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Lexus RX 330

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    "We all know that driving a fuel-efficient SUV is a good thing to do for the planet. If you can get the math working in your favor, as well, it can be a good thing for your wallet as well."

    Hybrid and Diesel SUV Roundup (Inside Line)

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • happirockhappirock Posts: 4
    Does anyone have the laser cruise control in their car. Two local dealers told me that they have never seen one on an RX330.
  • spgullspgull Posts: 2
    I drove from Boston to Ft. Myers on 89 octane with my RX330 and got 22.5 mpg.
    My brother drove his RX330 from Hilton Head to Ft.Myers using 93 octane and got 25 mpg. Pretty good test that all things being equal, the car performs better with premium.
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Happirock, I was told the laser cruise control is found in only 1% of 2005 RX330 sold. This was according to a dealer I spoke to (in southern CA).
  • lexusguy311lexusguy311 Posts: 10
    Well folks I thought I would share my experiences with the RX330 after three months of ownerships. The first three months have been great, as expected. I feel that the amount of money paid for the car is well worth it and it could be priced higher IMO. I have not experienced any of the problems posted in the problems and solutions board, and the ride has been flawless. A couple of flaws that I would like to point are 1) this car doesn’t have a coin holder; I can’t believe this! 2) I wish the navigation were more user friendly. My wife has a 04 Accord with navigation and the Honda navigation is a lot more user friendly. The biggest flaw in the Lexus navigation is it prevents users from accessing the phone pad and destinations menu while traveling. I know that Lexus has this as a safety issue but when there is a passenger in the vehicle I see no reason on why they shouldn’t be able to access those menus. Other than those minor grips I am very impressed with the ride, looks, and refinement of the vehicle. The interior of the vehicle is the best in its class. The leather and interior materials are very high class. I had an opportunity to look at the X5 last week while my brother was buying a 05 M3 (lucky!!!!) and I was not impressed at all by BMW’s interior materials, especially the leather which looked very cheap (however, the nappa leather in the M3 is very nice). The cabin in the RX is extremely quiet, I don’t know why this gets so many complaints in the boards. Wind noise is very minimal and the engine is very quite; I have actually tried to turn the car on twice while it was already on. In all I am very happy with my purchase and look to post future findings in the future. :D
  • ttontton Posts: 1
    try http://www.autoaccessory4u.com/index.html they have it for $356 and they also have also have pre-paint for an extra $160...this is whole lot better then the tube.

    let me how it's turn out!

    br,
    tton
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    I am trying to decide between sticking with the standard 17" wheels or upgrading to the 18" wheels before I purchase an AWD RX330. Other than what some consider a more sporty appearance (and 18" tires being more expensive to replace in the future) do the 18" wheels improve performance, handling/cornering, safety or mpg??? The safety, performance and handling/cornering being the most important for me.
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Hi, Can someone tell me how the wheel lock works for the RX330? I remember I got a key for the wheel lock for my Toyota Avalon. I did not find any wheel lock key with the package I received in the car. I also cannot locate any info in the Owner's Manual (did I miss it somewhere)? Any info would be appreciated.
  • gottlsgottls Posts: 21
    When I received my vehicle the wheel lock key was located in the small tool kit next to the jack. This was pointed out by the salesperson
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Gottls, Thanks for the tip. I will look for it there. Crystal2
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    I brought this up in the RX330 vs everybody forum, and I got some good responses. I was hoping by throwing it in this forum, I might gain even more perspective.

    Myself and others have noted that the Mark Levinson system does not replicate FM stations very well, nor does it have much punch (mainly due to its lack of a subwoofer). One person mentioned that since this vehicle is marketed towards 40+ people, that lack of bass response would not be a problem. I was wanting to get some perspective from people with the normal system in the RX, and those with the Mark Levinson version.

    I am currently driving a Pathfinder with a BOSE system, and personally, I feel like I am going to take a step down in the stereo department by upgrading to this Mark Levinson system.

    I am still in the "about to purchase" stage, and I am under 30, so the stereo DOES factor into my equations.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The ambient noise level, even in the LS430, is in the range of 70db at hwy speeds.

    Just what good is it to have an upscale sound system in an automobile, other than bragging rights, unless you plan to spend a lot of time listening to it parked in your nice quiet garage.

    "Lack of bass response..."

    How much is enough....

    Last week in Great Falls MT the car behind us had so much bass response a nearby Corvette burglar alarm was triggered.

    A good hi-fidelity sound system has no need for biased response in the bass range.

    So, the ML is likely more in the true high fidelity "venue" than a system with a separate bass speaker/system.
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    I noted that the ML stereo sounds very flat when listening to FM music. For an upgraded sound system, I felt that it was very underachieving. Yes, the ambient noise may be 70dB, but I don't think that stops anyone from listening to the radio on the highways. The noise level in the RX is quite a bit less than my current vehicle, and I enjoy listening to music at 75mph as much as I do at 15mph. Not too mention, the vehicle was stopped with no ambient noise when I was testing the radio.

    I do not want to blow my ears out (or set off any alarms), and by bass response, I don't mean, the teeth shaking bass you get with big speaker boxes that take up the entire cargo area. I do expect to feel it a little though. It was dull in the RX's ML system. Lexus puts ML subwoofers in sedans, so I don't see why a vehicle with more passenger and cargo area wouldn't warrant one as well. Comparable models (BMW X5, Acura MDX etc.) all do.

    I have no doubt that this system produces hi-fidelity sound with digital sources/CDs, but I would like to know what owners of the RX330 with ML system think about its ability to reproduce FM signals, which is 98% of what I listen to.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    the front passenger seat for the bass speaker/amplifier.
  • hintzhintz Posts: 53
    Does anyone have any information about 2006 RX? Is it going to be RX350?
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    Not having an RX in my possession right now makes this tough to check. Can you explain what you are referring to? When I checked the Lexus website, it said the amp for the Mark Levinson was under the rear passenger seat, so I am not quite sure what you are talking about. :confuse:

    What exactly would I be checking to see other than if it is present?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    In my 2001 RX300 the bass speaker and amplifier are under the front passenger seat.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    " I am currently driving a Pathfinder with a BOSE system, and personally, I feel like I am going to take a step down in the stereo department by upgrading to this Mark Levinson system."

    I have a brand new 2005 RX330 with the Mark Lev stereo, and I have also own a 1991 Acura Legend with a Bose stereo. As far as I am concerned, the 14 year old Bose is the better stereo.

    While I'm on the subject I will add that last month I rented a Kia Amanti which had, as I recall, an Infinity brand stereo system in it. I think it was better then both the Bose and the Mark Lev.

    I think that the Mark Lev marquee is w-a-y over rated. Maybe they build good stereos for home use, but in the car, there are much better manufacturers. That's my opinion anyway.

    Ps. For those techno-data types out there, please skip quoting me the watts, amplitude, harmonic distortion and all that other stuff. I don't need a manual to tell me how good it's supposed to sound. I know what sounds good to my ear, and so do most people.
  • mmm1mmm1 Posts: 54
    This question has probably been answered ad nauseum on this forum but I'm trying to not have to review a hundred- plus posts to find the answer. As a very recent RX 330 owner I can't find anything in the owner's manual about the antenna on the roof. Folding it down doesn't seem to affect the radio reception so what's it for?
  • kenlex41kenlex41 Posts: 18
    I would like to know they answer to that too. At first I thought it was the GPS, because 330's without Nav don't have it, but I read in the Manual that the GPS sensor was in the dash. Also, I was told the radio antenna was in the windshield.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    I only see 11 posts about antennas when I Search This Discussion with the tool near the bottom right of the messages.

    Anyone?

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    The antenna on the roof is a second antenna intended to improve reception in "marginal areas" and is auxiliary to the imbedded-in-glass antenna. Folding it down won't have any effect if the main antenna is picking up a strong signal.

    tidester, host
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    These are my experiences, observations, and opinions about my new, 2005 AWD RX330
    with the Mark Levinson/Navigation Package. I have owned the car for about 5 weeks now.
    I share these in the hope that other prospective owners be forewarned. Obviously there
    will be people who love their cars unconditionally, but regretably, I am not one of them.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Pros: Comfortable Seats, Logical Heat/AC & Radio Controls, Power Tailgate
    Cons: Unrelenting Noise, Transmission Hesitation Dangers, Poor Gas Mileage

    Driving experience

    This SUV is very noisy inside. Indeed, it is not quiet at all, unless you are at
    a dead stop. At speeds 35 mph and over there is excessive wind/road noise that
    intrudes inside the cabin. The Goodyear tires are very noisy (Michelins are less
    so). The engine is very loud and truck like, due in part to a change in the materials
    used for the intake manifold -- from aluminum to less expensive -- and louder --
    plastic. The 5 speed electronically controlled transmission is buggy and often hesitates
    when driving at low speeds, typically around 25 mph. As this hesitation occurs there
    is very little power going to the power train, and then suddenly the car slams into
    gear at about 5000 rpm! This is a problem well known to Lexus RX330 owners, as
    well as LS 330 owners. There has been no fix, and it appears doubtful there will
    be one. In this owners opinion, it is a defect that could get you in a very bad,
    and even fatal accident. The gas mileage is terrible. I am getting 9 -11 mpg in
    town. AWD model exhibits greater road grip and better handling characteristics than
    the 2WD model. The new engine provides ample power.The ride is comfortable except when
    you hit a bump in the road you are jarred and punished in the cabin. Best to avoid
    sudden maneuvers, especially at highway speeds. Braking power is excellent.

    Comfort & convenience

    The seats are wide, supportive and very comfortable. Among the best available. The
    console is well layed out, convenient, and ample. The rear back-up camera is a good
    idea on paper, but in reality it is of little utility. The quality of the lens
    is such that at night, much of the vision field is washed out by even minimal light,
    and due to the fish eye lens, and a lack of a depth gauge, one cannot tell how close
    they are to another object with any certainty. It will help you see if little Johhny
    left his bike in the driveway, and that's about it. The Navigation system, while
    better than anything German cars have to offer, is just OK. Acura and Infiniti offer
    better, easier, and more intuitive systems.

    Comments

    This SUV is a tremendous disappointment, as has been Lexus' attitude toward addressing
    the serious shortcomings of this vehicle. Even though thousands worldwide have
    complained about the transmission hesitation and the noise problems, Lexus appears
    to be doing next to nothing to address these concerns. They use carefully written,
    'legalese' to reply to customer complaints at the dealership, such as the vehicle
    is displaying "normal operating characteristics". Well, the Pinto Wagon (exploding
    gas tanks) and the Ford Explorers (rollovers) were all operating normally right
    before they blew up or rolled over and passengers were injured or killed. I don't
    plan to be one of them. I will likely sell the car. Anyone considering this car
    would do well to test drive it carefully, radio off, and salesman keeping his/her
    mouth shut so you can listen to this car, and look for the transmission slipping
    and hesitating. This SUV is manufactured in Canada and in Japan. Some of those made
    in Canada had brake booster failure problems. Former RX300 owners must know that
    this is truly a completely different car -- excuse me -- SUV. The quiet and refined
    ride you experienced will not be present in this new, so-called improved version.
    Know too that this new RX uses "drive by wire" technology, meaning that a computer
    sensor is interpreting your gas pedal movement. The pedal is no longer connected
    via cable throttle linkage to the fuel injection system. That means that your commands
    to the engine via the pedal must first be interpreted then communicated to the engine
    electronically. Maybe that works well in the latest military jet fighter and commercial
    jets, but it seems to me and to many, that there are still a lot of bugs in this
    concept as it relates to automobiles. It is apparent to this owner that Lexus has
    gone about seeking ways to pull costs and save money on this car. Using one hood
    shock support instead of two, using cheap plastic for an engine manifold instead
    of metal, and what appears to be less sound deadening materials. They have also
    shortened the width of the brake pedal -- what was once a pedal that allowed two
    feet/and or a bigger 'target' in an emergency stop, is now a very small pedal. This
    all adds up to to a lot of sizzle and very little steak; steak that you are paying
    big bucks for. The 18" tires will cost nearly $1,000 when it's time to replace them.

    Even with a bigger engine and a better turning radius, in my opinion, the former RX300
    remains a vastly superior vehicle. It was far more car like than the RX330. Consumer
    Reports (CR) needs to investigate the transmission hesitation, brake booster failures,
    and noise problem and address these concerns in future reviews.Their glowing
    review of this car strongly influenced my buying decision, and while I continue
    to support CR's good work in general, in my opinion, they badly dropped the ball
    as regards this current model.
  • carqueencarqueen Posts: 11
    Has anyone added a towing hitch to their SUV and attempted towing? Less than a year after purchasing the car I'm starting to think it's too small for my family (only 3 of us). Now we want a ski boat - under 3k lbs but the users manual really doesn't recommend towing... Let me know if and what you've heard about the towing capacity of the RX330.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Normally I would say that if towing doesn't involve long climbs or long distances and remains within the designated weight limits the RX would be okay.

    But my 2001 AWD RX300 has the towing package, including the extra ATF cooling heat exchanger, and the hitch was removed the week I bought the vehicle, brand new. Yet something within the transaxle is wearing so rapidly that the ATF was highly contaminated and burned at only 38k miles. This for a transaxle that has NO recommended fluid flush and drain for the life of the vehicle.

    And I seem to be seeing an inordinate number of posts about premature failures of this transaxle in the 60 to 70k miles range.

    And now it's becoming pretty clear that the newer models, the RX330, have this hesitation problem.

    So no, I wouldn't plan to tow anything with an RX300 nor an RX330, nor would I buy one, until some definitive answer to these problems is brought forth.
  • rich18944rich18944 Posts: 14
    I have a 17 foot aluminum boat with a 120 hp outboard that I pulled with my 1999 RX 300. It came with a trailer hitch and a towing package. I had over 150,000 miles on the RX 300 with no problems what so ever. I recently traded it in on a 2005 RX 300 that had a towing package but no hitch. I installed an after market hitch, which because of the location of the spare tire, extends slight past the rear bumper. I am not to happy about that as it defeats the purpose of an energy absorbing bumper. I have only pulled the boat a few times and for only a short distance with the new RX 330, but have had no problems.
  • sharkpsharkp Posts: 3
    Interesting that the roof antenna is auxiliary for marginal areas. I live about 30 miles outside the city - and radio reception in the RX330 is not good. (All my other cars both current and past are noticably better). I wonder if there is a problem with the connection to this antenna which is my problem. Does anyone else think the reception in the RX330 is not as good as in other cars they own?
  • mmm1mmm1 Posts: 54
    Tidester--Thanks for antenna info.

    I have always found that an external antenna (retractable type) gives you better radio reception than the embedded antenna. Neither wife's LS 430 nor my RS 330 gets as good reception as I got in my RX 300 with the retractable antenna. Have noticed this in other cars also. That little folding antenna on the RX 330 just doesn't seem to do the job with weaker signals. Wish they had kept the same antenna that was on the RX 300.
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Finally! Got behind the wheel of the new RX330, AWD, TC Ed. I bought from So. Cal. 4/16/05.

    Took it for a short spin locally. Noticed the ride appeared very comfortable, the ML audio with CD playing classical music middle of the night sounded better than when I first tested the sound while SUV was parked in my driveway. Handling was good, though I had to get used to the bigger support columns on both sides of the windshield; they appeared to block the side vision somewhat. I was amazed at the big size of the side mirrors (hope they add to safety of driving this car). Worse disappointment so far - As noted previously in other posts, the armrests of the driver and passenger seats in the front are pathetic, for any car, let alone a luxury car. I have relatively thin arms and the inside arm rest (towards the middle of the car) felt like it barely contained the width of my arm. I am not sure what it will be like for my husband once he starts driving the car. I did not notice this when I was looking over the car at the dealership.

    No transmission hesitation noticed yet at 20 miles (I believe this problem can occur after more miles have been put into the SUV). I tried to stop the car suddenly, then accelerate to make a left turn to test for hesitation problems; so far, none was apparent. However, I must point out I did not gun the car to pick up speed fast. So I have to see what happens when I have to slow down and then merge quickly into fast-moving traffic, as in a highway.

    There was slight rain outside and occasional big gusts of wind while I was driving. It appears the noise from outside are penetrating into the cabin despite having all windows closed and driving at 35-40 miles/ hr locally. It may be my RX has one of two major problems reported by owners. I will check out the noise level in the cabin coming from the outside when I can drive it in the highway at higher speeds. I hope this will not be a big factor and will not have to result in taking out the crossbars on the roof of the car.

    Overall, the car appears to be very nice after a short initial ride. Will see if the driving experience changes over time.
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