RX300 Info needed.

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 wallowy.
Thanks,
- Phil
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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 less!
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,
Mike

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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.
Thanks! - Phil

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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.
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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.
Dan

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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 miles away!

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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.
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What about the brake rotors? Are they the same as the Highlander? Looking for a cheaper price than the Lexus dealer for 2 fronts. That would be for a 2001 RX300 w/Nav.
cheers, Moe
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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"

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After 71,000 miles and previous resurface, these need to be replaced. Moe
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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.
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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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