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Lexus RX 330



  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    but I'll check the carpet. And thanks for the compliment - I believe TH can use a lot more.

    The point is - the RX300/330 are NOT designed for high performance. We'll be returning our RX300 off lease in a month or two and a test drive of the RX330 revealed it's got better speed - and the old RX was already fine in all kinds of traffic.

    Those of you coming to SUVs for the first time from regular cars, performance or not, will find out THEY ARE DIFFERENT - duh! After minivans and Explorers and Mountaineers - the RX300 has been a dream vehicle.

    BMW built the first SUV in a performance category; Infiniti's FX35/45 are obviously designed to fit that bill and that's why their owners bought them - not to carry dogs, not to carry kids to soccer - but for performance and handling capabilities. A relative had a '01 MDX and it proved to be a reliable, fine vehicle with a fantastic residual value - but the fit and finish and interior material selection is only a "B" grade compared the to RX330's A grade.

    I personally like high performance - and I get that in a '02 Mustang GT convertible that I mod - but, for us, performance in a SUV would be a total waste - so why put up with the compromises in ride, space (check the back of a X5!) luxury, fit & finish, space, dealer support, etc. that the high performance in SUVs usually mandates? Your mileage may vary.

    Sorry, gotta go...out to the drag strip with the wife's RX300 and beat-up on all the slammed Exploders, Troopers, Pilots, and Not-So-Grand Caravans. And darn those Escalades!

    Whoops - more oozing.
  • I see lots of complaints about the climate control; no reason to complain here. But I am in LA (Lower Alabama) where the temp regularly runs 90+ with relative humidity at least 50-60% before and after our daily thunderstorms so there is never really a need to turn the AC down.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    So...can the problems with the climate control be summed up by saying that you have to keep the A/C running at all times, regardless of outside ambient temperature? I guess for some folks that's not a big deal 'cause I know some friends who set their climate control once and forget it.
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    You mean ya'll northerner's turn your A/C off -- EVER? Wow.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    For those of us new to this issue, how is this system different than many other climate control systems? Why not turn off the A/C button when you want to warm up the interior? I understand the interior may fog up. So? The RX interior shouldn't be more prone to fog up than any other interior, correct? Is the system unable to maintain a set and relatively accurate temperature (assuming set temp is warmer than outside ambient temperature) with the A/C button deactivated? The MDX was the same way.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    You're the expert who can best answer cotmc, I believe.

    In response to gteach26, yes, I personally like to turn off the A/C if I only need heat. With the A/C on, there is more noise, the car is marginally less peppy, and because the revs are raised slightly to compensate for the A/C, the slightly higher stall speed bothers me. Unless I consciously put more pressure on the brake pedal at idle, the car will creep forward on me.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Just received the new Sept 2003 issue of Consumer Reports. The RX330 is now their top-rated recommended SUV. If I may quote one line,

    "Compared with its predecessor, the RX330 is quicker and quieter, and it provides better braking and handling."

    One interesting tidbit I did not know. The tire pressure monitor does not activate any warning if all the tires are equally low.

    They praised the powertrain and "car-like" handling, but I think they stopped short of calling it a high performance machine (and risking the chastisement from certain individuals within this forum!) I think they were fair with their criticism. For example, they note the pronounced body lean during cornering.

    Among the competition: Although the overall score for the VW Touareg was "very good", it was ranked last among all entries in CR's Luxury SUV category. The XC90 T6 was rated slightly above the T-Reg, and the FX35 slightly above that.
  • adb3adb3 Posts: 112
    For perspective buyers:

    I received my performance pkg/NAV from the first shipment off the boat in my area (March). Although I'm a previous Lexus owner, I did extensive study on the 330 and was convinced it would be a great vehicle for my wife (most of the time) and for me (weekends & vacation travel). We are empty nesters so I bought the 330 primarily for luxury and reliability. I added the performance package because I wanted a little spunk with my luxury.

    To sum up our feelings about the 330 to date, it has met or exceeded all our expectations whether as a daily commuter or taking an extended vacation trip to Florida. The build remains rock-solid, reliability superb, and the performance has been more than enough for us.

    The 330 is not for everybody. If you have several kids or a growing family, then the 330 is probably not for you. If you are seeking a high performance SUV, then the 330 will probably not fit your bill. But if you are seeking a nice combination of luxury, reliability, driveability, and prestige, then the 330 should be strongly considered.

    The 330 is not a perfect vehicle, but I think Toyota understands its target consumers as well as any car maker (close to 8400 sold last month--no other luxury SUV model comes close) and the 330 touches most of the bases that folks in this vehicle segment are looking for.

    As for overall performance, I would read the latest MT assessment. I think it hits pretty close on the mark (although I wouldn't characterize the transmission as "mayonnaise") and the FX35/45 is clearly a better performance vehicle. But all things considered, the 330 works best for me, and by the sales numbers a lot of other folks feel the same.
  • Prompted by cotmc (#1237) I just read the consumer's report where they did indeed rate the RX 330 first (ahead of the MDX, FX35, X5, XC90 and Toureg) in that order. For me, there report is the most useful of anything I've seen - I really can't argue with anything they've said.
    But notice the their RX 330 (one that was not provided for the press by Lexus) only did 0-60 in 8.8 seconds. That confirms that the MDX is more than a half-second slower than the MDX. To put it in perspective, the MDX is slower than the FX35 by about the same margin. So if you won't notice that the MDX is slower than the FX35, you probably won't notice that the RX330 is slower than the MDX. But if you DO notice that the MDX is slower than the FX35, then you will also notice, as both my wife and I did, that the RX is slower than the MDX.
    What's more troubling for the RX330 is that the 45-65mph passing time is about a full second slower than the MDX. To put this in perspective, the MDX was only a half-second slower than the FX35 for passing. So passing improves quite noticably moving from the RX330 to the MDX, but not as much so moving from the MDX to the FX35.
    The consumer's report does exactly what it should do. It give the RX330 a best-in-class rating while still noting the downsides of the vehicle. The also recommend the RX330, MDX and FX35 (but not the X5, XC90 or Toureg) and then make statements like: if sportiness is important, choose the FX35.
    Note that consumers like BMW and Infinti best for steering feel. MDX did well, but not as good as Infiniti and BMW. RX330 steering was described as a bit dull.
    So the RX330 falls down in some areas but more than makes up for them in others - rightfully earning right to be called the best. (Now let's just figure out how to reprogram that air conditioning.)
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    This isn't the forum to compare the SUV's. But some of the positive aspects of the RX330 really show through in the CR report. And some of the differences are obvious. RX owners should be happy to have a complete array of safety features lacking in some of the aforementioned vehicles (e.g. the current MDX still lacks side curtain airbags and xenons). Or that the RX has stable and predictable emergency handling (where the MDX tends to have its tail step out, even with the addition of an apparently poor VSA implementation). Not to mention "excellent braking," according to Consumer Reports (and again the MDX falls short here, though not literally). So perhaps the RX isn't the quickest SUV, but it's a winner practically everywhere else.
  • I thought I was the only crazy one. New to this forum I watched and didn't see anyone complain about what has been driving me crazy on my RX330(2 months old & 3000 miles) In the Northeast we have ez pass which allows us to pass through tolls at 15 MPH. Well when you decelerated from highway speed to 15 MPH and glide through the toll booth you find yourself squeezing lightly on the gas to accelerate again and NOTHING HAPPENS. You step harder and still nothing happens until you step far enough down to engage a low gear and the vehicle does all kinds of contortions to fly up to speed. I never had that before with any other vehicle and it happens the same way as cotmc states when rounding a corner from street speed of 35 - 40 MPH to 10 or 15 MPH. How annoying is that? I haven't told Lexus that yet but I surely will. I hope they have a remedy for it. This is my 1st time on town hall and love it. I also love my RX330 except for the aforementioned problem.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Of course if you have the Performance Pkg you can control your RPM's by using the manual mode, in those situations where you want to accelerate quickly. I realize that not everyone wants to do this, but it's an option for those that have it.

    Also I need to ask, are you buying regular grade fuel? I wonder if the acceleration would improve if you tried premium? Our dealer recommended at least mid-grade (90 octane) for better performance.
  • I don't have the performance package but I find it hard to believe that the performance I described is normal. I really shouldn't need a performance package to accelerate "NORMALLY" after a slowdown in the speed ranges I described. Thanks for the suggestion. I have used about 50-50 in regular gas and premium gas. Each about every other tankful.
  • Thanks for the help on manually downshifting. I will try it although I still don't think that should be necessary. Hey-if it works, I'm for it. Whenever I enter the carwash I move the wiper stalk up 1 indent. All the way up is spring loaded for 1 wipe. It's springload resting point is off and 1 indent down from that is auto rain sensor. The off on my 330 disarms the rain sensor. Problem is, ya gotta remember to do it or you might lose your wipers. Bad design I think. Hey, do you take off that little stubble antenna at the carwash? That too is sort of a pain in the butt. The book says to remove it. I laid it down once before I read the book and nothing happened but I don't want to lose that either.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You can disable the A/C completely by simply disconnecting the refrigerant pressure sensor infront of the radiator/A/C condensor assembly just behind the front grille.

    Or for more convience you can add a switch in the same line. The A/C ECU is mounted just under the passenger side glove box.

    THere is a definite danger involved in allowing the A/C to operate without the owners knowledge in the wintertime in defrost mode. ONce you leave defrost mode the accumulated mositure will oftentimes quickly eavaporate into the airstream and suddenly fog the cold windshiled over again.

    If the interior of your windshield should fog up during cooler weather, even slightly, turn up the heating level dramatically and then activate the defrost function.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    Regretably your Lexus service managers are correct. THe bottom line is the fact that Lexus has improved the MPG rating by restricting exiting airflow from the vehicle.

    With little "conditioned" airflow leaving the vehicle the A/C compressor doesn't have to cycle as often and the blower can run much slower and the A/C condensor functionality also becomes more efficient.

    But all that also results in the mositure from human body functions and the many other sources remaining within the vehicle for extended periods. Lexus' answer (NipponDenso, Denso US, really) is to "supply" extraodinarily "dry" incoming airflow by dehumidifying it via the use of the A/C.

    Sound like a "Catch 22"? IT IS!

    The other dilema, much more serious, is that they truly believe the A/C system can ALWAYS be used to defog the windshield when the laws of physics clearly define that it cannot.

    My procedure, LS400 and RX300, is to disable, completely, the A/C during the winter months. If I happen to need windshield defog/demist functionality (much less likely without massive amounts of moisture being accumulated within the A/C plenum by the condensor) I first turn up the heating level and then activate the defog/demist function.

    My 92 LS is equipped with a switch just by my right knee which adds a resistor in series with the cabin temperature sensor making the climate control "think" the cabin is COLD, which I flip just before activating the defog function. That same capability is available in the RX with a quick clockwise twist of the temperature setpoint knob.

    THe 92 LS also has four 12 volt muffin fans mounted within the rear truck quarter panels to serve as airflow extraction fans when the system is switched to defog/demist or when the rear window defog is on.

    Happy motoring...
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "Or for more convience you can add a switch in the same line. The A/C ECU is mounted just under the passenger side glove box."

    I'd like to repeat my question from post #1235, since it was not directly answered. At the risk of appearing incredibly dense, why not turn off the A/C button on the center console? You know, the one located next to the air recirculation button. Or is the A/C button omitted if you have the NAV option??
  • We have about 5000 miles on an RX330. Since we first drove the car, there has been a drive train howl which is most pronounced at around 60 mph. We have had the exhaust recall serviced however that has not alleviated the problem, which seems to be getting more pronounced. It does not appear to be tire related since the sound changes pitch based on the load on the drive train. Has anyone else experienced this problem and if so, what have you done. The lexus dealer indicated that no announcements re: this problem have come out of Lexus. Our only solution seems to be "turn up the radio".
  • I to have noticed the poor response when re-accelerating after having slowed down. I typically notice it on left-hand turn where my speed is probably down to about 15mph as you stated. The problem exists in my 2003 MDX, but to a lesser extent - still annoying. The problem did not exist in the Infiniti FX35 and Nissan Murano - both of which have better throttle response. Now that I own and RX330 and an MDX, I'll experimnent with both and report anything I find.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    What you don't know because the RX doesn't "tell" you is that the A/C compressor is operated without an indication in either defog/demist mode, full or partial. THe only way to avoid that and the resulting fogged over windshield is by disabling the A/C compressor in some more permanent manner.

    And, additionally, it's really something of a task to always remember to turn the A/C off each and every time the system turns it back on.

    "set it" and forget it I say!
  • as offered as a remedy by bmwbob27 I tried downshifting when approaching a toll booth or making a left or right turn. He suggested shifting from highway speed to 4th, then 3rd and roll out at 15 MPH in third.. This didn't work so I continued on into 2nd & that did a whole lot of good. Didn't get that violent passing gear downshift feeling but did get an acceleration response. Only complaint is I didn't buy a stick shift car and now find myself shifting a lot and remembering to do it. Oh well, whatever works is better than before.
  • does anyone know if the directional signal flashing unit can be changed for a different style. I find the unit is so quiet as to be almost silent and therefore find myself riding with the signals on for extended periods occasionally. I hate being one of those people you ride behind and say "that idiot must be sleeping" because he left his signal on. but I do find when I use them for a gradual turn or lane change, they don't go off with the steering wheel and stay on until I look at my dashboard. A louder flashing unit would do the trick but I don't know if a different style one could be used interchangeably.
  • awjenniawjenni Posts: 6
    I have an RX-330 (AWD, VP, NAV, Heated seats) on order and have been reading here about the "problem" of the A/C compressor always being on, or at least always under control of the climate control system. That would irritate me.

    In most cars with climate control, the system will decide when to turn on (engage the clutch) the compressor based on the temperature selected by the driver and the actual inside temperature. There is also usually a button, "econ," "AC", or something similar, on the dashboard that gives the driver the ability to prevent the compressor from ever being turned on automatically.

    From what I have read here, it sounds as if there is no way to disable the compressor on the RX330 short of hard wiring in some sort of in-line switch.

    Is that true?

    In an earlier post on this list, I believe I read that you can ask the dealer to program the climate control computer, or whatever, so that you have the ability to turn off the compressor.

    Is that true?

    I know there are times when you would like to run the compressor AND the heat at the same time... I would like to be the one to make that decision. If the temperature is 70 degrees in and out; I don't want the compressor to be running.

    Does anyone know for sure how this all works??

    Thanks in advance.

    Al Jennings
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Hard-wired switch is the only answer.
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    ...before you get convinced that Lexus and their HVAC (heating-ventilation-air conditioning) vendor, Denso, are the Evil Twins of the Auto World - note the following:

    a. There was a lawsuit against Lexus about 10 years ago - and the plaintiff lost in court over his claim that the windshield fogging in a LS400 was a deadly design fault and We All Were Going to Die If We Were Dumb Enough to Buy a Lexus etc etc

    b. Since that time the same plaintiff has purchased several more Lexus models with essentially the same exact Denso HVAC system - including two RX models; he also claims he is buying a third RX, a 2004 RX330, in the near future

    c. Each Lexus vehicle that this plaintiff buys he then modifies with various little electrical bits of this or that, a relay here, a resistor there.

    d. Meanwhile, back at Lexus Central, the RX is selling at an all-time record pace with the new 330 model. It's the only current Lexus model selling at or near MSRP at many dealerships with waiting lists.

    e. Along with thousands of other long time RX300 owners that watch these boards, I've had not a single problem with my windshield fogging to any degree beyond what all my other vehicles have done in the past and continue to do today.

    f. I will give you my Secret Plan - ready?
    When it fogs up, I turn on the A/C, set the fan at high speed, hit the button marked Windshield -and guess what? In 20-40 seconds...the fog is gone! A miracle of modern automotive science - how DO they do it?!

    Bottom line? If you're interested in saving $20 a year on a $42k vehicle and cutting-up Home Depot furnace filters to replace the factory recirculation one behind your upcoming RX330's glove box, then you have found your leader.

    Gosh, sure hope someone can write a post asking about the RX Nav system and then the RX AWD system and the "poison air that will kill us all" - that's the reasoning behind a recent post on this board that "Lexus wants to improve fuel economy so they don't pull enough fresh air into the vehicle so I had to install several muffin fans to get the job done." Inquiring minds have got to know - blueberry or banana?

    So next time you read about the Lexus Killer Fog or the Lexus Killer AWD or the Lexus Killer Air Trapped Inside...remember, this same plaintiff has purchased what, 4?...5?...6? Lexus vehicles?

    Judge for yourself the likely validity of the fogging complaint... aginst the 300-400,000 RX owners since 1999 that have had no problems.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    ... discussing Mr. West or Lexus?

    We all bring our cumulative biases and experiences into any discussion including you! Everyone knows how to filter that out so it doesn't require broadcasting. :-)

    Let's stay on topic and not discuss each other.

    tidester, host
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    A quick question, if you don't mind:

    How often, roughly, would you say you have to switch on the A/C, not for cooling purposes, but solely to defog the interior? I guess to make my question easier to understand, maybe I should word it this way: Do you find that you have to have the A/C on almost all the time -- for cooling in the summer, and for defogging in the winter?

    And in reference to your post #1257, with all due respect, I think it is not surprising that the "problem" with the HVAC does not generate a lot of negative reaction with the buying public. The reason is that for most people, when they buy a vehicle with auto climate control, they have no problem just dialing in their preferred temp, set the system on auto and just leave it for life. But there are some people (I'm one, perhaps Mr. Jennings is another) who don't like the compressor on all the time. The marginally higher fuel consumption doesn't bother me too much. But when the compressor is on, it does dull the car's response slightly, but noticeably, along with a bit more noise and vibration. And that bothers me.

    So even though most will say "So what" when they hear the A/C has to be always on, I don't think this issue should be dismissed as only wwest's whimsical fantasy.
  • mrrogersmrrogers Posts: 391
        I remember years ago a vacuum operated switch that would shut off the A/C compressor during acceleration because the vacuum was much less in that mode. This may help the owners who don't want to give up their performance when the A/C compressor is on. Do you remember this switch? I didn't see one in my latest JC Whitney catalog, and my brief web search failed to turn up one.
  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    You can ask the dealer to change the compressor mode. i.e. you can decouple the compressor from the auto button and then you can activate the compressor manually by hitting the a/c button. Ask your dealer for the whole list of options you can program on your climate control, including offset to the thermostat.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The A/C ecu's signal to turn the compressor on passes through the engine ecu so it can disable the compressor at WOT or rising water jacket temps.

    lampen: Are you really sure about this? I would sincerely wish it so. I would like nothing more than to have the dealer be able to turn the HEAT up when I activate defrost/defog/demist on colder days when the incoming airflow is already colder than the A/C condensor is allowed, HARD programmmed, to go.
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