2009 Lexus SC 430 Review

SC 430

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2009 Lexus SC 430 Overview

2009 Lexus SC 430

One of the original hard-top convertibles on the market, the Lexus SC 430 has fallen from grace somewhat since its introduction in 2002. The 2009 SC 430 is, essentially, the same automobile it was in ’02, and the competition has risen to, and in many cases surpassed, this one-time award winner. This does not, however, mean that the ’09 Lexus SC 430 is without its merits. An elegant design, finely wrought interior, and Lexus’ traditionally high standard of performance, refinement, and reliability make the SC 430 worth a look.

The single trim level offered for the ’09 SC 430, called simply the Base, is equipped with a 4.3-liter V8 that puts out 288 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Mated with a six-speed auto-manual transmission, this quiet-yet-potent powerplant guns the SC 430 from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds. Passing and merging power are at the ready, when needed. The EPA estimates the SC 430 will get 16/23 mpg, which isn’t horrific, but could be improved on.

A sedate and stately cruiser on smooth highways and in sunny weather, the rear-wheel-drive SC 430 can get harsh and tipsy on bad roads and in tight corners. Blame the harshness on the standard 18-inch low-profile tires (run-flat tires are an option, but don’t improve the ride) and the lean on plainly lackluster handling characteristics.

Standard creature comforts for the ’09 Lexus SC 430 include a navigation system with tilt display and voice activation, leather seating, power adjustable, heated front seats with driver memory, a 10-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system with a 6-CD changer, Bluetooth technology, dual-zone climate control, and genuine wood trim – in two choices, no less.

With so many standard cabin features, options are scarce for the SC 430, but do include a rear spoiler and upgraded wheel choices. Little-to-no cargo space and microscopic rear seats deter from an otherwise sumptuous cabin. For the golf fanatic, Lexus offers another Pebble Beach Edition of the SC 430 for ’09, with special badging and wheels.

Safety features in the ’09 SC 430 include four-wheel disc ABS with brake assist, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front knee airbags. The SC 430 has not been tested by either the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Owners of the ’08 and ’09 Lexus SC 430 note its hefty pricetag, tiny back seats, tepid gas mileage, a not-so-impressive audio system, and iffy handling as annoyances. On the plus side, owners laud the ease of operation of the SC 430’s hard-top convertible design, as well as its power and performance, elegant looks, reliability, interior workmanship and materials, and its “exhilarating drive.”

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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