2009 Lexus RX 350 Pebble Beach edition. Click image to enlarge
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2009 Lexus RX 350
Oshawa, Ontario – Pebble Beach isn’t my idea of a prime vacation location; save for its annual gathering of classic cars, its emphasis on golf doesn’t hold much appeal to me. Still, I could have used a shot of its California weather when faced with a drive along Ontario’s Highway 401 in one of this winter’s nastier snowstorms. As it was, while I didn’t have west-coast sunshine, I had the Pebble Beach Edition of the 2009 Lexus RX 350 instead.
The Pebble Beach package is one of the few changes for the 2009 version, as the RX morphs into an all-new model for 2010. Previously added to the SC 430 convertible, the option package been expanded to other models for 2009, including the ES 350 and LS 600h L.
Lexus “steps up” its trim packages, and the Pebble Beach edition is an additional $11,050 on top of the RX 350’s base $42,950 tag. It encompasses the Premium Package ($5,000 on its own, with premium stereo, power liftgate, sunroof, wood and leather steering wheel, adaptive headlamps and premium illuminated entry system), the Premium with Navigation ($8,650 by itself, which adds DVD-based navigation system, backup camera, Bluetooth and a cassette deck), and the Touring Package ($9,550 alone, and adding all of the above, plus 18-inch alloy wheels). The Pebble Beach then adds uniquely-styled 18-inch wheels, Beach-specific grille, floor mats and badges, colour-matched rear spoiler, and a “gift set” – not handed over with my tester, but undoubtedly very nice – of a leather bag and matching wallet.
The package normally comes with all-season tires, but mine had been swapped for some aggressive Bridgestone Blizzak winter meats. The combination of these tires and the RX 350’s standard full-time four-wheel drive meant that my winter trip required only a little more concentration than usual. In some areas, a line of white-knuckled drivers guided their all-season-shod charges along two cleared ruts at a blistering 60 km/h, no doubt with nasty words as I went by them in the unploughed lane at 80 km/h. The conditions were nasty enough that I didn’t want to take it any higher than that – the normal speed limit is 100 km/h – but at no time did I feel even the slightest loss of control.