NEW FOR 2009:

– RX 400h hybrid model temporarily discontinued
– New option packages including Pebble Beach Edition
– Exterior colours: Classic Silver Metallic, Smoky Granite Mica, Obsidian, Golden Almond Metallic and Matador Red Mica added; Millennium Silver Metallic, Flint Mica, Black Onyx and Savannah Metallic discontinued

For 2009, the RX 350 is unchanged, except for some changes to its trim packages: there is a new Premium Package with Navigation, a Touring Package that further adds 18-inch wheels, and a new Pebble Beach Edition similar to that of the SC 430, which adds special wheels, colours, badges and a spoiler, and includes a leather bag and matching wallet.

The hybrid RX 400h model has been temporarily discontinued, but will return for 2010.

The smallest Lexus SUV, the RX 350 uses a 3.5-litre V6 with five-speed automatic transmission, and includes full-time four-wheel drive.

Features include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-CD/MP3 stereo with wheel-mounted controls, heated leather seats with 10-way driver and eight-way passenger power adjustment with memory, 40/20/40-split second-row seats, keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, auto up/down on all windows, cargo cover, maple or walnut wood grain trim, power tilt and telescopic wheel, cruise control, garage door opener, cargo area tie-downs, driver’s knee airbag, first-aid kit, anti-theft system, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, water-repellant door glass, roof rack, rear spoiler, rain-sensing wipers, light control system and headlamp washers.

Feeling more like a large sedan than an SUV, the RX is nimble and manageable and contains numerous features. There’s also practicality along with the luxury, including a rear seat that slides backward or forward to maximum leg or cargo room, depending on what’s needed. Those who prefer the fuel economy of a hybrid will have to wait for a new model next year.

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