2009 Lexus RX 350 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Lexus RX 350 SUV

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lexus RX 350 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Lexus RX 350

  • Although competitors offer superior driving dynamics, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 will impress anyone shopping for a luxury crossover SUV with its plush ride quality, exceptional fit and finish, and ample day-to-day utility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Premium cabin appointments, luxury sedan ride, easy-to-use high-tech features, rock-solid reliability history, excellent dealer service.

  • Cons

    Plush ride suspension calibration makes for merely acceptable handling, third-row seat not available, expensive option packages.

  • What's New for 2009

    Apart from a new Pebble Beach edition, the Lexus RX 350 sees no changes for 2009.

Full 2009 Lexus RX 350 Review

What's New for 2009

Apart from a new Pebble Beach edition, the Lexus RX 350 sees no changes for 2009.


By the early 1990s, Lexus had solidified its reputation as a builder of upscale luxury vehicles that appealed to those who prized a magic carpet ride over sports car handling dynamics. In keeping with that philosophy, the company rolled out the first luxury crossover SUV, the RX 300, in 1999. Meeting affluent consumers' increasing desire for sensibly sized SUVs that were easy to drive in suburbia and furnished to luxury sedan standards, the RX 300 was a home run for Lexus. Contributing to its success was its easygoing personality, upscale cabin, virtually silent powertrain and outstanding build quality.

The next-generation RX (the 330) arrived for 2004, sporting more aggressive styling and a larger (3.3-liter) V6. Three years later, a more muscular V6 filled the engine bay, and the name changed to RX 350. Now in its sixth year, the second generation of Lexus' midsize crossover is nearing the end of its life cycle, yet it remains a strong choice in its segment.

Like other luxury crossover SUVs, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 is based on a car platform, in this case the 2002-'06 Toyota Camry. As one may rightfully assume, this makes the RX 350 a serene highway cruiser, but not exactly an athlete. Still, the current RX can be a touch sporty if equipped with the available air suspension and 18-inch wheels. Acceleration, on the other hand, would make Carl Lewis grin, thanks to that potent 3.5-liter V6 transplant that Lexus performed a few years ago.

Even when squaring off against more modern rivals, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 serves as a fine example of what a luxury crossover SUV should be. Yes, sportier competitors like the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Infiniti FX35 are better choices if corner-carving handling dynamics are a top priority. And those needing third-row accommodations should check out the Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz R350 or Volvo XC90. However, for consumers interested in a plush, convenience-laden five-passenger crossover, the RX 350 remains a worthy candidate.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Lexus RX 350 is a luxury crossover SUV of midsize dimensions that seats five. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a power rear liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors all around, 10-way power front seats, wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker stereo (with a CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted controls) and second-row seats that slide and recline.

Leather upholstery is optional but the chances of finding a cloth-upholstered RX are highly unlikely. Most models will have the Premium Package, which adds leather seating, seat memory, a power tilt/telescoping wheel, a sunroof and a roof rack. Opt for Premium Plus and you'll also get adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights. The Performance Package includes all the preceding plus an adaptive air suspension and 18-inch wheels. This year also brings the Pebble Beach edition, which includes chrome wheels and grille accents, leather seating, walnut cabin accents and a golf-and-travel-themed gift pack.

Other extras available include a user-friendly navigation system, a rearview camera, a stunning Mark Levinson audio system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones. The nav and entertainment systems can be purchased la carte, but the Mark Levinson system is only available as part of a pricey package. Other options include adaptive cruise control, front seat heaters, rain-sensing wipers and towing preparation.

Powertrains and Performance

A 3.5-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque powers the 2009 Lexus RX 350. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and buyers have a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Lexus claims either version will run from zero to 60 mph in under 7.5 seconds.

Fuel economy estimates stand at 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the FWD model, with the AWD version rating 17/22 mpg. Properly equipped, the RX 350 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.


The RX 350 comes standard with front-seat side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and a knee airbag for the driver. Standard stability- and traction-control systems as well as antilock brakes with brake assist are on hand to help one avoid an accident in the first place.

In government crash tests, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 scored a perfect five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact tests, the RX 350 again earned five stars across the board. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the current-generation RX a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in its frontal-offset crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although the RX 350 is an entry-level luxury SUV, the cabin gives the impression that this could be the company's flagship. Real wood and leather trim on the console, door panels and steering wheel come standard and make for a rich ambience. The optional Mark Levinson sound system rivals the best systems available anywhere, and the available voice-activated navigation system boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces. Rear passengers can get comfortable thanks to the seat's reclining and sliding adjustments. That seat is split 40/20/40 to optimize both passenger comfort and cargo-carrying flexibility. When it's time to turn this luxury cruiser into a beast of burden, the standard power liftgate makes life easier and allows easy access to the RX 350's maximum cargo capacity of 85 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

In true Lexus fashion, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 possesses a smooth and sophisticated personality. Acceleration is swift and silent thanks to the 3.5-liter V6 and quiet cabin. This is first and foremost a luxury vehicle, and as such the suspension is tuned more for a plush ride than sporty handling. Although the RX never feels floaty, those seeking a firmer dynamic should consider the Performance Package, which includes an air suspension along with 18-inch wheels fitted with performance tires.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

I love my lexus

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I have a 2009 RX350. After driving Audi and BMW's for some time, I fell in love with the RX350. It is my daily commute car, the AWD is like Velcro in the snow and ice, and compares favorably with Audi's Quattro, which I still feel is probably the best AWD system there is. The RX has plenty of power (thank you again to the WI State Patrol officer for being so understanding), plenty of comfort and is ideal for long or short trips. Probably obvious, but make sure you use only synthetic oil. Mileage is good, performance is beyond solid for an SUV, it is a blast to drive, top end is very responsive and I have never lacked for acceleration when needed.

2 of 10 people found this review helpful

Transmission slips at 25,000 miles

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

i bought this car as a cpo 9 months ago. 17000 miles on it. The transmission slips. when I slow down like to turn or in traffic and then step back on the gas, the car revs but its like its in neutral, then I hear a thump and it lurches forward. Or it will shudder for a second, then thud and lurch forward. I have been to the dealership 2x already. they say there is nothing wrong, this is how the car is designed to drive. A car this expensive should not drive like this. I called Lexus and I am awaiting a response back.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Flawed tranny

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Upon cold start up when placed in gear the car vibrates. If I start it in neutral no problem when placed in gear it vibrates. The dealer says this is normal and the vibration is caused by the fast engine idle until the car warms up which is true except in neutral no problem but as soon as in gear a vibration the problem is not the fast idle but is in the tranny itself. I have driven many many many autos and never never had this problem.

Practical and fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

After deciding between Accura MDX and RX 350, really feel that we made the right decision on the RX 350. The sporty style and comfortable ride is really impressive. Plenty of power to get you in and out of traffic (or into trouble). Gas mileage was really impressive on the highway (26 to 28 mph) on a trip to San Antonio to Fort Worth. In town 18 to 21 mph so far. Had a little trouble with window squeak when we first got it, but this was corrected at dealer. Very happy with the vehicle and the dealership.

Elegant, fun to drive suv

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Overall, we are very pleased with the RX 350. It has a quiet, smooth, fun ride. The interior is meticulously crafted and comfortable. We had a minor alignment problem at purchase but the dealer remedied it.

Don't mess with a good

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus RX 350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Our 2000 RX 300 had cleared the 125,000 mark so I took the wife car shopping at the Dallas Auto Show. She looked at 10-15 comparable mid-size SUV's and choose the 2009 RX 350 -- hands down. We had great luck with the first RX and we saw nothing we liked better than the '09 RX. Had it now for about a month and we've taken two trips. Super comfortable and WAY more fuel efficient than our original RX. Also, the turning radius is greatly improved. I think the best part of the whole deal though is that after 125,000 trouble free miles, the Lexus dealer gave us 26% of our original purchase price. Pretty unbelievable for a nine year old car with 125,000 on the ODO.

Talk About The 2009 RX 350

2009 Lexus RX 350 Discussions See all Started By

Searching the internet recently and found these photo's of the next generation RX. It looks like production will begin in late December 2008 with sales beginning in early Spring 2009.....

RX will be re-designed for 2010 and might hit the showrooms sometime Spring-Early Summer 2009, I thought of starting this discussion so that we can keep ourselves updated with latest information....

I've been researching the Lexus for a couple of months now. I want a 2009 and even rode in a friends 2008 last week. I liked everything but the front dash. I don't like the navagation system (big ?...

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411