Toyota's Lexus division launched the RX 300 for the 1999 model year based on a platform shared by the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES 300 sedans.
The four-door wagon was an immediate hit and spawned numerous imitators. A 220-horsepower 3.0-litre V-6 and a four-speed automatic transmission kept the RX on the move. After four years without change, Lexus introduced the RX 330 for 2004, featuring a slightly larger body that housed a 223-horsepower 3.3-litre V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. The RX was given an engine and content upgrade with the release of the RX 350 for 2007 (note that Hybrid models are not included here).
As one of the first car-based sport utility vehicles, the RX was indeed popular. It was perfectly suited for driving over rough roads on the way to the cottage, or tackling barely passable snowbound routes in winter. Regardless of conditions, ride comfort was quiet and free from the harsh bumps and shakes common to other truck-based sport utes.
There are also few vehicles that surpassed it for passenger space, especially with a rear seat that could be adjusted for added leg room. Both the 3.0-and 3.3-litre engines were smooth-running and trouble-free units that were also easy on gas.
As with most Lexus products, the RX's fit and finish ranked with the best. Vehicles from the 2001 model year onward came with bigger gas tanks for more range.
For serious off-road adventuring, the RX was in a bit over its head. Since its on-demand four-wheel-drive system lacked a transfer case, there was no low-range gear to shift into when the going got especially rugged.
If your current needs require something a bit tougher, check out the big-and-beefy Lexus GX series or a pre-owned Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Land Rover LR2 and LR4 or Jeep Grand Cherokee. Despite the RX's wagon shape, the steeply angled liftgate reduced the amount of stowage space behind the rear seat.
Most Lexus models have higher-than-average resale values, including the RX.
Sellers will usually ask for, and receive, the market premium. RXs fitted with a sunroof or a leather interior might cost a bit more than the average.
"Best in Class" is how the RX is usually described. It balances good looks, ride comfort and passenger space with its exceptional competence and dependability in standing up to nasty road or weather conditions without breaking a sweat.
Anyone shopping for a pre-owned sport ute usually puts the RX high on their wish list and for good reason.
© Copyright 2013