NEW FOR 2008:

– All models receive new grille, vehicle stability control cut-off switch, and chrome-plated door handles
– Exterior colours for RX 350: Copper Brown Mica added; Neptune Blue Mica deleted
– Exterior colours for RX 400h: Classic Silver Metallic, Smoky Granite Mica, Matador Red Mica, Copper Brown Mica, Golden Almond Metallic, Desert Sage Metallic and Breakwater Blue Metallic added; Millennium Silver Metallic, Flint Mica, Savannah Metallic, Bamboo Pearl and Neptune Blue Mica deleted

For 2008, the Lexus RX 330 and its 400h hybrid sibling receive only minor changes. Prices are unchanged from 2007.

The smallest of Lexus’ SUVs, the RX 330 uses a 3.5-litre V6 with five-speed automatic; the RX 400h uses a 3.3-litre engine with Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, and an electronically-controlled CVT. It is a full hybrid, capable of operating on gasoline or battery exclusively, or a combination of both, and it switches seamlessly between the modes. Both models are all-wheel drive, and come in a single trim line.

Features on the RX 330 include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium six-CD/MP3 stereo, 10-way driver and 8-way passenger power-adjustable heated leather seats, 40/20/40 split rear seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, one-touch up/down on all windows, tonneau cover, maple or walnut woodgrain trim, power tilt and telescopic wheel, garage door opener, cruise control, driver’s knee airbag, first-aid kit, anti-theft system, auto-dimming heated mirrors, water-repellent door glass, roof rack, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic headlamps with washers.

The RX 400h adds 18-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, high-intensity discharge headlamps with adaptive lighting and auto-levelling feature, and LED taillamps.

Both RX models are nimble and manageable, with numerous features, good seating position, and a rear seat that slides backward or forward to maximum legroom or cargo space. Handling is sporty, and the whole package feels more like a large sedan than an SUV. Fuel mileage is good for this segment, especially with the hybrid, but there’s a hefty jump in price, so do your homework and determine if it’s right for your driving conditions. Both models can be optioned with luxury packages, especially the 350, which can top $65,000 at the high end of the scale.

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