Sunday, September 30, 2007

2008 Lexus RX 350 Review

The 2008 Lexus RX 350 represents the third generation of the maker's luxury SUV built on a car chassis. It is a mid-sized vehicle with four doors, seating for five, and two available trim levels: front-wheel and all-wheel drive, respectively. Both versions come with a 3.5 liter, 270 horsepower V6 engine, and a five-speed automatic transmission that includes overdrive.

Aside from a bigger engine, this year's Lexus RX 350 isn't that different from the 2007 model. The front grille has been re-designed (Lexus says it has been "freshened") and the wheel wells are a bit more exaggerated, making the SUV look a little tougher, but other than that the only real changes are new door handles (chrome) and the 18-inch wheels with seven spokes which are optional while the standard wheels are 17 inches, and two new color choices that are now available for the body.

Inside the car, all the expected accessories are present. A six-disc CD changer is standard, while an optional entertainment system for the rear seats includes a 9-inch screen and a Mark Levinson audio system. A voice-activated navigational system and rear-view camera to assist with parking, are also available options. Other upgrades include cruise control, and windshield wipers with rain-sensing capability. The 2008 Lexus RX 350 also has a full appointment of protective airbags, including knee bags for the driver, and side airbags with roll-sensing technology. Both trim levels of this SUV also have a stability control system, and a monitor that that tracks tire pressure, adding to what Consumer Reports calls "a well rounded SUV" and also enhancing its smooth ride, and minimal interior road noise.

The 2008 Lexus RX 350 has 84.7 cubic feet of cargo space when the back seats are folded down (they have a 40/20/40 split), and the back lift-gate is powered for ease of use. The two trim levels have fuel efficiency of 17 mpg/city and 22 mpg/highway for the front-wheel drive version and 18/city, 23/highway for the all-wheel drive version, and their starting MSRPs are $37,400 (FWD) and $38,800 (AWD).

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