What Changed for 2009:Overview
Offered for sale beginning in March, 1998
, the Lexus RX 300 was the first of what would become a wildly popular genre of midsize luxury crossover utility vehicles, vehicles that combined car-like handling and size with sport utility styling and cargo-carrying capability.
The RX entered its second generation in 2003
with the launch of the all-new RX 330. A hybrid version, the RX 400h, was introduced in 2005
. In 2006, the RX 330 evolved
into the RX 350, which offered a larger and more powerful engine. The vehicle underwent a cosmetic update for the 2007 model year
and an extensive mechanical upgrade for 2008
. New for the 2009 model year are six exterior colors: Classis Silver Metallic, Smoky Granite Mica, Obsidian, Golden Almond Metallic, Matador Red and Desert Sage.Model Lineup
The Lexus RX 350 and 400h provide seating for 5 occupants in a midsize crossover vehicle architecture. The RX 350 and 400h are separated by their powertrains: The 350 has a gasoline-fueled 3.5-liter V-6 engine and the 400h has a gas/electric hybrid propulsion system. Both versions offer front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD).
Standard equipment includes chrome-plated exterior door handles; an acoustic windshield; water-repellent front door glass and privacy glass for rear windows; fog lamps; 17-inch all-season tires; a power-opening rear tailgate; automatic headlamps with adaptive front lighting that allows the headlamps to turn into a corner to enhance visibility in turns; heated exterior mirrors; 10-way power front seats; vehicle stability control with traction control; and 38.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat.
The 400h gets special head and taillamp lenses and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and aluminum interior trim. Options include leather seating; power tilt and telescoping steering column; roof rack; high-intensity discharge headlamps; air suspension; a multi-panel moonroof; navigation system; Mark Levinson premium audio; rearview camera system; rear-seat entertainment system; laser-guided cruise control that maintains the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of it; and a trailer-towing package.Powertrain
The 2009 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that provides 270 hp through a 5-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain earned ultra-low vehicle emission certification and is rated at 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the FWD model and at 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway with AWD.
The RX 400h provides a functional total of 268 hp from a 3.3-liter gasoline-powered engine that pumps out 208 hp and a 123-kw electric motor for the front wheels and a 50-kw electric motor for the rear wheels on vehicles equipped with AWD. The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission. The powertrain earns the 400h certification as a SULEV (super low-emission vehicle). The 400h is rated at 24 mpg city/27 mpg highway with FWD and 24 mpg city/26 mpg highway with AWD.Safety
All Lexus RX vehicles for 2009 are equipped with front, side and side-curtain air bags as well as a special air bag designed to protect the driver's knees in a frontal impact. The vehicles also have tire-pressure-monitoring systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and vehicle stability technology with traction control.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) rates the Lexus RX at 5 stars (the top rating) in front- and side-impact protection for the driver, front and rear passengers, and at 4 stars for resistance to rollover. The Lexus RX also earns "Good" (again, the top rating) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
) in its crash tests.Technology
The 2009 Lexus RX 350 and RX 400h are equipped with adaptive front lighting systems (AFS) designed to optimize road visibility in turns by swiveling the headlamps to the right or left based on vehicle speed and steering-wheel angle. In a left turn, the left-side headlamp can rotate up to 15 degrees to the left while the right beam remains in its centered position. In a right turn, the right beam can pivot up to five degrees while the left beam stays in the center position. The headlamps also have a self-leveling feature.