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Lexus RX 300



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have never seen ANY information, spoken, written, or published by Lexus that in any way could be called fraudulent regarding the actual workings, static or dynamic, of the Lexus RX300 AWD system.

    If it were considered a fraudulent act to not state the true nature of the beast (why does that statement remind me of a certain USAF recruiter) then we would have something to act upon.

    All you will hear from Lexus is that the RX300 AWD system is "full-time 4WD", or "permanent 4WD" (substitute AWD for 4WD if you want to). And I for one do not disagree with those statements.

    The problem is that those statements alone do not go for enough to describe the RX300 AWD systems, and I doubt that you will ever find anyone from Lexus who will willingly enter into a discussion regarding the operation of the RX300 AWD system operating under the highly dynamic roadbed conditions owners encounter throughout the year.
  • Bought our new 2001 RX yesterday. Car is great except the driver and passenger seat are extremely uncomfortable! My husband and I are 5'2" and 5'7" respectively. ANY IDEAS? Please help.
  • My husband is 5'7" and I am 5'2". Short but not so smart tonight. Please help anyway.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    What car seats do you normally sit upon?
    In comparison to a Camaro the Rx seats are very comfortable, but in comparison to an LS430?
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    Mickey -

    Remember, if all else fails, Read-Your-Manual.

    At 5'2" and 5'7", my 2001 RX manual indicates that both of you should be comfortable because you are both within the RX height specifications for ownership.

    However, the manual does suggest using both front seats instead of just one. I know that people of a certain height enjoy snuggling-up and it is getting close to winter now.

    I assume that during the test drive that neither one of you were allowed INSIDE the vehicle? Boy, that's one strict Lexus dealer.

    If all else fails, you'll both have to try the back seat. My Giant Schnauzer swears by it.
  • Kimwipes, it could be wife's 99 AWD shows 17.2 for 37K mostly city miles. Oh, well.....if we had the roof rack it would be worse.

    Mickey7777, I'm at a loss to explain seating comofort issue, as I'm 5'9" and SHE WHO KNOWS AND MUST BE OBEYED is 5' (5'1" if she really stretches) and neither of us have any complaints. I'll grant you that they aren't on par with, say, the Recaros in ww's Porsche.....but on the rare long trip, the RX runs out of gas long before I (or she) run(s) out of.....uh......rump. Did the RX you test drove feel the same??
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Congrats on your new RX300. Perhaps if you provide a bit more detailed information as to the circumstances and areas where and when you and your husband are uncomfortable in the vehicle's seats, the other RX owners in here will have a few suggestions on seat positioning that may help to increase your comfort?

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  • I do have AWD and according to some of the post that might explain it, thanks.

    Regarding seats, we find them very comfy, but then our previous car was a Corolla.

    wwest, what MPG would I have expected from the Corolla on a rainy day on the PDX/SEA trip?
  • psripsri Posts: 6
    I don't know if you are referring to the same issue but I also felt that the Captain Seats of the RX somewhat awkward and uncomfortable. Being used to the typical sedan (Infiniti I30) center armrest, I found the captain seats a little constraining and with the left and right arm-rests at different heights, kind of unnatural.
    Excepting on long trips I find myself keeping the right arm-rest upright mostly; I had to try out several different seat positions/reclinations/head-rest/lumbar settings before I could settle down to using one setting. The seat memory feature helps a great deal in trying out incremental changes.
    I would like to hear other users' comment/experience on this.
  • Thanks for the reply posts, especially 3220and 3221. The reason we mentioned our heights is that I heard that some seats a designed for taller people. My son has a 1999 RX300 and we drove it for a day and it seemed O.K. I did not know if there was a seat change. It seems that the seat is hitting hard in the middle of the back causing a sore back. I have the lumbar support In so it is not hitting, which seems more confortable for me.
  • mvs1mvs1 Posts: 462
    Now that you mentioned it they aren't as comfortable as my 94'ES300. I'm 6' tall the adjustment I play with the most is the lumbar, can't seem to get it right. And I actually use the passenger arm rest when I'm driving alone, just didn't think about how awkward that is until these posts. I definetly need to trade in this vehicle : )
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Recently you submitted a question to the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department.

    Fw: Trac

    Dear Mr. West:

    Thank you for contacting Lexus Customer Satisfaction.

    In a limited traction situation, the viscous coupling is "hardware-controlled" power delivery, which helps get power to the end of the car with more traction.

    The four-wheel TRAC system is "software controlled" power delivery. In limited traction situations, this helps get power to the individual wheel(s) of the vehicle.

    The two systems work together to provide increased traction control.

    Your Question:
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Willard West
    Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 12:32 PM
    Subject: Trac

    I have a 2001 RX300.

    My understanding of the Trac system is that it will automatically brake any wheel or wheels which lose traction and begin to turn faster. It is also my understanding of the AWD system that the nominal torque distribution front to rear is 70/30 and if the front wheels lose traction the differential turning rate causes the fluid in the viscous clutch coupling to "stiffen" which increases the torque coupling to the rear wheels. I understand that the torque distribution can be as high as 51/49 front to rear once the viscosity of the fluid is increased through this circumstance..

    My question is this: If the Trac is used to "quickly" prevent wheelspin, how is it possible for the viscous clutch (with a much longer "time constant") to "sense" differential turning rates long enough for it to have any positive affects?

    Willard West

    If your issue remains unresolved, please update this question here.

    You may also update this question by replying to this message. Because your reply will be automatically processed, you MUST enter your reply in the space below. Text entered into any other part of this message will be discarded.

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    If you have any further concerns, you can also reach the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time. Sincerely, Jessica Caldwell Customer Satisfaction Representative
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Recently you submitted a question to the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department.


    At 07/18/2001 07:36 AM we wrote -

    Dear Mr. West:

    I am following up with you regarding your inquiries on viscous coupling and the normal distribution ratio. The definition of "viscous coupling" found in the Lexus web site is a dictionary definition and does not necessarily mean this is how our system operates.

    The normal torque distribution ratio front to rear generally has a ratio of 50/50, but there are factors that can affect this ratio (ex. going around a corner, accelerating up a hill, etc.)

    If you need any further assistance, you can also reach the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time.

    Your Question:
    Dear sirs,

    At under RX "specifications", "viscous coupling" "window", you state that the coupling compensates for slippage right to left and front to rear, is this statement actually correct? I can see how the viscous coupling "clutch" can "tighten" the coupling coefficient between the directly driven front axle and the rear axle (driven only through the viscous clutch) when there is a differential turning rate between the two but I don't see how this can happen left to right with the intervention of the VSC or Trac system.

    Is your statement on viscous coupling specifications correct, or am I wrong?

    Also, I'm quite sure that my salesman, when I bought the 2000 RX ( I have since upgraded to the 2001 RX for the added benefits of VSC, Trac, and HID), told me that the normal torque distribution ratio front to rear was something in the range of 70/30. I have since seen many statements in various automotive media stating a ratio of 50/50. As I understand the setup the torque coupling can increase under front/rear slippage conditions to very close to 50/50, but never actually greater than 51/49 front to rear.

    Which is correct?

    Thanks for your time,

    Willard West

    If your issue remains unresolved, please update this question here.

    You may also update this question by replying to this message. Because your reply will be automatically processed, you MUST enter your reply in the space below. Text entered into any other part of this message will be discarded.

    [===> Please enter your reply below this line <===]

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    If you have any further concerns, you can also reach the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time. Sincerely, Kevin Saylan Customer Satisfaction Representative
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    Lexus supplied my 2000 GS300 with yellow fog lights and I have just discovered via a post on clublexus that this is unique to the GS with HID.

    My immediate response was why?

    But after thinking it over I came to the realization that the GS with HID is equipped with yellow fog lights to increase the driver's vision, forward contrast, in foggy conditions.

    HID light output is of a much wider spectrum, whiter, than is normal automotive lighting. So Lexus equips its GS with HID with yellow fogs to partially compensate and thus give the driver more forward vision, more contrast, in foggy conditions.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The only time torque steering is really noticeable in my 2001 RX AWD is when entering a hard, tight, turn to the right while having a moderate to high level of power applied.

    In that circumstance it appears to want to go further to the right than I have the steering wheel.
  • I can induce a slight amount of torque steer also in low traction circumstances, even in a straight line, if I really nail it.

    (ww, lest you think me guilty of plagiarism, I had not read your posts here on Edmunds till after I had posted my note over on CL!! I always attribute my sources, just like I was taught many moons ago.)

    And now I have to go look at the fogs on my GS.....thought they were white but haven't had them on, either.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Your quest is interesting in that there does not seem to be an industry standard for defining AWD systems. I think every manufacturer is free to call their system whatever they want and it is an exercise in futility to actually determine the nuances (prestidigitation?) of how it works.

    Now that there is no doubt our summer is gone for good, I am looking forward to putting my AWD system to the wet pavement!

    BTW, in a nutshell, the response you received states that the viscous coupling (hardware) distributes power from front to rear and the TRAC system (software) distributes power from left to right. It seems like a much more complicated way of doing the same thing that GM's Versatrak system does, except that Versatrak doesn't waste torque (and friction) by sending 50% of the power to the rear during normal driving. Do you have any knowledge of the difference between these two systems?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The only thing I know about GM is just enough to be able to openly disparage the FWD cadillac. Regardless of what Lexus says about the RX having 50/50 torque distribution, it doesn't, except maybe when the viscous clutch is completely "firmed up".

    You noticed their, Lexus' disclaimer, escape clause, I'm sure.

    Like you, I expect to rely on my AWD to get me through the winter months safely. But I have no intention of going forward into winter blindly, if I discover the RX will not handle it to my satisfaction, it will be off to BMW, as much as I hate the very thought.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Styling: Does function trump style?

  • "if I discover the RX will not handle it to my satisfaction, it will be off to BMW"

    I'm sure the people on the X5 board are screaming in terror at the very thought....

    I hope the BMW customer service folks can diagram a viscous clutch for you.
  • Hey people, I just got my RX two months ago (White Gold Crystal) with the beige interior. I actually find the seats very comfortable but yes, you have to find that perfect adjustment, and then set the memory for it. The lumbar support is great - has a wide degree of support settings. I set it on max - last time I drove for 3 hours it was very comnfortable. Enough so that I didn't even think about the lumbar.

    My seats, however, are showing signs of dirt. They are of the ivory leather variety. Can you share your experiences with leather care - make product recommendations? I've been leaning towards getting Zaino's cleaner/conditioner, but heard Hide Food is good. I'd like to keep the leather supple and don't want the shiny look.

    Thanks guys
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    You may want to read the Leather seat maintenance discussion topic. I think you'll find everything that you need in there.

    I hope this helps!

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  • Thanks but I checked that forum and there was little written specifically about leather in the RX or Lexii in general. Having looked at competing SUVs (ML, MDX, X5), I found the RX's leather more soft, supple and delicate than the others. So I wondered if anyone else in this forum might be able to share their experiences with their RXs.

    I sure love this SUV - it rides amazingly smooth and quiet. And it attracts women's attention like a Ferrari 360 Modena (no, I am not exaggerating!) :-)

    BTW who is this Willard West character? I've read the back posts and this guy strikes me as highly anal-retentive, and living an overall miserable life. I can't think of anything dumber than obsessing over something like how the RX's AWD works. I mean, Road and Track (I think it was R&T .. I read so many publications ...) tested it against every luxury SUV, and the RX made it out from over the rocks, gullies and streams okay. Not in stellar fashion as the truck-based SUVs did, but it got through courses as an SUV should without ever needing a tow. In fact, it ranked #3 out of 7 or 8. In comparison, I think Willard will survive the winter snow, unless his abnormal fear of AWD not working compels him to stay at home. Maybe he can hibernate or something.

    I say just enjoy the RX dude ...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, you're perfectly right, rather than being obsessed with good wintertime traction for personal safety I could be a lot more creative if I concentrated my efforts on keeping the Lexus seat leather supple and delicate.

    BTW, I have used Lexus products, cleaner and conditioner, purchased at the Lexus parts department, beginning with my first Lexus purchased almost ten years ago, a new 92 LS, and while the seats don't really look new anymore, they are still "supple and delicate".

    Maybe on some counts Lexus does know what it's doing.
  • Willard

    You're such a punk, but I know you find that to be a compliment. Maybe you should get the X5 and harass the Bimmer forums. They'd rip you a new poopchute. But then you'd be twice as anal.

    When you bought your LS, which was rear wheel drive (and had Trac, I suppose), did you worry about snow conditions? Hey, remember those commericals where they drove an LS across an ice pond and it was able to stop on a dime? Did you try that yourself and find it not to be true? Did you sue Lexus for it? Did the ice water affect your brain?

    Why did you buy your RX anyway? If goodies and leather are not your priority, and AWD is, seems to me you had plenty of other options that would've made you happy. Considering all your gripes about the RX, the options you had available, and your lack of pre-purchase research, looks like you brought all this anguish and trauma on yourself. What a sad case.
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    Fasterthanu - sure, you can go to Lexus to get leather maintenance products, like Willard, and pay 2-3 times what they're worth.

    Or you can go to Pep Boys or KMart and get Lexol's products, the separate cleaner and conditioner and their VinylTex (?) for the non-leather items, which do just as good a job.

    Hey, it's just good quality cowhide in a Japanese SUV - not Connolley matched hides in a Roller!

    Hey Willard - you must live next door to that Lexus dealer since a) you found it without a trustworthy Nav and, b)it wasn't snowy or icy out so you managed to keep your RX on the road with the rubber things pointed down.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Has NOTHING to with STOPPING on a slippery surface, the commercial you are mis-remembering had to do with its ability to get up and go on that icy lake surface.

    I have found that the nicest thing about Trac on my 92 Lexus is that button on the dash that allows me to TURN IT OFF.

    I think you might have a basic misunderstanding about Trac on an LS vs an RX. Most of us of my age have gotten there because we learned long ago to accelerate sl-o--w---l---y on a slippery surface. When you operate a vehicle properly to begin with in these conditions you have no need of a computer to apply BOTH REAR BRAKES SIMULTANEOUSLY, and certainly we have learned not to persist with a floored throttle such that now the computer has to dethrottle the engine because the idiot behind the steering wheel doesn't have enough sense to do so.

    The Trac on the RX is there for a completely different reason, to eliminate the need, nay REQUIREMENT, for mechanical Limited Slip Differentials. The RX300, With three OPEN differentials, and absent the presence of LSD or Trac, could not move out of its own way with just one wheel slipping.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Let's get back to discussing the RX300, and not other Town Hall participants. Everyone's opinions are equally valued here.


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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    You may be happy to know that the advice in the Leather maintnance topic applies to all leather seats, so it doesn't matter if it's from a Jaguar or a Lexus :-). I have good luck with Lexol's products myself, but others have also highly recommended Connolly Hide Food.

    Good luck and please keep us updated as to what you personally find the best.
  • Willard,
    I don't know how long you have had your RX and why you bought it, but I can assure you that my AWD RX (MY2000, so it doesn't have trac) does very well in slippery conditions and can definitely move out of its way.
    This past winter I was caught in a really bad snow storm. I was going up a hill and the car before me stopped so I had to stop as well. I forget what make the car before me was but it took him about 10-15 minutes of slipping and sliding around before he could start moving up that hill again. I was just standing behind him and praying that he doesn't slide back as I didn't have room to move. Well, once he finally got out of my way, my RX had no trouble whatsoever starting to move and accelerating up the hill on extremely slippery surface.
    I don't care if you call it AWD, 4WD or if in theory it cannot possibly work. I assure you it works! (I hope though that you will buy that BMW and move to the other boards to harass other people).
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