2009 Lexus SC 430 Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Lexus SC 430 Convertible

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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 SC 430 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.3 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 288 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Lexus SC 430

  • The 2009 Lexus SC 430 is a comfortable and luxurious convertible that excels at leisurely weekend drives but lacks the sporting athleticism of the competition.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Retractable hardtop, near-silent V8 engine, rock-solid Lexus dependability and quality.

  • Cons

    Lack of trunk space, ridiculously small rear seats, lackluster handling and performance.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Lexus SC 430 remains unchanged from the previous year except for the addition of turn signals integrated into the side mirrors.

Full 2009 Lexus SC 430 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 remains unchanged from the previous year except for the addition of turn signals integrated into the side mirrors.


Back when the Lexus SC 430 debuted for the 2002 model year, we described this convertible as "elegant" and "innovative" -- the latter thanks to its retractable hardtop design. Since then, however, the SC 430 has stayed pretty much the same while competitors have released their own four-seat drop tops that best the Lexus in a number of aspects. The Lexus SC 430 can no longer rest on its laurels; it's time for a makeover.

But it's just more of the same for 2009. The SC 430 has some positive attributes. The convertible maintains its reputation for exceptional build quality, resolute reliability and civilized road manners. Unfortunately, it also keeps its hindrances: limited trunk storage with the top up (which becomes almost nonexistent when the folding top is stowed), laughably small and uncomfortable rear seats and a notable lack of driving fun.

With any luck, Lexus will breathe some new life into this underperforming model, but with sagging sales and shifts in buying habits, it's more likely that the SC 430 will be shelved after this year. Anyone considering the purchase of a 2009 Lexus SC 430 would be well-advised to take a look at other four-seat convertible models such as the BMW 335i, the Jaguar XK8 and the Mercedes-Benz CLK550, which deliver more convenience, performance and rear-seat comfort.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 is a luxury convertible with a power-retractable hardtop that folds into the trunk. The drop top's single trim level comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive HID headlights, a navigation system with a tilt display and voice activation, leather upholstery, power/heated front seats with memory for the driver, a 10-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, an in-dash six-CD changer, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control and genuine wood trim in bird's eye maple or walnut, depending on leather choices.

Given the vast selection of standard features, few options are available for the SC 430. These include run-flat tires, a rear spoiler and additional wheel choices. Returning for a sixth year is the Pebble Beach Edition SC 430, which has a limited production of 360 units. These cars set themselves apart from the others with special badging, wheels and other unique details. But the added expense really only makes sense for avid golf enthusiasts.

Powertrains and Performance

As in previous years, the 2009 Lexus SC 430 is powered by a 4.3-liter V8 producing 288 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. The sleek convertible manages to reach 60 mph in a respectable 5.8 seconds. Fuel economy is comparable to that of other luxury convertibles at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.


In keeping with Lexus' reputation for safety, the SC 430 is equipped with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and front-seat knee airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Lexus SC 430 transforms from hardtop luxury coupe to open-air convertible in less than 30 seconds. Witnessing the metamorphosis is a bit like watching a ballet, as the top disappears completely under the rear deck lid. As with any Lexus, the SC 430's interior features top-notch materials and an attractive design. Occupants are enveloped in supple leather and rich wood trim. Features such as climate control lap vents that adjust to top-up or -down driving conditions add to the experience.

Unfortunately, the SC 430 can really be enjoyed only from the front seats, since the minuscule rear accommodations could easily make a child contortionist wince. Trunk space is similarly limited, with a maximum of 9.4 cubic feet with the top up while running on run-flat tires. With a spare tire, capacity drops to 8.8 cubes, and with the hardtop stowed, you have just about enough space for a box of Tic Tac mints.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2009 Lexus SC 430 is dated, it remains a solid choice as a luxury convertible. Practically every road imperfection is smoothed over by its compliant suspension, and the engine readily and quietly spools up to redline with minimal drama. These qualities make for a great road-trip coach (as long as you don't have much luggage) or boulevard cruiser, but they also reduce any sporting capabilities. The SC 430's lack of feedback and lethargic handling are likely to disappoint driving enthusiasts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Wonderful to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus SC 430

This car is a complete joy. Two of my best friends also drive the Lexus SC430, and we all agree. It's the most fun, feel-good car we've ever driven! I enjoy the ease of the retractable hardtop and love the design/look of this car. People stop to compliment this beautiful Lexus.

Sc 430

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus SC 430

This is a great reliable car. Workmanship is excellent. Our last car was a 2005 Corvette and it spent many days at the repair shop. This car has never had any repair problems and it has 36,000 miles on it. I would strongly recommend this car.

Lexus sc 430-2008

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus SC 430

I have owned as many as 50 cars in my time. My lexus sc 430 convertible out wins them all. The leather is so soft and inviting that I can ride in the car all day. The sound system is tops, and the driving experience is like none other. The paint on the car is beautiful and I am trying to preserve this car because I do not think that there will be another like it. The body style commands attention, what can I say except that this car has earned the number one place from me!

A classy ride

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus SC 430

I'm now 72 years old and have owned many fine nameplates in the past including BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi. This car is an engineering masterpiece and a joy to own in its own right. I love top down cruising in the countryside with that smooth V-8 under my right foot. Turning on the Mark Levinson to my favorite tunes adds to the pleasure. It's a style that grows on you not unlike the new Mercedes SL, and for a lot less money. When it is replaced next year I doubt there will be another quite like it.

Talk About The 2009 SC 430

2009 Lexus SC 430 Discussions See all Started By

SC 430: The retractable-hardtop coupe gets a redesign in summer 2007, sharing the IS/GS platform. The 2008 model also will share the 4.6-liter V-8. Lexus is looking at proportions and stance similar t...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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