I have been driving Toyota and Lexus SUVs for the past month or so. Each time I get into a new one I learn that Toyota has discovered a new meaning for S in SUV.

Discover Safe in SUV

I discovered the Sport and the Smart. This week I discovered the Safe in SUV.

It may be my imagination but I don't think I ever felt safer than I did this week when driving the 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-DR SUV.

It is hard to argue with safe, too ... when you are always carrying around your most valuable cargo.

  1. Wife unit
  2. Princess

Who doesn't want their family to be safe and comfortable? The 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-DR SUV delivers on both accounts, but especially on the first.

I have grown to depend on those little yellow cars in the side mirrors that warn me of cars in my blind spots when switching lanes.

When I lived in Japan and drove Japanese cars that were manufactured, sold and delivered in Japan, we were required to back in when we parked.

Taking Safety Seriously

Reason? Nearly 90% of all accidents are in parking lots when cars are backing out. Back in and you come out nose first. Toyota and Lexus take safety seriously.

Backing the 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-DR SUV in is a breeze. The side mirrors tilt down automatically! I admit to not quite getting used to the video in the screen on the dashboard, but there is no mistaking the unbroken signal that I am close enough.

How cool is that?

What I wasn't expecting was the same notification when the car in front got too close.

The cruise control will back off automatically when the car in my lane is getting too close. That happens a lot to me. I have a secret power. I can slow down ALL the cars in FRONT of me of any lane that I choose to drive in.

I don't know how I do it either. The 2016 Lexus RX 350 5-DR SUV cruise control warns me. Thanks for that!

Most Impressive Safety Feature

The safety feature that impressed me the most, and I was NOT expecting this, is the steering wheel will vibrate when you switch lanes without signaling or veer slightly into another lane or the shoulder.

This feature should be mandatory on ALL cars in California. And, if I had my way it would vibrate more violently until all CA drivers learned how to reuse their turn signals.

Hey! Everybody, well almost everybody, uses seal belts now. Maybe they can be taught to use a turn signal again, too. Wishful thinking.

If you go too strong into a turn the steering wheel will also give a slight resistance. Did I say the S in this SUV meant safe?

Love those triple beam LED headlamps!

Critical Test ... um, Maybe Not

A critical test for me switching cars each week is the time to Bluetooth. Less than 30 seconds. Less than 20 seconds. Lexus makes getting in and getting a going a breeze. Comfortable, too. And did I say safe?

My only obligatory suggestion is the driver's seat is too small. I felt like I was sitting on my wallet the whole time.

The adjustable seat back, lumbar support and automatically adjusting steering column made the rest a perfect fit. And that, too, adds up to safe!

Specifications: In the images.

Price as driven: $56,995

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