Lexus RX 300



  • tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    wwest, mooretorque,

    Let me add something to the whole customization issue.

    US buyers, most often than not, buy from the dealer's (over)stock. It's convenient, it's fast, and salespeople can talk you into a contract RIGHT THEN! Germans are more of a distinguishing breed, they would get sick if their neighbor had the exact same options on his new car. They are also used to planning their purchase, and therefore can afford (time wise) to custom-order their new ride. Waiting times of 6-12 months for new MB-models are considered the price you pay for being first, try that with the average US clientele...

    Anyway, the point is that Porsche has driven it to the extreme with their customization efforts, but what is wrong with being able to get the new car's paint to match the color of my favorite shirt? As to value, customers will decide, and in Porsche's case, their fans are all grins.

  • 4424jm4424jm Member Posts: 25
    I have had my ( i should say my wifes rx for 5 days now and we love it. Does anyone know if the wood steering wheel and shift knob can be put on after market and at what cost?
  • malhokcmalhokc Member Posts: 83
    Another website is

    I've haded it for about 7 months. Totally love it, really comes in handy during parking and highway driving.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
  • rparis2rparis2 Member Posts: 46
    I lknow what the specifications indicate, however, for half highway and hal city driving how many miles per gallon does the Rx average and do most people use the 87 octane unleaded gas?

  • harryrogers1harryrogers1 Member Posts: 40
    I have had my RX300SE just over a week. No complaints yet. But an observation. This is the first vehicle that I have owned in 42 years of driving that doesn't have an ashtray for the rear passengers. Out of curiousity is this the norm for you in the US?

  • levyroblevyrob Member Posts: 22
    I brought my wife's RX300 in for the 10K service and to look at a few problems.

    First, the passenger side rear door lock mechanism started making a crunching sound when closed via the master lock control -- this required a new mechanism which was replaced. Upon picking up the car and confirming the repair, the driver's rear door suddenly started doing the same thing. At least it happened right there when I was picking up the car. It does call into question the lock mechanism (which continued to work despite the sound).

    The other problem is a slight clicking sound under the dash in the vicinity of the driver's left footrest. For some reason, the dealer changed out the accelerater spring, which did not solve the problem. This clicking sounds like a relay, and usually only occurs at freeway speeds. I actually heard a similar sound coming from the loaner Corolla they gave me. I've seen mention of this sound once before and am wondering if anyone else has heard it or gotten is fixed. It is fairly faint, but it's driving me crazy in an otherwise quiet machine.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    Glad to hear you are enjoying the car... I might actually get to drive mine this weekend .

    I remember growing up that most cars I rode in had ashtrays in the rear armrests in the doors. As smoking as become more and more taboo in the U.S., things like ashtrays are slowly fading away. No, there is no rear ashtray in the U.S. RX.

    But one thing you could do: In my '99 Pontiac Grand Am sedan, the ashtray is actually and option that inserts into the driver's area cupholder. Know that cupholder in the center of the rear seats below the seat cushion? You could probably get one of these "cup holder" ashtrays and insert it there.

    Hell, I'll give you mine since I don't smoke .
  • xcaliberxcaliber Member Posts: 4
    Very slight clicking when you go above 75 mph. It did sound like a relay switching on or off. Very evident and annoying when traveling at night with sound system off.

    Replicated the problem to the dealer and was able to pinpoint it to a clip at the fender after a week in the shop. Have not heard it since.

    One drawback: the dealer left a half a centimeter deep scratch at the driver side door. It is still very evident even though they have retouched it. Mine is the ivory colored 2000 RX AWD. Should I have them repaint the whole door? What do you guys think? I'm just wary of having to do this as white is very hard to match. The service advisor said retouching is the best they can do. Please advise.
  • harryrogers1harryrogers1 Member Posts: 40

    Thanks for the offer. Perhaps you could drop it in next time your passing by.
    Actually I gave up smoking 14 years ago after being a 40 a day man. I was just curious about the lack of one.

    My local dealership is having an off road test a RX300 day later in the month. I hope to go along and see how it behaves in the mud. It will be good to try it out in someone elses car instead of mine. I'll let you know what happens.

  • rmorin2rmorin2 Member Posts: 110
    Has anyone purchased or considered purchasing an extended warranty for their RX? My wife intends to keep her RX for at least 6, probably 8 years, so I am thinking about purchasing the extended warranty, but only from an authorized Lexus dealer. Is the price negotiable? I would be interested in hearing what others have paid and whether you think they are worth the cost.

    We are still trying to resolve the rumbling/reverberation in our vehicle when it is idling in gear. The factory representative is now involved since our dealer could not diagnose the cause.

    Thanks for your input.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    A couple of quick facts:

    Most extended warranties (including the Lexus one) can be purchased anytime while the vehicle is still under the orginal factory warranty. Most folks don't now this and feel presured to buy it right away from the dealer. Actually, you have to get the Lexus EW within 3/36K of the new car purchase.

    EWs are DEFINITELY negotiable, the dealers get them for a very low cost and resell them.

    Now for the subjective stuff:

    Is it worth it? Here's a couple of thoughts.

    First, let's say an EW costs $1500. One could take this money as soon as they buy the car and invest it. At a 10% return a year compounded, they'd have $2200 at the end of 4 years sitting around for an emergency repair. If you believe that this vehicle is reliable and nothing happens by 6 years, that money is now worth $2660 and is yours do whatever you want with. Maybe put it towards another Lexus? <g>

    The second school of thought is piece of mind, knowing that if anything was to happen between years 4 - 6, that you'd be covered financially.

    Another important part to remember with EWs is true value you are getting for your money. Don't forget you alreay have a 4 year b2b warranty on this vehicle. People think "wow, $1500 is fair for a 6 year warranty." Wrong. You're paying $1500 for only 2 years of coverage. Doesn't seem like such a value now does it.

    What would I do? Not sure yet, but like I said, you have time to make up your mind as long as it is still within 3/36k.

    For more info goto

    Hope this helps,


  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    Hey all-

    I just installed a set of floorliners for my new RX. They are from Huskyliner and they are NOT all weather mats like the generic size ones from WeatherTech. These are custom cut for your vehicle. I just installed them and fit is very precise.

    The front consists of two liners, one for the passenger and one for the driver. The things cover the entire area, the drivers side is even cut and molded to go over the dead-pedal.

    The rear is one piece that covers the entire 2nd row. This is fantastic for my 3-year old who scoots in and out with dirty sneakers on.

    I am very pleased with the fit.

    They come in grey, black and tan. The tan I got does nicely with the ivory leather. I'm now thinking of getting the cargo liner for the back.

    Here's an idea of what the liners would look like (not my car):

    I got my set from Roadworks Car & Truck, free shipping when you buy any combination:

    If you live in any area that gets inclement weather, I HIGHLY recommend these. I'll simply store the factory mats until Spring.

    Hope this helps,


  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    In case any of you are wondering why the title of this topic has changed, it is because since most of the RX300 activity has been in this topic, we've decided to shut down the other rarely used RX300 discussion topic and move the traffic here instead. As such, the title has been changed to reflect the consolidation.

    BTW, the message above was moved from the other RX300 topic to this one, hence the Jan 27th post date.

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  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
  • rockyballrockyball Member Posts: 22
    I unfortunately know how much the wood steering wheel costs for a 2001 RX300. Someone tossed a brick thru my window and put a couple of very tiny nicks in the wheel. Here is the damage:

    Steering wheel $2,534.00
    Airbag pad $ 832.86
    Labor $ 72.00
    Shop supplies $ 3.60
    Total $3,443.44
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    Hi Tony,

    Yes, Steve and I are trying to streamline and organise the SUV message board. :-) FYI, "SUVs" is the 2nd most active message board in Townhall (Sedans is 1st and Vans is 3rd most active).

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  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    If I can just get RX300 into the "top ten" discussions, I'll be happy. I love the way you nudge the ML320 into top ten ;-)

  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, Tony. ;-) ;-)
  • pbk77pbk77 Member Posts: 23
    Anyone else have a squeaky driver seat? If so, was the dealer able to fix it quickly? Any help is appreciated!
  • socamposocampo Member Posts: 7
    My wife and I have an ongoing debate on whether we should get an AWD or FWD RX300 when we are ready to buy one. We live in the Washington, DC area where we average no more than a 6 to 8 light snow showers and a couple (probably 3 at the most)of heavy ones each year, most of them easily handled by our old FWD Toyota Corolla workhorse. I don't want to tell who's leaning to what model. I would like to get opinions on whether the benefits of AWD is worth the cost and is necessary knowing the kind of winter weather we get around here or if the FWD model would be sufficient. All input will be appreciated.
  • rparis2rparis2 Member Posts: 46
    How miles per gallon do present owners of the RX300 get when it is half highway and half city driving? Is the mpg accurate based on the sticker?
  • avery1avery1 Member Posts: 373
    I use 87 octane and have 40,000 miles on a '99. I get 21-22 on hwy., about 15.5 -17 when it is 3/4 town and 1/4 hwy. The town part has lots of hills. Go up and over a 1,000 hill 4 times a week.
  • spakcharspakchar Member Posts: 37
    I average 18 mpg in a 50-50 format. On road trips I average 80+ mph and average about 20. When driving around town I've noticed that jackrabbit starts out of a stoplite really hurts the mileage, gradula accel is best. Hills also make a large difference. To get optimal mileage it takes a determined effort around town or cruising at 75 or so on the hwy.
  • matt00matt00 Member Posts: 32
    I am interested in leasing an AWD RX300. The list is around $40, 000. Can someone tell me how much I should expect my monthly payments to be? I would like to put down the least amount possible. My other alturnative is leasing an Acura 3.5RL with $1000 down and $5000 a month.
    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310

    One can not deternine what your lease cost will be from MSRP, unless you are silly enough to pay MSRP!

    Your lease payment will be determined by:
    1) The capitalized cost- what you actually negotiate the price of the car to be. Don't forget, a lease is nothing more than the bank/finance company buying the car rather than you. You then "rent it" from them.

    2) Money Factor- This is the interest rate you are charged on your "rent". You have to multiply this out by 365(?) to get the annual interest rate.

    3)Cap cost reduction- Let's say you negotiate the cost to be $35k. If you then put down $5k, you then have a cap cost of $30K.

    4) Term of lease- how long do you want the car / spread the payments out? Let's say it's 48 months.

    5) Residual value- This is what the bank determines the car will be worth at the end of the lease. Let's say it's $20k in our example.

    6) So now you have a capitalized cost of $30k - $20K = $10K this is the amount that will be amortized over the lease term.

    7) There is also taxes on either the cap cost or the monthly payments. This can vary.

    It's been a while since I did a lease so hopefully I didn't screw up the explanation.

  • inkyinky Member Posts: 370
    What are you talking about. That is ridiculous.
    Please explain. $2500 for steering wheel?
  • matt00matt00 Member Posts: 32
    TC, thanks for the info. The trems that I am comparing the RX300 to is the Acura RL (39 moths with 15K miles) I would like to know what other people are leasing their RX300 for.

  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Member Posts: 811
    There's a lot of confusion about leasing because most people a) aren't good at math, b) leasing terms ARE confusing and designed to be that way and, c) dealer's F&I people make a great living because more and more deals are leases and it's difficult to comparison shop unlike straight sales or installment sales.

    I leased a 2001 FWD Navi RX last month the day before I was taking delivery of a MDX - I just couldn't pass up a good deal. I've had a great LS400 ride for years but the RX wasn't worth a $4K premium over the MDX so when the new discounts took effect, and $$$ parity was achieved, Lexus got my business again. Here's how leases work:

    1. Capitalization cost ("Cap") is your negotiated price, just like buying the vehicle.
    2. Money Factor is the interest rate, expressed as a monthly decimal number. For example, a MF of .0030 is an interest rate of 7.20% -- you just multiply the MF x 2400 (always 2400, no matter what other variables are in the deal) to determine the interest rate.
    3. Here was my deal, based on a 2001 RX FWD, Navi, with 15K miles/year, 36-month lease, 60% residual value, and the only cash upfront was a Lexus $500 Loyalty credit:

    $36,000 cap cost less residual value (pegged by Lexus Financial Services) of 60% or $21,600. Out-the-door cost was the $500 Lexus credit, first month's payment with sales tax, and the DMV license fee:

    $36,000 less $21,600 = $14,400 / 36 months = $400

    By the way, try to avoid special deals on odd month leases - such as 39, 42, 54 - any lease term that is not evenly divisible by 12. If you go for 39 months, you pay for a new annual license fee in month #36 - then return the car to the dealer 3 months later?

    Back to the calculation; you're only half done.
    That $400/month just covers the depreciation fee.

    Next, take the cap cost ($36,000) and ADD the residual amount ($21,600) to it - for a total of $57,600. Multiply this grand total by the Money Factor decimal factor; let's go with that 0.0030 for another $172.80 per month.

    Don't bother asking anyone why this second part is the method used; they usually reply, "That's the way it works."

    Add the $400 to the $172.80 ($572.80) then add your sales tax and you're now a lease expert - that's your payment per month.

    A few misc notes:

    a. Remember that part about odd number of months
    b. Some states, like Illinois, require you to pay 100% of vehicle purchase price sales tax - up front! What a rip.
    c. Leasing only makes sense if you don't put a lot of cash (or a valuable trade) into the deal at the beginning. And it's hard to justify really long leases such as 60-72 months that some dealers push.
    d. The reason any dealer offers "non-captive" lease deals (i.e., Lexus' captive lease company is Lexus Financial Services) is that these companies are more "flexible" when it comes to bad credit, kickbacks (or "rebates"), residuals, etc. Chase is one of the biggest players in this game.

    In sum, with Internet car loans dipping under 7.0%, leasing is a higher-profit item for most dealers than adding ID-etched glass, chrome wheels, or even that old standby, paint & upholstery sealant.
  • 46494649 Member Posts: 24
    I live in Maryland and drive exactly 50-50 highway and country roads. My 2000 AWD has 10,000 miles and I average 20-22 MPG. Earlier in the Winter when we had a really cold spell the MPG dropped to around 19??

  • matt00matt00 Member Posts: 32
    To: Jeffmust2,
    Thank you so much for the info! I now have a better understanding about leaseing. One thing you brought up that I am not entirly sure about is the "Tax?" I live in Maryland where I have to pay as you mentioned 100% based on the selling price. However, If a dealers advertise "NO Money Down" Is the tax included in the payments or his it treated as "THE FINE PRINT" and I have to pay the $2500 up front?
    Thanks again,

    What I mean is assume a Dealer advertises $0 down $569 a month. Is it "Required" to pay the $2500 tax upfront or is it included in the payment? Or, is it up to me to calculate wheather or not that price includeds the Tax? (I think the dealer is tring to make me pay the $2500 upfront and also add it in the monthly price? ( This is the first time I will be leasing a car and it is very difficult!
  • rockyballrockyball Member Posts: 22
    I'm simply telling a previous poster what the cost is for the wood steering wheel. Ridiculous?-Yes, but that's what it costs to get a wheel from Lexus-doubt the price?-check with the parts counter at your local Lexus dealer.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    Egads, that's almost 10% of the car's price! Someone needs to verify this. I'm not at my 1k maintenance yet, but definitely plan on asking about this. I hope others will get a chance before me and report back.

    rockyball, sorry to hear about the smashed window, nobody deserves that type of pointless vandalism.

  • wayn1wayn1 Member Posts: 69
    I live in MA. so it's fairly flat around here. My 2000 RX FWD with 10,000 miles gets 21-23 mpg in mixed city and hwy driving. Made one trip to Prince Edward Island last August and got 27-30 mpg. I have Amsoil in it plus the foam air filter. I am very happy with this suv.
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    Don't forget that they'll have to remove the current airbag module from the steering wheel and put it back in the new leather/wood steering wheel. While the split wood/leather wheel may look nice, I have always found that the sunlight can reflect off the top of the wheel (the polished wooden part) and directly into my eyes. MB has gotten around this by wrapping leather across the top of the wheel, retaining wood below. Good idea! Be sure to test drive a vehicle with the wood/leather wheel before taking the plunge. :-)

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  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    If anyone out there really wants a wood/leather steering wheel then the one from my 2001 RX is available. $1000 plus all the costs involved and its yours. But you keep your airbag with the metal logo I removed my logo becuase of the potential hazard if the airbag inflates.
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    I'm sorry to hear that you removed your Lexus logo in the steering wheel. That was unnecessary and you will not get a Lexus imprint on your forehead for life if the airbag deploys :-) The airbag module actually splits around the logo. Don't you think Lexus would've noticed if the logo flew up and poked the dummy in the eye? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it made of chromed plastic?:

    This is a '00 RX without the chromed "L" logo in the middle of the steering wheel hub.

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  • darrelhdarrelh Member Posts: 3
    Jeffmust2, how did your RX300 lease compare to the MDX lease that you turned down?
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Member Posts: 811
    matt00 -
    Check with a local (DMV?) auto license bureau re the Maryland sales tax. I know nothing about that situation but if the F&I guy at your dealership says 100% of the vehicle's cap cost sales tax must be paid up front, that has to be reflected in a contract agreement somewhere; have him point it out to you. If you pay 100% of the sales tax and you're "renting" about 40% of the vehicle for 3 years, is there any tax recapture at the end of lease? I would doubt it. You might try an adjoining state because I believe that's a reason not to lease a vehicle in MD. And to add insult to injury, are you saying that on top of the full tax payment, there's MORE tax on each monthly payment? Maybe you need to organize a new Tea Party!

    darrelh - the MDX lease, same 36 months, 15K miles/year, and zero down as the RX lease, was a few bucks more per month primarily because Acura's captive lease company was charging a higher money factor. The cap costs were within a percent or two of each other as was the 3-year residual. Major differences - first, the MDX is an AWD system where my RX is FWD; second, my RX has navigation whereas our ordered MDX did not. And, hard-to-believe - No Lexus $500 Loyalty credit on MDX! That would be fun if manufacturers did that - take another car company's loyalty program and turn it to their advantage.

    Both are excellent vehicles but, at the stroke of midnight, for the same relative cost per month, my wife chose the better build quality, track record, better dealer treatment at delivery and beyond, and smaller size of the RX because it fit her needs. On the other hand, her sister has a 2-year old and travels with half a kiddy furniture store -- she picked-up a MDX at the same time and so far is very happy as well.

    Here's a question for all you Lexus personnel out there: Why don't you tell HQ to stop putting cheap, passenger Goodyear rubber on a $40K RX? Coming out of the Exploder/Deathstone fiasco, the first thing we did was install Michelin Cross Terrains on the RX - what a great improvement!

    By the way, anybody want a set of OEM Goodyears with about 200 miles on them? They're Really Great and you should ignore people that tell you different, especially on chat boards....

  • arturitoarturito Member Posts: 16
    i'm in market for 2001 rx300 fwd dealer offers one for $36,500 ( includes navigation package heated front seats roof rack cargo mat and wheel locks) is this a good deal? this is my first experience with lexus please help!
  • budrtsbudrts Member Posts: 2
    Arturito, try for one of the best discussions of online car buying I've seen. Jeff, the web master, includes a spreadsheet that will help you decide what a good price is for any car.
  • johnl5johnl5 Member Posts: 3
    Check Edmunds Invoice cost and then add $1,000-$1,500. That seems to be an OK deal if you can get it for that much over invoice. 36,500 may be a good deal, but unless you add up exactly the cost of the options (you didn't mention if it had Premium package plus for example)nobody can tell you if that is a good deal or not. In Wisconsin I got a price of 36,000, but was for a 4-wheel drive and no Nav. Turns out it was $1500 over invoice. Not the best. What state are you looking in for a 2-wheel drive vehicle?
  • hobbybaashobbybaas Member Posts: 11
    I'm considering purchasing a Hood Deflector for my new 2001 RX300. Does anyone have a recommendation and/or information as to where I can purchase one. Much thanks!
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    I haven't noticed the glare problem on mine. I'll remember not use to much Pledge on it .

    Hey, thanks for clearing up that logo/airbag thing! I was starting to get concerned. Do you work for Edmunds or volunteer? You always seem to get the best photos!

    Heard you haven't been getting much snow in your neck of the woods... poor baby! Nothing like watching grown men skidding around in parking lots with their toys ;-)

    Talk to you later,
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310
    Roadworks Auto carries the WeatherTech brand for the RX300. I haven't personally tried it.

    Here's the link:

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Drew was an amazing font of information and pics before he became an Edmunds Host:-).

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  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    First of all I have often said that I firmly believe that an LS400 is the absolute best value for the money there is. No other car manufacturer can stand up to the build quality of Toyota/Lexus.

    But does that give me cause to have absolute faith that they don't screw up once in awhile? I'm not betting MY eyesight on it. Well designed or not there can be no good reason for that Logo. And by the way, just what real purpose does a metalized logo in the middle of the steering wheel serve? To remind the driver that's s/he's driving a Lexus, maybe?

    The first thing I do when I purchase a new car is remove ALL of the external badging that I can without damaging the appearance of the car. I personally think one of the attractions for the series is their "understated elegance", especially the LS400, 430.

    Remember the early Infiniti, who among you out there didn't think the HUGE front badge was a bit overdone? And what was the first think you noticed about the car? Now Lexus has enlarged the front logo on the LS430. Bad move, I don't care if other people think it's a Mercedes (clone), I own it, I'm driving it, I know what it is!

    If you order a Porsche 911/996 one of the no-charge options is to remove the exterior logos. Does that make a 911 any less recognizable?

    The worse problem I have with my 92 LS is people passing me and being distracted looking the car over thoroughly to determine if its a Mercedes or a Lexus.

    And speaking of design flaws, Lexus has well known since 92 that the NipponDenso climate control design they use thoughout the product line is flawed but like almost almost all Japanese companies they hide their design flaws from the public rather than publicize them and risk legal problems.

    For the Japanese, "saving face" is still a big part of their culture.

    See the three posts on Tahoe climate control problems.
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    I see, you're one of those who believe that less is more then :-) Well obviously the chromed Lexus logo in the middle of the steering hub is for aesthetic purposes. Just about all vehicles have their manufacturer's logo in the middle of the steering wheel hub. BMW has their (coloured) roundel propeller badge, and MB with the chrome tri-star. Since Lexus is competing with MB, get the idea.
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    Yes, I am a happy employee, as my co-host Steve said :-) I have a fascination with crash science, hence the reason I had that picture.

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  • levyroblevyrob Member Posts: 22
    You reported that the dealer was able to pinpoint a clip in the fender as the culprit in the underdash noise problem. Can you tell me more about the clip and it's location? Where in the fender was it, how did they access it and what did they do to fix it (while scratching your car)? Where do you service your vehicle - if there's a chance that they remember what they did, I'll have my service manager get in touch so they can fix this problem on our RX.

    As for the dealer scratching your car, if they cut through the paint to the primer, I'd say they owe you something more than a touch-up. As a minimum, they should rub out the touch-up so that it blends in. As a maximum, they should paint the door. The car is new enough that paint matching should not be a problem.
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