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2009 Lexus RX350 Review
City and suburban luxury.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Like other luxury crossovers, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 is designed primarily for city or highway driving, rather than off-road adventuring or heavy towing. Comfort and smoothness are the main priorities for the RX 350, although it still offers plenty of muscle to satisfy the more power-minded driver.
The Lexus RX 350 does not handle as well as some of its competitors, such as the Acura MDX, BMW X5, or Infiniti FX35. It also lacks a third-row seat, but since that last row tends to be very limited anyway, it shouldn’t be considered a major loss. The RX 350 does offer a wealth of great features and options, adding up to a very comfortable ride.
The only change to the Lexus RX 350 for 2009 is the introduction of the new Pebble Beach Edition. Otherwise, this solid crossover vehicle sticks with all the great features that have earned it a solid reputation as an upscale SUV to bring some sleek power to suburbia. While the RX 350 is not the sportiest or most modern crossover SUV on the road, it stands as a great example of what this breed of cars is all about: sports-utility strength and status, with refined city driving and enough interior luxury to please the whole family.
Engine: 3.5 liter V-6
Transmission: five-speed automatic
Models: Lexus RX 350, Lexus RX 350 Pebble Beach Limited Edition
2009 brings no changes or upgrades to the Lexus RX 350. The only news is the addition of the limited Pebble Beach Edition. The Pebble Beach Edition offers a wider choice of interior and exterior color schemes, as well as chrome wheels and walnut cabin accents.
The 2009 Lexus RX 350 is a traditional luxury SUV crossover, with four doors and a hatchback. It features a more streamlined profile than a full SUV, making it a comfortable fit among its neighbors in the city or suburbs. The RX 350 offers a number of great exterior features. Auto-dimming mirrors, a powered lift gate, alloy wheels, and all-terrain tires all come standard. Adaptive bi-xenon headlights are also available as an option.
The real highlight of the 2009 Lexus RX 350 is its luxurious interior. The impressive collection of standard features includes 10-way power front seats, wood interior trim, dual zone automatic climate control, and an eight-speaker sound system. The additional Premium Package, featured on most models, adds even more great accessories, including a telescoping steering wheel, power sunroof, leather seating and seat memory, and a roof rack. Take an additional step up to the Premium Plus Package, and adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights are added to the deal. On top of this is the Performance Package, which provides 18-inch wheels and adaptive air suspension, in addition to all the preceding features.
The limited Pebble Beach Edition, newly introduced for 2009, also offers leather seating, walnut cabin accents, chrome wheels and grille accents, and a golf-and-travel-themed gift package.
A wide range of extra features are also available, including a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, towing preparation, and front seat heaters. The impressive Mark Levinson audio system is available, but only as part of a more expensive package.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Lexus RX 350, like other luxury crossover SUVs, is built on a car platform. The RX 350’s 2002-2006 Toyota Camry base makes for a beautifully smooth driving experience, even if it doesn’t make much of an athlete. The optional air suspension and 18-inch wheels, available with the Performance Package trim, will add some sportier capacity for more performance-minded drivers. The RX 350 can also tow up to 3500 pounds when properly equipped.
The RX 350 carries a 3.5-liter V-6 engine; with 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, it doesn’t provide as much muscle as a regular SUV, although it provides ample power for its intended purpose as a casual vehicle for family transportation or city commuting. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available, and both options claim to go from zero to 60 mph in under 7.5 seconds.
The RX 350’s well-insulated cabin and V-6 engine offer smooth, silent, and speedy acceleration. This luxury SUV is fashioned for a soft ride more than tight, athletic handling. For drivers seeking more grounded control and sporty handling, we recommend the Performance Package upgrade with its air suspension and performance tires.
Standard safety features for the 2009 RX 350 includes front and rear side curtain air bags, front seat side air bags, and a driver-seat knee air bag. The base model also provides stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist.
The 2009 Lexus RX 350 earned a perfect five-star rating in government safety tests, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it their highest rating of ""good"" in frontal crash testing.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX 350 with AWD: 17/22 mpg city/highway
- Decadent interior
- Sedan-style driving
- Reliable reputation
- Easy-to-use technology
You Won't Like
- Below-average performance for a luxury crossover
- No third-row seat
- Expensive option packages
City and suburban luxury.
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