For 2006, the Lexus RX 330 is unchanged. It’s Lexus’ smallest SUV, based on the Toyota Camry platform, and is more of a tall sedan than a small truck. It also forms the basis of the all-new RX 400h hybrid, covered here in a separate entry.

The RX 330 uses a 3.3-litre V6 engine mated to a five-speed Super Electronically Controlled (Super ECT) transmission. Its all-wheel-drive system uses a centre differential to split the engine power evenly between the front and rear wheels.

It comes in a base trim line, with several available option packages. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, CD/cassette premium sound system with wheel-mounted controls, heated leather seats with ten-way power front seats and driver position memory, 40/20/40 split middle seats, auto up/down on all windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass, maple or walnut woodgrain trim, cargo cover, water-repellent door glass, roof rack, spoiler, auto-dimming heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, halogen headlamps with light control system and washers, driver’s knee airbag, power tilt and telescopic wheel and first-aid kit.

Available options include a Luxury Package with sunroof; Premium Package with high intensity discharge headlamps, six-CD changer and adaptive front lighting among other features; and an Ultra Premium Package including rear monitor, DVD entertainment system, and power liftgate among others.

The RX 330 is a manageable size for an SUV, with an excellent seating position, all the expected Lexus creature comforts, and a 40/20/40 rear seat that slides backward or forward to maximize legroom or cargo space, depending upon what’s more important at the time. It’s not meant for twisty roads at high speeds, or a nasty off-road trail; this is a cargo hauler meant for the suburban jungle. The new gasoline/hybrid version gets better mileage, but with a base price that’s $11,700 over the base RX 330, and $5,950 over the comparably-equipped RX 330 Premium Package; even with rising prices, that’s a lot of fuel.

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