2001 Lexus RX300

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2001 Lexus RX300 Review

Delivers the appearance and utility of an SUV coupled with the drivability and handling of a car.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Not only is the 2001 Lexus RX300 the best-selling Lexus, but it’s also the first SUV that's based on a car and can feel like it from behind the wheel. It carries on this successful coupling of SUV-like utility, style, and all-weather traction, with car-like handling and gas mileage. It's powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 engine and built on a conventional body-on-frame design, similar to that of the Toyota Camry. Classified as a midsize SUV, it is on par with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Mercedes M-Class for size, although a little shorter. Maximum cargo capacity is 75 cubic feet. The suspension is four-wheel independent equipped with MacPherson struts in every corner. It also boasts a distinct look that sets it apart from other SUVs with a rakish windshield, front quarter windows, and roof pillars that slope at the rear.

The Range

Body Styles: midsize SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Lexus RX300

What's New

The 2001 Lexus RX300 carry a number of changes including the standardization of Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), traction control, and BrakeAssist safety systems. A water-repellant front door and side view mirror glass have also been made standard. On the exterior, both front and rear lights have been revised while the grille design has been simplified and now includes chrome accents along with a Lexus badge that’s been made bigger. New cloth upholstery has been introduced, and there is also an option for black leather. New options include a wood-trimmed steering wheel, wood trimmed shift knobs, and two-level seat heating systems. There is also an option DVD-based navigation system available. Prewiring for towing and a standard rear bumper protector now come on all 4WD models.

Exterior

The 2001 Lexus RX300 is an SUV with a distinctive appearance thanks to roof pillars that slope behind the rear door. It is 180 inches long, which makes it roughly the same length as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Mercedes M-Class. However, it's a few inches shorter than these models, a factor that contributes to its distinct, rounded appearance.

Interior

The 2001 Lexus RX300 seats five and boasts features that include an audio system with seven speakers, climate control, and video screen controls for both. Wood trim is standard while leather upholstery is available as an option and in black. Storage space is ample thanks to map pockets on the doors and a two-tier center console unit. It's spacious, comfortable, and generally well equipped. However, not everyone is crazy about the LCD screen that occupies the center of the dashboard.

Performance & Handling

The 2001 Lexus RX300 is an SUV that handles and rides like a sedan. The V-6 engine is refined in its deliver of power, acceleration is good, and steering is responsive. It has a four-wheel drive system that was designed for road travel in all seasons, more so than it was intended for true off-road driving. On the road, however, it soaks up the bumps with its softly sprung suspension. Handling is good, steering is light, and the brakes are excellent. It's available with either front-wheel or full-time four-wheel drive. The 4WD version is generally preferable as it delivers better gas mileage and better performance. It’s also equipped with standard electronic traction that makes it more capable of handling the road during rough weather.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2001 Lexus RX300 include four-wheel ABS, dual front side-mounted airbags, remote anti-theft alarm system, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, stability control, traction control, and electronic brake force distribution. Additional standard features include Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), a system for stability control, and BrakeAssist, which deploys full braking pressure in emergency situations. In rollover tests conducted by the NHTSA, it receives three out of five stars, while in frontal offset collision tests conducted by the IIHS it received a top rating of ""Good.""

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus RX300: 17/21 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Interior is spacious and well-appointed
  • An SUV that handles like a sedan on the road
  • Powertrain is smooth
  • Abundance of interior storage

You Won't Like

  • 4WD system isn’t really fit for going off-road
  • Interior trim is made from low-grade materials
  • LCD screen in center of dash is awkward
  • Has an off-putting minivan feel to it

Sum Up

Delivers the appearance and utility of an SUV coupled with the drivability and handling of a car.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Mercedes-Benz M-Class
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