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Lexus RX 300



  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    In regards to service, I will give you my point of view, but I obviously made my decision already since I own a new RX300 ;-)

    When I was shopping around a month ago for a new SUV/vehicle, one thing I noticed was the clear distinction between Acura dealers and Lexus dealers. Most Acura dealerships seemed to be "redone" car dealership buildings, meaning that the dealership was probably converted from something else. The facilities weren't as new. The staffing wasn't as "professional" or abundant.

    Almost every Lexus dealership I've been to is a new building, meaning that the facility was built specifically to be a Lexus dealership. There are usually separate areas for sales, general customer service, parts, technical service advisors, service managers, etc., etc. The lot is usually filled with dozens of service loaner vehicles that are kept immaculate. Free pick up and delivery from your office or home. Saturday hours. I could go on.

    So if service is a big issue for you, Lexus is the clear winner. I've also driven both the MDX and RX, and I think the RX is a safer vehicle and has a more comfortable and quieter ride. The MDX advantage is that it's bigger and will offer more seating and cargo room. I also happen to like the RX styling over the bland looking MDX, but that's a subjective point.

    If you are use to good MB dealership service, then I bet you will be dissapointed by Acura. My personal experience is that most Lexus dealerships are right up there with MB in terms of customer care.

    One last thing, if a Navigation unit is important to you, then the RX300's unit is simply superiour to both the ML430 and the MDX.
  • I agree with the above posting regarding the dealerships. I am a RX owner and all of the times that i have been to my dealership it has been nothing but a great experience. They have provided me with Lexus loaners even when i come in for something as minor as an oil change. I love it because i get to drive the ES300 and the IS300. Service is very professional and the employee tend to go out of their way to treat you right. One other thing, there is a Lexus dealer where I live that the hours are from 6am to 12am. That's right. 12AM midnight. Know of any Acura dealers that are open that late?
  • And I agree with both tonychrys and 00rxguy1. Lexus dealerships are built, groundup, as standalone dealerships. Ditto the remarks regarding the personnel, Acura vs. Lexus. Loaners always available (in my area, either ES or is currently building newer and much larger facility a few miles from current so maybe a few IS will be in the loaner mix soon).

    This has been a Lexus hallmark from the beginning. I've had a total of 5 Lexi since 1992 and there has been no falloff in the service department in that time. I don't think you can go wrong.

    There's no doubt that the MDX is an excellent addition to the Acura fold; if you need the extra size then it may be the way to go. And we should all thank Honda/Acura for showing that there was a market for highend Japanese machinery. The original Legend in 1986 was as much a shock as the LS400 in 1989. But Lexus definitely went to the next level. Yeehaa!!!
  • I'm in the market for a new SUV or AWD wagon, and am looking at both of these vehicles plus the Audi allroad. I originally put a deposit down on an allroad, but cancelled my order when the "soon to be available" towing pkg. was put on indefinite hold. I need the new vehicle to do occasional light duty towing of my 2000 lb. bass/ski boat.

    I then checked out the MDX and currently have a deposit on a touring w/Nav model, but it's not due to be even built until May. So I have time to switch if the allroad gets the towing package, or if I decide to get something else. Which brings me to the RX300....

    Although less roomy, this isn't too big of a factor for our family of 3. In fact it may be more of an advantage most of the time, commuting in suburban traffic. We're in Minnesota so good AWD traction is right up there on the list of priorities. I'm also used to excellent service as our other car is an Audi and our dealer there has been excellent. I believe Lexus' service will be just as good, whereas the Acura is more of a question mark, not to mention less conveniently located.

    But most of all I'm most interested in two things. The first is the quality of the construction and materials - how well I can expect it to hold up and appear "like new" after owning it for several years. Already from the MDX discussion groups there are little signs of quality issues. You certainly expect some from any first year model, but you're starting to hear complaints that the leather is "thin" and shows obvious wear even after just a couple of months. The sound system (even the upgraded Bose) hasn't been well received, with buttons not working. And there are some reports of clunking sounds coming from the suspension pieces. And if you want to tow anything, you must purchase added-on transmission and engine coolers if you want to keep your warranty. Nothing real terrible here, but just enough to make you question what else might show up after a year or so...

    The other real important thing for me is the way a vehicle steers, tracks and accelerates. I really like the way German cars drive, and I dislike the oftentimes "comfortable but boring" ride of most Japanese cars almost as much as the overly "cushy" and sloppy-handling ride of most American cars. In this respect, I liked the Acura quite a bit, even though it's not even close to being the fun-to-drive, high-speed cruiser that I found the allroad to be. This criteria has also kept me away from the RX300, as I had read some reports that it's a mediocre handler - very comfortable but not real fun to drive.

    How do you RX300 owners feel about these issues? I have heard also that the 2001 models are somewhat improved in the handling department (?) According to the web site there is also a special model out with "Euro" tuned handling - has anyone seen/driven that one?
  • Ihave a 2000 Rxand i must admit that the Rx has somewhat of a soft, floating ride. I have never been in a MDX to comment on it. However, style wise, i think the RX looks more sleek. The MDX from afar almost resembles an Isuzu Rodeo. I have driven a 2001 RX and the handling does seem to be more firm. In my opinion the MDX almost looks naked without all add-ons that doesn't come standard. ex. roof rack, side step bars, Michelin tires. just my opinion.
  • JOFOJOFO Posts: 14
    To all:

    I am about ready to purchase the RX300, but I absolutely hate the little tires.

    - Has anyone switched to larger rims and wider tires? It seems the rx300 is a little more tippy than I would like.

    - I also want to put on a front brush guard. I've seen way too many painted front bumpers get dinged. Where do you go for this?

    - I want to install foglights. Has anyone done this? What brand did you get and where did you get it?

    The ML gets modified quite a bit, but I don't see it too much for the Lexus. Any other modifications for performance??

  • Try the following websites for brushguards, fogligts, etc.

    You will find many nice and interesting parts, accessories and wheels for your RX300 and other Lexus vehicles

  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    JBaumgart Feb 14, 2001 9:32pm

    WRT handling, the 2001 is indeed a little stiffer than previous models, which is good. I actually saw the Silver Sport Edition briefly in a NA Auto Show video clip. Very nice, and it would have the Euro-tuned suspension. If you get a regular RX, just ask your delaer to throw a set of Michelin LTX or Cross Terrain tires on it and you will get an immediate handling upgrade. Rumoour has it that one of these tires will be come standard on the 2002 instead of the pedestrian Goodyear Integritys. Also, see below in my message for a really cool wheel/tire upgrade.

    In terms of "quality", this is a proven vehicle in it's third year. It keeps getting better as Lexus listens to customers and makes tweaks. The MDX, though a great design, is a question mark until enough data over time is collected.

    JOFO Feb 14, 2001 11:55pm

    You want mods? I'll give you mods!

    For both appearenace and performance, Rod Millen Motorsports:

    For other sidesteps and guards:

    Hope this helps,


  • FOR RX BUSH BAR TRY they have a great picture of a rx300 outfitted with a waag bush bar.

    I Would also like to know if anyone has experience upgrading to a 17 inch wheel-tire package.
  • I wanted to post the dealer findings and the apparent solution to the problem that I was having with regard to the strong fuel/diseal odor that we were experiencing within the cabin of my 2000 RX300 that has 6K miles on it. More background details can be found on my previous post.

    As it turns out, the entire transfer case on the transmission had to be replaced. The gear oil was leaking out of the case onto the hot engine, producing the fumes that would then enter the cabin of the car via the ventilation system. Pretty serious stuff. I am happy with the way that Lexus took the time to solve the problem, once they took a closer look and realized that there was in fact a problem. They provided us a loaner for approximately 15 days so that they could replace the part and then test the vehicle to make certain that the problem was solved and that the vehicle was operating properly.

    However, I'm unhappy with regard to having to bring the problem to their attention 3 times before we were taken serious. As my previous post stated, the first attempt had the service manager attributing our problem to a smell being produced from the brakes being broken in, the second attempt yielded a flat out denial the smell even existed, and I managed to get help when I pulled in the sales manager on my third visit. Sorry about he length, but thought that it would be good info to have.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    Hey, no need to apologize. These types of problems can hit any of us, and it is nice to know what others are finding. Also nice to know that Lexus service treated you good after they found the problem. Should not have taken 3 trips to the service department to begin with, but sounds like they did get their act together. What kind of driving had you been doing? Any off road, trailer towing, highway, city, dingy towing. Did Lexus give any ideas as to why the problem started?
  • Clee4,

    No we don't tow with it. Combination of primarily city driving with some hwy. It's my wife's car and she is very easy on it in my opinion. No hard braking, no fast starts, no hard turns.....

    Lexus didn't give me their opinion really. The work order states only that "Faulty Transfer Case" as the problem. I sensed some embarrsement on the part of the service manager when I picked it up this morning. He apologized several times for both the time that it took to repair it and for the time that it took to realize the problem. As expected there was no charge for the repair, but had it not been under warranty, I'd be looking at over $3K. I would add that while it was being repaired they called us to keep us updated and wanted to make sure that the loaner(a 2001 RX) was suffcient, as they offered us a 470 loaner.
  • sybelesybele Posts: 42
    Hi guys, I am planning to trade in my 99RX for a 2001. Is there anything worth waiting for as far as the 2002 model?

    My 99RX only has 17.5K on it. According to Kelly Blue Book the current trade in value is about 28K. The AWD 01RX, as I want it, has an invoice price of 34,646. Reading the above posts, people are throwing in anywhere from $600 to $1000 over invoice. Any comments will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Have you decided to spluge for that Rod Millen brushguard yet? I think the chrome would contrast nicely with your black RX. The R.M guard is tastefully subtle, IMHO. I don't particularly like full-sized brushguards (except on Range Rovers/Land Rovers) because they're a bit too much (read conspicuous) for me.

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  • rx2000rx2000 Posts: 11
    I have a 2000 RX. There is seem to be more vibration that can be felt when the transmission is in "R,D,L". There is almost no vibration when it is in "N or P".

    The vibration is really annoying that every time I hit a traffic light; I shift it to "N".

    Anybody have notice the same problem or have any advice please let me know.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Here's my problem: Yes, I like the RM chrome A-bar. But I also like the fact that WAAG offers the rear-bumper guard for the RX300, but it only comes in black as far as I can tell. I can't see getting chrome on the front and black on the back, it'll look too out of place.

    Me thinks the rear guard is a good idea... haven't you ever been "bumped" by someone at a stop light because they weren't paying attention? I have, and it's always just enough to leave a small dimple in the bumper paint.

    I really had my heart set on the chrome A-bar, but I might have to get it in black if I go for the rear guard too.

    I guess I'll put off my decision until it gets a little warmer out. The first thing will be to Zaino my RX!!!
  • I have read with interest the discussions on controlling the air conditioning compressor operation on RX300s. I have a 2001 AWD and have learned that the only time the compressor runs where it is not possible to turn it off by pressing the A/C button is in the Front Defrost mode. In all other modes pressing the A/C button so the light is off turns off the compressor. The Auto Mode light also goes off, but the system will still add heat automatically to try and maintain the desired temperature as selected by turning the ring around the Auto button. Of course, if the selected temperature is below the outside air temperature and the compressor is turned off, no cooling will occur.

    To work around the cycling of the compressor when demisting the windshield is needed, I just push the mode button until Floor/Windshield air distribution is selected, turn off the compressor, turn the desired temperature way up, and turn the fan speed to high by turning the ring around the Mode button. This gives enough hot air flow to do the job – I don't use the Front Defrost mode at all.

    Any comments?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    One of our M-class list members had the chrome brushguard installed (as well as the chrome side steps) and he had the Waag rear bumper guard painted Silver to match the Silver paint of his ML. Maybe you could have the Waag guard chromed or painted bright silver to match? The latter will probably be less expensive.

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

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

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

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

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

    Lexus does have its problems with any doubt, but build quality is not one of them.
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    Seems to me if there were that many problems it was a lemon and instead of dealing with it as such he foisted it off on some unsuspecting person. But it did seem like a salesman from the other company. I've even forgotten it already.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    Sure is nice that such an unworthy SUV held it's value. Without knowing it, gtmustang, verified what most of us already know. If you buy value and workmanship, not to mention safety, than its hard to loose. Enjoy.
  • clee4clee4 Posts: 103
    I have been "playing" with my nav system lately. With the limited help from the instruction manual and a little more from the shop manual, I have learned a few things.
    1. There is a night mode to the screen. Turn system on, agree to warning, go to display screen, turn your lights on, you should see a gooey button marked "DAY". If it is highlighted green, then you are in day mode. Touch the button and turn it off (not highlighted). The whole background turns dark with roads and words highlighted. When you turn your lights off, the screen returns to normal brightness.
    2. There is a diagnostic mode you can enter through two hidden gooey buttons on the display screen that checks the whole system, from satellites to color of screen.
    3. The one thing I can not figure out is about the data base. Is there a DVD inside the ECU or is the database just loaded into the ECU. If there is a DVD installed, then how do you change it out with the next revision? Speaking of which. What version came with your system? Enjoy
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    gtmustang Feb 15, 2001 5:36pm

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

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

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

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

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