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Range in Motion - 2005 Crossover Buyer's Guide

2005 Lexus RX330

by Martha Hindes

Lexus RX330
2005 Lexus RX330

If anything, Lexus has only enhanced its reputation for whisper-quiet vehicles, with its RX 330 demi-truck. That undoubtedly was an aim when the luxury division of Japan-based Toyota became the self-proclaimed creator of the first entry-level luxury sport utility some six years ago.

Following a major revamping a year ago, the larger, sleeker and more powerful next generation RX 330, better known as a 5 Crossover, takes refinement to a new level for 2005. That's a requisite step in keeping the appeal level high among die-hard followers who have repeatedly bolstered the Lexus claim of pure gratification satisfaction in J. D. Power customer survey polls.

Safety is tops in changes for '05, with the addition of roll sensing side curtain airbags. The Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) that steers headlamp beams into a turning curve, now is an option with high intensity lights.

Comfort and convenience cues include an eight-way power seat for the front passenger. "One click" key fob liftgate opening is now standard, as are wood and leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob in the luxurious interior that seats five, max.

The RX 330 also expands on the consumer technology front, with the addition of Bluetooth wireless capability and voice activation to its optional touch-screen DVD-based navigation system with one-touch phone dialing. The navigation screen displays three-dimensional images in some larger cities.

The RX 330, powered by a responsive 230-HP, 3.3-liter V6, with five-speed automatic in front or all-wheel drive configurations, starts in the high 30s price range depending on model, before options. With its reputation for quiet dependability intact, we might call it fun-to-drive wearing a velvet glove.