sure my tester this week, the 2022 Lexus RC350 is fun and joyful like those old slot cars, but thankfully there was no driver failure or flying off the track with the RC350.
The 2022 model year is mostly a carryover for the Lexus RC, which has three variants: RC, RC350 and RC F. Each iteration has its own specific engine and performance. My tester was the RC350 which comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and 311 horsepower. That’s a sweet spot of performance for this small, squatty car. The lighter weight and low profile helps to sling it across the road like those beloved slot cars. So the RC is aptly named as a result.
Speaking of slinging across the road, the standard rear-wheel drive would be more conducive to that kind of drifting appeal, but my tester the all-wheel drive version. I usually like AWD, but in this car I think the RWD would be the way to go. It would add the sporty appeal as the AWD tames the performance a little too much. Also, an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, but there’s an optional six-speed automatic. And once again my tester came with the lesser of the two options.
If it were a six-speed manual, that might resonate with the enthusiasts, but as an automatic it lacked personality and withheld shifts at key times.
On looks, the RC fits the bill as a sports car. The low-slung profile showcases its diminutive dimensions. The bold Lexus grille that some find attractive and some find too garish proudly anchors the RC. I’m in the camp of loving the grille. For years Lexus was called too conservative then when they bold things up with such a grille they’re still criticized. As such, the grille is an attractive element to this car. The back end slopes off aggressively on profile but has a dominating rear spoiler and dual exhausts that exacerbate the back end.
All in all, it’s completed, attractive appearance for the RC from front to back. There is no bad side to this car and even without any major changes to the exterior this model year still holds up.
The Lexus RC is technically considered a four-seat coupe. With two doors and four seats it qualifies. But there’s not a single adult that would fit comfortably in the back seat which lacks both legroom and headroom. Even some children might struggle. It’s time to get rid of four-seat configurations and let this just be a two-seater, because the interior is quality and comfortable for the front passengers. And the touch points are up to par and what you’d expect from a luxury brand.
But as a four-seater it also eats the trunk space, which is another detriment for this coupe. With only 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space it can only fit a set of golf clubs (maybe). Without the back seat it actually could be a lot bigger and more useful, but as such, the back half of the RC’s interior is rendered pointless.
Additionally, Lexus continues to put forth a confounding infotainment system driven by the oh-so-sensitive touchpad. While the screen and setup is attractive and full of technology the non-intuitive nature of the touchpad detracts from the overall system. Note: Lexus is phasing out this touchpad in future versions and that will make their technology so much better for the consumer.
Base price for my tester which was the F-Sport trim was $51,330. However this beautiful red coupe also had other add ons such as triple beam LED headlamps, advanced navigation and sound system along with a moonroof and the aforementioned rear spoiler. Final price for my tester was $59,845.
The 311-horsepower, AWD sports coupe has an EPA rating of 19 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of heavy-footed driving, I averaged nearly 22 mpg.
I don’t know what RC is short for in Lexus’ lexicon (that’s hard to say). But it sure brought back some fond memories of my childhood and was as much fun to drive as those old RC slot cars.