Driving any Lexus is a pleasing experience. Even most Toyotas and now Scions come with a predictably competent ride that will not disappoint even if it doesn't thrill. No matter what the platform from RX330 SUV to Camry Sedan you know the Toyota product will be near the top in that segment almost every time. That is saying an awful lot and our test RX330 proved that entry-level luxury SUVs weren't out of Toyota's reach.
However, that doesn't explain the insane popularity of the RX330.
While it is competent and has a nice level of trim it sure doesn?t distinguish itself from the healthy competition out there. I still prefer the German feel of the BMW X3 or the Swede Volvo XC90. Although I would take the RX330 over the Cadillac SRX.
The navigation system to me seemed especially hard to master, although the real world information regarding restaurants etc was very cool. You could basically touch a nearby Italian flag, get the phone number for that restaurant and call in your order.
Cargo space was also nice but little things like my shoe getting caught on the footbrake got irritating. There are many comfort features, decent stowage, compartments and an acceptable stereo system with 6-disc changer but like most Toyotas there?s not much fun to be had. The RX does take corners with very little tip and accelerates passably. But there?s certainly no sport feel to the ride like in the X3. However, there is a sport feel to the suspension as bumps are quite noticeable through the stiff suspension and firm seats.
For the Lexus-phile the RX330 is an easy choice, for the everyday suburbanite it makes a lot of sense too but for the driving enthusiast it will be in the middle of a large pack, no matter how sensible a total package it may be.