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2009 Lexus SC430

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2009 Lexus SC430 Review

A luxury convertible for a smooth drive.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 is basically unchanged from previous models; in this case, that’s not an entirely bad thing. The sleek, hardtop convertible remains as stylish and elegant as ever, with plenty of luxury to spare. While the Lexus SC 430 has not succeeded at being one of the top sellers in its class, it is still without a doubt one of the best looking convertibles with a smooth ride on the market.

The SC 430 has remained unchanged since its debut in 2002, maintaining both its strong and its weak qualities: high-quality construction and reliable control, but limited space and relatively boring to drive for a luxury convertible. What the Lexus SC 430 really needs is a full makeover; otherwise, it will continue to be upstaged by competitors such as the BMW 335i, Mercedes-Benz CLK550, and the Jaguar XK8.

Along with Lexus’s other 2009 offerings, the SC 430 is offered with the new, limited Pebble Beach Edition. The only other update to this luxury hardtop convertible this year is the introduction of turn signals built into the side mirrors.

The Range

Body type: two-door convertible
Engine: 4.3 liter V-8
Transmission: six-speed automatic with manual shift control
Models: Lexus SC 430

What's New

Overall, the 2009 Lexus SC 430 only offers more of the same. The only change this year is the inclusion of side-mirror turn signals. The 2009 SC 430 is also offered in the Pebble Beach Special Edition Package, which includes run-flat tires and specific trim options, is offered in a limited run of 360 units this year.

Exterior

This luxury convertible boasts a smooth external silhouette with a power-retractable hardtop that folds down into the trunk. Whichever way you choose to drive it, the 2009 SC 430 cuts a smooth profile on the road. Its stylish body compares favorably with other convertibles in its class. Adaptive HID headlights are standard, along with 18-inch alloy wheels. Optional exterior features include a rear spoiler and with the Pebble Beach package, run-flat tires.

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 may be far from the most imposing convertible on the road. However, with its soft profile and hard top, it makes a good option for daily commuters also looking for a little sun and fun on the weekends.

Interior

The Lexus SC 430 offers an impressive range of standard luxury features. Base accessories include a navigation system with voice activation, leather upholstery, powered and heated front seats with driver-side memory, Bluetooth hookup, dual zone climate control, genuine wood trim, and a 10-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with a built-in six-CD changer.

Unfortunately, despite the generous inclusion of standard features, the 2009 SC 430 offers few additional options. Available options include a rear spoiler and additional wheel choices. The limited Pebble Beach Edition also offers special badging, wheels, and a handful of other original details.

Although it provides a wide array of luxury features, one thing the Lexus SC 430 falls short on is interior space. Leg space in the rear seats is too limited to be comfortable for anyone bigger than a small child. Trunk space is limited, with only 9.4 cubic feet at most, even less with a spare tire. When the car’s hardtop is stowed away, trunk space is completely eliminated. Given the lack of passenger or cargo space, the SC 430 may be a good choice for one person, or a couple, looking to add a little sunshine to their drive around town; however, it’s not a good option for taking a bunch of friends to the beach or on an open-air, cross-country adventure.

Performance & Handling

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 holds a 4.3-liter V-8 engine, offering 288 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. Yet even though this car is capable of going zero to 60 mph in a little over five seconds, some reviewers called the SC 430 sluggish and boring. This convertible isn’t going to keep up with its sports-car cousins. However, it does offer an overall smooth ride, with nice suspension and enough comfort to keep casual cruisers happy. As far as comfort and handling go, the Lexus SC 430 is a great road-trip companion—as long as you aren’t planning to take any luggage.

Safety

All of Lexus’ cars boast a great reputation for safety, and the 2009 SC 430 doesn’t disappoint. A full range of basic safety features is provided, including four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front seat side airbags, and front seat knee airbags. There are no airbags in the back seat, due to its severely limited space. Other standard safety features include child seat anchors, a remote anti-theft alarm system, engine immobilizer, and self-leveling headlights.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus SC 430 base convertible: 16/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Smooth profile
  • Easy driving experience
  • Retractable hardtop
  • Interior luxury

You Won't Like

  • Lack of cargo space
  • Tight rear seats
  • Loose handling
  • Dated design

Sum Up

A luxury convertible for a smooth drive.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • BMW 335ii
  • Jaguar XK7
  • Mercedes Benz CLK550
  • Porsche Boxster
  • Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
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