This is my wife's car. We bought it used with 35K and have since put 40K on it. I call it the 'cream puff' because it is a Japanese Cadillac. Luxury, ride, and fit & finish are top notch and reliability is excellent.
I will be the first to admit the design was not my favorite initally- but I've grown to love it because it does everything very well.
AWD has been successfully Tahoe tested many times. It is an extremely easy & comfortable vehicle to drive.
She is looking at the new model for no other reason then the 'new' factor. Would buy this year & model again in a heartbeat.
Ride, comfort, features, brakes, fit & finish.
Mark Levinson stereo in this model lacks oomph (no subwoofer and other channels are underpowered). I am an audio snob- but so is the ML brand- which it does not live up to IMO. And, no auxillary input for iPod, etc. What?
Styling is a little female centric in this model. 2010 and newer is more masculine/neutral.
Handling is what you would expect for a Lexus hybrid suv- it is not the primary focus. See Porsche or BMW is that is your primary concern.