Skip to Content

How Well Does A Lexus RX350 Drive In Snow? (Answered)

When you are in the market looking for something good on a budget that might perform well on snow, then Lexus RX 350 is one of those that would urge you to do it. But you have to know for sure if it’s good in snowy terrain or not. We have taken into account a lot of different factors that would decide whether or not it’s good in snow. Here’s a quick overview;

Lexus RX 350 performs well in the snow if equipped with snow tires. The winter drivability is top-notch, thanks to all those sensors working to keep the vehicle stable. The owners of the Lexus RX 350 are generally optimistic about its performance in snowy conditions. The AWD variants perform a lot better than the FWD variants.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg, we have all the aspects discussed in detail, and below we’ll start with a selection of comments from owners about the performance of Lexus RX 350 in snowy conditions. After that, we’ll discuss the specifications of this SUV, such as tires, drive systems, and electronic support systems.

At last, we’ll discuss the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. This will go deep, so take a deep breath and get ready for some detailed analysis.

Also read: Lexus RX350 Towing Capacity: Can It Tow A Trailer, Boat, Or Jet Ski?

Experience Of Lexus RX 350 Owners

The owners of Lexus RX 350 have a better firsthand experience than anyone else. Therefore, it is essential to know what they have to say about it. We went through many blogs and forums to know what people have to say about its performance on slippery surfaces.

Owners of Lexus RX 350 are mostly convinced that this vehicle is a good performer in snow and slippery roads. Its essential capability, upscale features, and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain make it an excellent value for the money. But what’s even better is that its all-wheel-drive train makes it a great cruiser in the snow.

“I know this may be bad luck but I’ve never been stuck in my ’05 RX or so far with my ’16.

The ’05 was unstoppable in Chicago winters. I recall during one snowstorm I found out that because I was getting through the snow while others were getting stuck I ended up helping push out quite a few cars.

I also hit a patch of snow between the lanes on the expressway and the RX started to spin but kept correcting itself over several seconds. I was sure I was going to spin but the traction control worked like magic.

I’m sure it would be even better with snow tires. The ’05 had Bridgestone Alenzas. Great tire.


“F sport with 235 65 18 winter wheels and tires. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV. Awesome in the snow, slush, giant snowbanks from the plow.

Rare that a Pickup can get going faster in the snow with AWD or 4 wheel drive, with or without locking hubs/differential. Buddies and I confirmed this, many times…not even close! Run them in normal mode. Hit the gas and go.

I have disabled the traction control to get out from being buried by a snowplow and that works very well.


“Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV. I had them on my RX. These are awesome tires! not the best for dry/wet, but the RX is a family hauler and I value winter traction the best.

Surprisingly the Michelin tires on the 20 inch seem to be pretty decent and get good traction. Capabilities seem to be on par with the 3rd gen RX. Good for city/semi-rural winter driving in ski resort areas. Overall Satisfied.

(an optional off-road package would be nice similar to ML to give locking differentials and whatnot)


Also read: 10 Common Problems Of A Lexus RX350

Does Lexus RX 350 Have Snow Tires?

From the factory, you get P235/65R18 all-season tires, which can do pretty good in all types of weather for sure, but they can’t give the best traction when you are driving in snow. And no matter what systems you have integrated to prevent your wheels from sliding, you will face winter problems without snow tires.

If you live in a region that sees a lot of snow, then make sure to put on excellent snow tires so the wheels will keep a better grip on the road, and that will help you save a lot of time.

Why should you go with the snow tires? Well, snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice, and everything in between that winter has to offer.

The Tread Rubber

Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed. They remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better even at temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Unique to snow tires are deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.

Biting Edges

Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits that increase the tread surface area, thus improving grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions.

Have Snow Tires Equipped As Soon As Possible

Tire brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and others offer a wide variety of tires that will suit winters and handle snow fallen roads with ease.

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

What Drive System Does A Lexus RX 350 Have?

All Wheel Drive

If you are looking for maximum traction, you can go with the all-wheel-drive variant, which performs way better than FWD.  

In AWD, the power is transferred to all four tires based on the weight distribution of each wheel. This results in more excellent stability and substantially improves car handling. Note that AWD is not the same as the 4-wheel drive (4WD), in which the engine transfers equal power to all four wheels.

Front-Wheel Drive

As the name suggests, the front-wheel-drive will transfer power to the front wheels. This system is not as great as the AWD regarding its snow drivability, but it does offer excellent traction.

IF you are looking to save some money and opt for the FWD instead of an AWD, then it’s not a concern. You can easily get around with the FWD as you would in AWD. The integrated systems into the modern-day SUVs are incredibly subtle and would do most of the work, keeping itself firmly to the ground.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Lexus RX350 Takes (Explained)

What Electronics System Helps The Lexus RX 350 In The Snow?

Anti Lock Braking System

The ABS is nothing new. It has been around for decades now. It is designed to prevent the wheel from locking under heavy braking, thereby keeping the tires gripping the road under braking. All traction is lost if the wheels are locked because the tires are jammed in a particular position and disallow the driver to maneuver the vehicle safely.

With the ABS, the braking pressure is applied and revoked intermittently to keep the wheel in rotation. This allows for re-building the lost traction at the tires, and the driver can steer the vehicle away from a likely collision.

Brake Assist

The advanced Brake Assist feature detects an imminent collision and increases the brake response of the vehicle even if the driver has requested a low brake response. The advanced brake assist function comes in handy to avoid a collision that could happen when insufficient braking is done due to an error of judgment or any other reason.

Vehicle Stability Control

This system helps to keep the vehicle stable while suddenly turning into a corner with relatively high speeds.

Enhanced VSC for slippery surfaces

Another system integrated into the Lexus RX 350 is the Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, which provides exceptional traction when traveling on slippery surfaces.

TRAC control

TRAC control is the name of the traction control system used by the Lexus. This system is responsible for increasing traction by monitoring and maintaining tire speeds. If the system detects excessive wheelspin due to loss of traction, the power to that wheel will cut off, resulting in more traction overall.  

Active Cornering Assist

To prevent understeer and oversteer, the Lexus RX 350 has received the active cornering assist. This system applies brakes to the inner wheels during the turn so the outside wheels spin at a higher speed than the inside wheels. This phenomenon makes the turning angle shorter, and thus the vehicle gets more traction and turning becomes more accessible than ever.

Hill-Start Assist Control

The older models have outdated tech, which won’t perform well. However, the latest models have unique bells and whistles that make the Lexus RX 350 drive exceptionally well, even on the snow. This is one of the best features that help the driver maintain traction even when going up a slippery slope, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible to climb.

This hill-start assist would automatically apply brakes for approximately 2 seconds and release the brakes after 5 seconds or when you give it gas.

VDIM Vehicle Dynamics Integrated System (If Equipped)

This is the manager of all the traction control systems. This system keeps everything organized so no system would clash with another.

Adaptive Variable Suspension System

This system operates on each wheel separately. The suspension hardens and softens per the road surfaces. If one wheel needs to have a softer suspension and the other one needs harder, the system will make that happen.

Dynamic Torque Control In AWD Models

Switches from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive automatically. It mostly happens when you are cornering, going uphill, or accelerating fast. Other instances include slippery conditions, i.e., when driving in the rain, snow, mud, etc.

Weight Distribution

A more critical spec is the weight distribution. It impacts several key performance parameters such as response to acceleration/deceleration, cornering stability. Ideally, while braking, the weight distribution should be equal on all four tires.

Usually, the weight distribution differs in each trim level, and on top of that can vary even among the same trim levels due to different packages and add ons.

Lexus RX 350 ModelWeight Distribution F/R
Lexus RX 350 FWD55/45 .est
Lexus RX 350 AWD54/46 .est

Ground Clearance

When deciding on buying a vehicle to drive in snow, ground clearance is an important aspect. Ground clearance is the distance between the chassis and the ground and is one of the essential dimensions of any vehicle. Lower ground clearance means more likelihood of the underbelly of the car scratching against the ground.

The low ground clearance can be a significant issue if you live in an area with lots of snowfall. The higher the ground clearance, the better. We know it, and there is no way to refute this. Higher ground clearance adds to the vehicle’s winter-aptness.

A vehicle can easily knife through thick layers of snow with higher ground clearance, as that is one central point of concern for any winter driver. The sweet spot of ground clearance comes at 8 inches and above.

Lexus RX 350 has 8.4 inches of ground clearance, which is excellent news. You wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck in the snow anymore.


The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the weight distribution of the automobile and are key specs that affect the balance and steering. Having a more extended wheelbase means that the car would be more stable at higher speeds.

On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually turn faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in cars with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments. Lexus RX 350 has a wheelbase of 106.5 inches which works well in snow.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Lexus RX 350?

This is where we recommend our readers to go for the snow chains to maximize traction. You can get it from The way it performs in snow, you don’t need extra stuff for traction. Just have a good set of snow tires and snow chains. After that, you will be good to go without a hitch on snow-filled roads. If you are uncertain which chain would fit your wheels, you can look that up here on the peerless chain.