We traveled to Tampa onboard the Lexus RX 350h to see SZA live in concert
Written by Marco Carvajal
We traveled to the city of Tampa, Florida, driving the new Lexus RX 350h hybrid, to make a flash visit to the downtown and walk a little around this city in Northwest Florida, but the final goal of the 165 miles that I had to drive to get to Tampa was something very special, in addition to the pleasure of traveling through this beautiful city of Tampa and visiting other cities in Florida on the way.
The reason for my trip to Tampa was to enjoy the talented and famous singer SZA’s live in concert at the Amalie Arena, as part of her S.O.S. tour.
What a better way to travel and what an enjoyable experience to go to enjoy a live concert by a pop star like SZA, drive a luxury and very comfortable car as the Lexus RX 350h, and as a bonus attraction, travel and walk around the surroundings of the city of Tampa, which is the largest city on the West Coast of Florida. The Lexus RX 350 is available with a gasoline engine, or with a hybrid engine with the RX 350h model, which is the one I am driving.
The new Lexus 2023 RX 350 hybrid is the fourth generation of this model and offers a unique electrified powertrain. The new RX model is faster than previous generations and very comfortable for long trips, with a capacity for five passengers, and plenty of space inside and in the cargo area.
Downtown Tampa is very clean, safe, and organized, it is part of the business district and Riverwalk area. Tampa is known for its museums, theaters that present modern plays and musicals, classical opera, and many auditoriums for large concerts like the one I’m attending on this trip by singer SZA. In this area of Florida, you can enjoy many American and international restaurants and many fun bars around the water.
SZA and her SOS tour
SZA’s concert venue, Amalie Arena, is a multi-purpose arena, which has been used for ice hockey, basketball, American football, concerts, and other events, with a high capacity of approximately 21,500 people for concerts. On this tour “SOS”, SZA only performed in two cities in Florida, Tampa, and Miami.
In SZA’s concert, even the very last ticket of the 21,500 was sold, the concert was completely sold out. It is incredible the great popularity that SZA has, it was impressive to drive in this Lexus RX around the concert venue and see the number of people and cars that came to this event, it seemed like a sea of people, and everyone came to see the famous SZA sing live.
Recently, when my oldest daughter turned 16, I asked her what gift she would like for her birthday, and her answer was “I want to go to SZA’s concert”, until that moment I didn’t know who the singer SZA really is, although I knew some of their songs.
As I started finding out where I could see SZA in concert and trying to get tickets, I realized how famous SZA really is, and how her concerts sell out completely and very fast. One of the options was to travel to Miami and the other was Tampa, but in our case, we decided to go see SZA in Tampa. I was surprised by how difficult it is to get tickets and see how the few resale tickets that were left were disappearing quickly and at extraordinary prices, but luckily we managed to get the tickets and make my daughter’s dream come true, to see her favorite singer live.
Who is SZA?
Who is she? Solána Imani Rowe, known as SZA, is an American singer-songwriter. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri but grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. SZA began making music 13 years ago, around 2010, and released two albums in 2012 and 2013, but it was not until 2014 when she signed with the record label Top Dawg Entertainment and released her recording Z in 2014, their third EP and first commercial release. Starting in 2014, SZA’s career began to take off and had a lot of success. The same year she co-wrote “Feeling Myself” with the famous Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. Continuing her success, in 2016, SZA appeared on Rihanna’s song “Consideration,” further helping her popularity grow.
2017 was the year that marked the breakthrough for SZA when she released her debut studio album, Ctrl, which was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
This album became the second longest-running R&B album by a woman in the history of the US Billboard 200 chart, behind Rihanna’s Anti. At the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, SZA received four nominations for this album, including a nomination for Best New Artist. This album was later included in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2020).
SZA was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on the top ten single “All the Stars” for the Black Panther soundtrack. SZA received a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
SZA’s second album, SOS, was released in 2022 and was the one she performed during the tour that we had the opportunity to see live in Tampa recently. This album reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart, breaking the record for the biggest streaming week ever for an R&B album, and stayed at the top of the chart for ten non-consecutive weeks.
Some of the very successful songs from this album are “Kill Bill”, “Nobody Gets Me”, and “Snooze” which have managed to be on the Billboard 100 list, and be broadcasted around the world.
SZA has received many awards during her career, including an American Music Award, a Grammy Award, a Guild of Music Supervisors Award, two Billboard Women in Music Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Brit Award.
At SZA’s concert in Tampa, you can see how her fans adore her and follow her. SZA’s strongest audience is women, who identify a lot with the lyrics of her songs that talk a lot about love and about ex-boyfriends.
Her music, live and in the studio, has very beautiful melodies and very deep lyrics that reach the hearts of those who listen to her.
Driving the Lexus RX 350h, a hybrid electric vehicle
The RX model name is based on the words Radiant Crossover. The first Lexus RX 300 arrived in 1998 with a very different shape and format than other cars Lexus makes. The RX is half SUV and half four-door luxury, crossover utility vehicle, or unique CUV. The Lexus RX is available in several models including the RX 350, RX 450, and RX 500. This time I am testing the RX 350h which is one of the hybrid versions of the RX family.
According to Lexus, The RX was the first luxury crossover that existed in the past. The RX continues to become more popular among car buyers and Lexus continues to evolve all the features and construction of this crossover. Over the past 20 years, there have been five RX generations.
The new 2023 RX 350 hybrid is the fourth generation of this model and offers a unique electrified powertrain. The new RX model is faster than previous generations. The high-capacity, fuel-efficient hybrid system features a front unit that integrates a high-torque four-cylinder engine.
The Lexus RX 350 h has a hybrid engine that works in conjunction with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine. It has good power with 246 total system horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque.
The RX Hybrid uses a high-performance, low-resistance 216-cell nickel-metal hydride electric battery that delivers a high level of performance and fuel economy. The battery is located under the rear seat in the second row, which improves passenger comfort and storage capacity in the trunk.
The RX Hybrid can be equipped with E-Four, Lexus’ innovative all-wheel drive system, which places a motor on the rear axle for near-instantaneous power application in low-grip or low-acceleration scenarios.
The 2023 RX is built and rides on the GA-K platform, which is 198 pounds lighter than the previous platform. Its center of gravity is 0.6 inches lower than its predecessor thanks to the use of stronger metals (such as 1,180 MPa steel for the side rockers, 1,470 MPa steel for the roof, and 2GPa steel for the B-pillars) and adhesives. and innovative welds that make the new RX stronger and lighter.
The space distribution of the new RX is more efficient. Although the 2023 RX remains the same 192.5 inches long, its wheelbase increases 2.36 inches for a total of 112.2 inches, and its track widens 0.59 inches for a total of 65 inches in the front wheelbase. Adding 1.77 inches for a total of 66 inches in the rear. The rear section of the platform features an all-new multi-link suspension design, linked to a high-torque rigid rear frame that facilitates more consistent suspension input/travel during acceleration, deceleration and steering moments.
The GA-K platform also increases the front/rear pairing distance, resulting in more legroom for rear passengers. RX guests will also enjoy increased cargo space and a lower rear door lip to lower cargo height.
The RX 350 has wonderful internal shape and space, passengers enjoy high seating positions with wide sight lines and space for everyone, including a large cargo space.
Driving the RX 350h from Palm Coast to Tampa
Seeing SZA live in Tampa was unforgettable, but part of what made the trip more fun was riding onboard the Lexus RX 350h. The Lexus RX is a medium-sized SUV for five passengers that has a very interesting image and is very luxurious inside, with very good space in front for the driver and co-driver and plenty of space for the second row of seats. The trunk of the RX 350h is very spacious, which makes any trip more comfortable and with the freedom to bring suitcases, accessories, blankets for the trip, sweaters, and others.
Driving from Palm Coast to Tampa with my three daughters on a Friday afternoon took longer than I expected. It took us a little longer than expected having to go through Orlando, where there is a lot of traffic on Friday afternoons. That day I took the girls out of school a little earlier than normal, and we immediately began our journey leaving Palm Coast, Florida, and passing through Daytona where we took the I-4 highway to pass through Orlando, and Kissimmee, which was the place where we encountered more traffic and made our trip 2 hours longer than planned.
Whatever you want to call it SUV, CUV, or other name of its type of car, the reality is that the RX 350h is a unique, different, luxurious model, with an engine with enough power, very economical in fuel, and above all it is a very comfortable and luxurious car inside, where you can enjoy long trips like the one I’m doing in Florida.
Normally it can take 3 hours to drive from Palm Coast to Tampa, but on this day we took about 5 hours, but luckily we traveled with enough time taking into account that I could encounter some delays on the way.
Once we made it through Orlando’s heavy traffic, the final part of the drive from Orlando to Tampa was quick. The Lexus RX performs very well on the highway, it is very fast and responds well to driver commands, has excellent braking and steering control. The automatic gear changes are very smooth, you can hardly feel them and it is also a very luxurious and safe car, with an excellent sound system and dual air conditioning that makes the road more pleasant.
The journey of about 5 hours passed quickly and comfortably, enjoying the luxury seats of this SUV, and the good distribution of space. Drinks and snacks, backpacks, and bags fit perfectly around the RX, there is plenty of space and you feel like you are traveling in first class.
On the way to the SZA concert onboard the Lexus RX 350h I did not have to put gas during the 330 miles to get to Tampa or to return home, thanks to the great range and fuel economy of this hybrid car, with an incredible range of approximately 500 miles.
The Lexus RX’s audio equipment is high quality, and we were able to listen to SZA’s entire repertoire of songs to be even more excited to see her live, becoming more familiar with all of her music while we drove.
Traveling long distances can be a very different experience depending on the car you use to transport you. A luxury vehicle like the RX is an ideal car for a trip like this. This midsize SUV has an excellent navigation system, audio, and the visual system of its dashboard to make any trip more pleasant.
SZA’s concert in Tampa was completely sold out, there were no tickets on sale for several days before, and when we arrived in Tampa there was a sea of people, SZA fans walking throughout the city center around the AMALIE Arena, the venue where SZA would perform.
I was very surprised at how well the traffic around the concert was organized, the police did an excellent job of organizing smooth traffic without any dams. In addition, there were many parking options very close around the venue, some of the parking spaces cost $20 and were only one block from the venue, which in other large cities would be very difficult to find.
Even though there were about 21,500 people who had to travel to the center of Tapa to see SZA, it was easy to find parking and get around the concert in our Lexus.
Lexus RX 350h Prices and Trim Models
The Lexus RX is a luxury car with a very reasonable price considering everything it gives you, and because this RX is a hybrid, in addition to being very economical, it is very powerful and has a fairly powerful engine.
Something I really like about Lexus is that despite being a premium luxury car with a very interesting style, and with many advanced safety features, its price is generally lower than other luxury brands such as several of the German cars that we know.
The 2023 Lexus RX is available in several models and prices. The most economical model is the Lexus RX 350 FWD with a base price of $48,750 and from this model, there are many options for gasoline or hybrid models until reaching the top-of-the-line RX 500h F Sport Performance AWD with a price of $62,950.
The asking price of the RX is pretty low considering all the luxury, technology, and power this car gives you. Even the top-of-the-line R500h is priced at an affordable $62K when compared to similar European luxury cars that are much more expensive.
Driving a Lexus gives you very good status but your budget is only a little higher than what it would cost you to buy a less luxurious car.
The model I am testing, the 2023 Lexus RX 350h, has the following models and prices as purchase options. The price range and models and variations of the RX 350h are quite versatile, allowing you to find the ideal luxury car according to your budget.
- 2023 Lexus RX 350h AWD $50,150
- 2023 Lexus RX 350h PREMIUM AWD $52,150
- 2023 Lexus RX 350h PREMIUM+ AWD $54,750
- 2023 Lexus RX 350h LUXURY AWD $58,150
We traveled to Tampa onboard the Lexus RX 350h to watch SZA’s concert live. Attending a concert to enjoy good music is an unforgettable experience and driving the RX 350h makes this experience even more comfortable.