My wife really wants to sit up high while she drives, and we have no need
for the older Honda Odyssey van we have now. So I began considering a used
RX300. My question is were there any years where major improvements were
made, problem years, etc.. The wife really liked the rear view camera of a
friend's RX330, but do not think that was available on the RX300. Could you
get the RX300 with a GPS system? Lastly, how durable are the RX300? We tend
to drive a lot, so may add a lot of miles. I have not driven the RX300, but
one of things I liked about it, was that it is not huge, not on a truck
chassis, and looks like it might be able to handle half way decently. It
will not be like my BMW M3 I know, but can't stand something that is
I have a 1999 RX300, which I bought new, and have had only one problem with
it in over 4 years: The lower seat cushion on the driver's side stopped
heating in winter. I took it in, figuring they were simply going to replace
a burned-out element, but they replaced the whole seat! Under warranty, no
The Nav system wasn't available here in Canada when I bought it, though I
believe it was in the States. And you are correct, the back-up camera was
not offered until the RX330 came out. People who ride in it are surprised to
hear it's a 4 year-old vehicle, as it is still perfectly free of squeaks and
rattles and feels as solid now as it did when I bought it...the only sign
giving its age away are paint chips on the outside (unavoidable, of course).
It rides much better than your typical SUV (in fact, I owned a 1997 Camry
XLE V6 before it, one of the finest riding cars on the road, and was
surprised to find the RX300 gave almost nothing away to it in terms of ride
comfort, while maintaing slightly firmer ride motions), to the point where
Motor Trend called it the finest riding SUV of them all. And it does all
this while handling fairly well, not surprising as it's based on a car
platform with independent suspension all around. It won't outhandle Bimmers
or Preludes, of course, only the BMW X5 would trounce it in the twisties
(and that one rides like h**l).
I have only two pet peeves with the RX: A largish turning circle, and a
smallish gas tank. The gas tank issue was resolved, I believe, for the 2001
model year with a larger one, but the turning circle issue continued
throughout, until the RX330 came out which slashed something like 6 feet (!)
from the RX300's turning radius. But truth be told, given the impeccable
quality of the car, these are very minor quibbles. If fact, looking at
Consumer Reports, it's one of only two vehicles that has scored "much better
than average" for both reliability and customer satisfaction.
My next vehicle will be the hybrid RX330, which will give even more power
but consume something on the order of 35% less fuel.
Hope that helps,
Thank you for your comments. It has helped us decide this is vehicle we
want. Now it is shopping time. Last time I rode in a Lexus, it was so
rattle free I was amazed. My stiff riding M3 is solid too, but it is hard
core and the Lexus was kind of nice for a longer trip. I will miss a tight
turning circle. My BMW is very tight, but most front drive vehicles have
limited steering lock, so no surprise and not unlike the big turning radius
on our van.
As the other poster said they did increase the gas tank but it is
still a pain. Just not big enough to avoid having to fill it up. The
turning radius is also annoying. Though my company I've had a 1999 and
currently have a 2003. Excellent ride and highly recommended. Oh one
other thing - the RX does not ride as high as some other SUVs.
We owned a 99 RX300, an 00 RX300 and now an 04 RX330. They have been
the best built cars we have ever owned. All they ever needed was an
oil change and occasional wheel alignment. The 2000 went 55,000 on
its original tires.
My wife drives the RX, I drive a 96 SC400.
You can't go wrong with a Lexus.
I have a 2003 RX300. The 2003 model has Bridgestone Dueller H/T tires
which, on dry and wet pavement, handle better (in my experience) than
the Goodyear tires on some earlier models. But they are not as good in
the snow (although perfectly fine with AWD that my RX has). Also,
later models have a rubber cover on the top of the rear bumper that
comes in handy for resting items. My 2003 also has automatic leveling
high output headlights which I really like.
Things I don't like.
The turning circle, that others have mentioned which makes the RX
difficult to park in parking lots.
I'm 6'2" tall and find the leg room to the left footrest a bit short.
The Pioneer Stereo System whose sound seems inferior to that of the
Bose systems and other systems I heard. I DO like the CD Changer in
the glovebox however. I'm able to take the entire magazine upstairs,
change the 6 CD's and take it back to the car instead of feeing them 1
by 1 into the dash as in the Highlander. However, the CD's need to be
loaded upside down for some reason.
The thing I REALLY don't like about my RX, and the reason that I might
actually trade it in the future for a different model, is the need for
service every 5,000 miles in order to avoid the "sludge" problem. That
wouldn't be too much of a problem if my nearest Lexus dealer wasn't 30
Actually, the RX300 could come in either Goodyear Integrity or Bridgestone
Duler H/T 687. Model year makes no difference.
The Dueler is better than the Integrity in dry and wet traction, but it's
horrible in snow and wears out fast.
I believe that the automatic leveling system was available starting 2001, when
Lexus added the HID option. I have it on my 2002.
You can get your RX300's oil change at any Toyota dealer. The RX300
powertrain is identical to Toyota Highlander, other than the Lexus emblem on
the engine cover. Of course, the Massapequa Lexus dealer service is quite
good from what I hear.
Do they really need to REPLACE the brake rotors or just resurface
them? I've had the brake rotors on most of my vehicles over the years
resurfaced, but I don't recall ever replacing them.
On Wed, 05 Nov 2003 23:40:14 GMT, "Moe Curly & Larry"
I don't know for sure, but I believe they use the same rotors.
The only major difference between the Highlander and the RX (other than the
obvious to the beholders) is the suspension parts. The Highlander suspension
is slightly stiffer to carry more weight. Still gives a very smooth ride.
There were never any major improvement on the RX300, other than some
minor and cosmetic changes. The major ones are the rear differential was
removed (or de-contented) after the 2000 model and the Nakamichi stereo
upgrade was discontinued after 2001 since it filed for bankruptcy protection.
You can't get rear view camera with RX300, but there are aftermarket products.
I simply stick a $3 corvex mirror onto the right rear side window which gives
me good rear view and side view.
You can have GPS navigation. It was a CD-ROM based system. It became DVD-
based starting 2001.
The RX300 is very durable. I've put over 30,000 miles in 18 months on my
2002. Not a problem. It had wheel alignment problem at delivery, which was
later fixed by the @#$% dealer. (Took a while to convince the tech that it
was not tire pressure or "crown" on the road.)
The RX300 handling is about average for SUVs. It's not as good as BMW X5 or
Nissan Murano, but much better than GMC Envy or Dodge Dunwannago.
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