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Lexus RX 300



  • I want to share with you all my experience regarding the RX300 SUV. This vehicle is supposed to be a very high quality vehicle for the price. Well, I am sorry to say that it DOES NOT meet up to its standards. Especially for a vehicle that is greatly overpriced with a sticker price of over $40,000.00. I have experienced numerous problems with the transmission, drivetrain and engine.
    The Lexus dealership that I bought the car at tried to fix the problems, but the same problems occurred over and over again. I feel that this vehicle is nothing but a status symbol for individuals who want to burn money in exchange for mechanical problems and aggravation.
    I bought my vehicle a year and a half ago brand new and it has always been in the shop since. I paid a good amount of money to buy this vehicle and I feel like I got ripped off by Lexus. I DID get ripped off by Lexus. I got a piece of junk that is a lemon.
    I finally got rid of this peice of JUNK and sold it and went out and bought the new Hyundai Santa Fe LX 4WD SUV. I have had the Hyundai Santa Fe now for a few months and I have not had any problems. I was lucky and I did not lose out when I sold my Lexus because I got full value for it and I sold it to someone who was going to take it overseas with him. He payed me the full price of what I bought it for when it was brand new. To sum things up, I am glad that I got rid of the Lexus RX300.
    The Hyundai has BETTER quality in workmanship and engineering than the Lexus RX300, without the repair headaches and the $20,000.00 overpriced pricetag.
    The interior of the Santa Fe is just as luxurious as the RX300 and the materials are of excellent quality with an excellent fit and finish. The same goes for the exterior of this vehicle. It is built solidly with excellent quality. The engine on the Santa Fe is also excellent in quality. The shiftronic transmission and drivetrain in this vehicle is built in Germany by Porsche and the engine is Japanese/Korean built. You can't get better than that. My Hyundai Santa Fe has not given me any problems like the problems which I had with my Lexus RX300. PLUS, Hyundai has an excellent warranty that covers against any defects for 10 yrs/100,000 miles. Lexus can't beat that either. Lexus didn't have a standard 10yr/100,000 mile warranty like Hyundai does.
    The RX300 is nothing but problems. It is also very overpriced and one needs to spend over $40,000.00 to $50,000.00 to get one fully loaded. A fully loaded Hyundai Santa Fe is only $23,500.00. I don't see any difference with the Santa Fe and the RX300 except for the fact that the Santa Fe is a better quality vehicle and it doesn't break down like my RX300 did.
    I am very happy to say that I am glad to have sold my RX300 and bought the Hyundai Santa Fe and invested the extra $20,000.00 that I saved into bigger and better things. I am making money on my $20,000.00 investment rather than giving Lexus the money for a vehicle which is nothing but problems and a yuppie status symbol. The RX300 is not worth the money, especially when one can buy the Hyundai Santa Fe for $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 less than the RX300 and have BETTER QUALITY and a piece of mind.
    Don't let Lexus take your money for a vehicle which doesn't meet its quality standards.
    I hope that my input will prevent others who want to purchase the Lexus RX300 think twice before they go out and spend $40,000.00 and $50,000.00 for a Lexus SUV that isn't worth the money. I will NEVER buy a Lexus again! NEVER!
  • I forgot to also tell you that the Hyundai Santa Fe LX 4WD also has a luxurious ride just like the Lexus RX300. There is no difference in the ride quality, braking, accelerating power, performance, ect. It feels and performs equally the same as the overpriced RX300. Now that's a rude awakening, isn't it?
  • pschiffepschiffe Posts: 373
    Sorry to hear you were disappointed with your RX, very unusual I must say; but this forum at least gave you the opportunity to vent your anger. Had my '99 RX in for 20K service today and have had absolutely no problems whatever in 18 months of ownership. Finest vehicle I ever owned although it does have a few design quirks, some of which have already been addressed on the newer models. Sounds like yours would have been a candidate to be replaced under the lemon law, depending upon what state you are in. BTW, my wife had a Hyundai a few years back and it was a POS, sounds like maybe they're getting their act together, best wishes.

  • Sybele, before trading your 99RX in you might want to see if any body here might be interested in it(like me). I for one might consider a used one if it has the right options/color. Send me some e-mail and also let me know what area you are in.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Did anyone besides me notice that this guy's post alluded to many RX300 problems without describing even ONE?

    And what was that other vehicle he was voicing so much support for?

    Sounds more like someone doing a SALES job for another manufacturer to me. Or do you want to tell about actuall problems?

    Oh, by the way, didn't I read somewhere that one of the major reasons Porsche is now a profitable and going concern is that they hired some Japanese engineering and manufacturing consultants to teach them a proper manuafcturing process?

    Lexus does have its problems with any doubt, but build quality is not one of them.
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 372
    Seems to me if there were that many problems it was a lemon and instead of dealing with it as such he foisted it off on some unsuspecting person. But it did seem like a salesman from the other company. I've even forgotten it already.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    Sure is nice that such an unworthy SUV held it's value. Without knowing it, gtmustang, verified what most of us already know. If you buy value and workmanship, not to mention safety, than its hard to loose. Enjoy.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    I have been "playing" with my nav system lately. With the limited help from the instruction manual and a little more from the shop manual, I have learned a few things.
    1. There is a night mode to the screen. Turn system on, agree to warning, go to display screen, turn your lights on, you should see a gooey button marked "DAY". If it is highlighted green, then you are in day mode. Touch the button and turn it off (not highlighted). The whole background turns dark with roads and words highlighted. When you turn your lights off, the screen returns to normal brightness.
    2. There is a diagnostic mode you can enter through two hidden gooey buttons on the display screen that checks the whole system, from satellites to color of screen.
    3. The one thing I can not figure out is about the data base. Is there a DVD inside the ECU or is the database just loaded into the ECU. If there is a DVD installed, then how do you change it out with the next revision? Speaking of which. What version came with your system? Enjoy
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    gtmustang Feb 15, 2001 5:36pm

    If this person actually owned both vehicles they would know of the DIFFERENCES between a Santa Fe and 2001 RX300 in terms of braking, horsepower, features, etc. There is a factual difference, not just opinions.

    I love it when Santa Fe owners completely gloss over the fact that the SF has no proven safety record, and that overall safety/deaths in past Hyundais is very bad. But hey, they saved lots of money!

  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Clee, how do you enter the diag mode?

    The DVD disk should in the player located by the spare tire well. I haven't acutally looked at it yet. Are you telling me there is no tray loader on the player?

  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    tonychrys, To enter the diagnostic mode is a little complicated, even with the book. This is how I have been able to enter. Turn system on, go through the silly caution page. Car in park, ingnition switch to accessory, parking brake set. Enter audio page, the one with six boxes for radio stations, then touch the display button adjancent to the audio button. You then will see the horizontal adjustments for contrast and brightness located at the bottom of the screen and a box at the top that says display. This is where it gets tricky. There are two hidden gooey buttons located on the left side of the screen between the display box and the contrast box, just vertical from the minus sign in contrast, one about 1/4 to 1/2 inch above contrast and the other 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the display box. You then touch the hidden gooey buttons, upper, lower, upper, lower, upper, lower. (Three times each, in that order) Then if you have followed the directions correctly (assuming I have remembered them correctly) a menu screen opens, just like pandora's box, and you have access to the diagnostics. It will run a self test for say 20 seconds. Just touch the buttons you wish to view and page back and forth as you wish. To exit this diagnostic mode turn the ignition switch off. Try it and see what happens. It took me like four times before I could figure it out. Now it is a peice of cake. Have fun "playing"
    PS: this is probably not for the faint of heart, if you know what I mean. If I remember correctly, you are a software type, so you will find this interesting.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Yup, high tech is what I do for a living. I love "hidden" stuff like this.

    What I REALLY what to do is have access to the "body electronics" CPU. There are various "functions" that can be changed as to how the car reacts (power locks, etc.) I'm gonna try to get friendly with a Lexus tech .

    BTW, where/how did you get the shop manual?

  • I feel I must post another response to Mr. Mustang. I sincerely would not want prospective buyers to place any great merit in his post, although there is a chance he could have a legitimate claim. It just seems very suspicious, as Avery has stated earlier, that he seemed to experience this extraordinary trauma for such a long time and does not feel the need to list the problems he encountered with the RX. I certainly would never be one to say that one of these cars could not be defective, but in truth I have not read a post like this before. As a matter of fact, it was such an unusual post that it was almost shocking to read -- I was interested to find out what had happened to his car.

    When I decided to purchase a new car, I must admit I researched all of the cars I was interested in for about six months. I read every board I could find, even going back through the archived boards on many different sites and you know how labor intensive that can be. I have several favorite cars, and they all have distinctive advantages to me. I liked Volvos and Mercedes, but many owners have expressed having a great deal of trouble with those cars/suvs. No matter how great the service, I do not want to keep the path hot between my house and the dealership. The Mercedes SUV may be pulling out of its slump, but I would like to see a much better record for at least a year. Also I read many posts about the lesser quality of the materials used in the Mercedes, plastic wood and a disappointing feel to the other appointments.

    The Volvo seems to have problems right and left from door panels coming unglued to light bulbs going out constantly to engine trouble, but I did love the way the V70 T5 drove. I even liked the look of the Jeep, but those owners were almost spewing nails on those boards. It was scary. I looked at a few other SUVs but you get the point.

    While I certainly understand that for every post describing such problems, there are many cars that are trouble free, I just saw too much of a pattern to feel comfortable in choosing another car than the Lexus. In all honesty,I did not run across one post that described any severe or even difficult problems with this car. If there was a complaint, it was about something simple that seemed to be addressed by Lexus in the following model year.

    As far as the price is concerned, all cars are too expensive in my opinion. Some of the others may have a lower list price, but once you add in all of the options they pretty much even out. All of the cars in this category are running for $40,000+ as fast as they can. That's just the way it is in todays market, but it also underscores the reasons to make a selection that gives you the best quality for your money.
  • Thanks ever so much for posting interesting information on the navigation system. Please keep conveying any other dicoveries you make. You probably know this, but yesterday I was surprised to see that if I put my finger on the screen and rubbed it across, the map moves in the same direction. enabling one to see NSEW of your location without having to expand your map.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    Yes, this system (Nav) is sure a blast to discover all of its functions. I have set in my garage for several nights just discovering neat things about it and the car. Unfortunatly, Lexus did not include everything in the limited manual that they gave out with the vehicle and even the shop manuals (2 volume set, number located in back of the owners manual) lack some of the things I still have questions about. If anybody knows the answer to my DVD question, It's eating me alive to know if there is a disk installed and how to eject the disk. The shop manual alludes to removing a disk, but does not say how. The shop manuals were ordered from the dealer and cost $100/volume.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    kingscreek - with regard to gtmustang, who cares? I personally have driven both vehicles before I bought, and he is so far off base it's rediculous. I won't even address the issue because it's child's play to rip apart the Hyundai.

    He's a "board troll", drops in, makes a comment, leaves. He's harmless. He's also in for a rude awakening if he ever tries to resell that Hyundai.

    Enjoy the miles.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Have you actaully touched/seen the DVD player under the floor in the rear?
  • Anybody with any info on when and how much?? Will be in the market for an RX300 in the next few months...
    Also, anyone have any experience buying one from Their price(at least in the L.A. area) is pretty amazing... $200.00 over invoice.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    Yes, I have seen the DVD unit under the floor. If you raise the rear carpet and lift out the plastic tray (right side of spare tire) holding the lug wrench, then look down and to the right. There is also a floor plate that you can remove to gain access directly above the unit. There is a little door control, but that does not eject anything. My wife suggested maybe there is a little pin hole like on our CD ROM. Have not gone back to look. The control panel has kept me busy.
    Speaking of tires, have you seen the tire rotation plan? They cross the vehicle and back to front. I was always under the impression to maintain the tires on the same side and rotate front to back. Wonder why?
  • pschiffepschiffe Posts: 373
    Programming of Customized Body Electronics System (C-Best) can ONLY be done using the dealer's Lexus hand-held tester! Shop manuals can be purchased from at a discount but are frankly not that helpful and definately not for DIY!

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