The 2002 Lexus RX300 sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a prime example of a luxury SUV with a car-like ride and handling. It won’t do much off-road and not much about it is similar to a truck. This seems to be the type of vehicle that made SUVs so popular and sure enough, it’s Lexus’ bestseller. It does well in its class in most facets save for handling and performance where it’s no slouch, but faces serious performance rivals from BMW, Acura, and Mercedes-Benz. A top seller in a popular segment, buyers wanting a midsize and car-like SUV should at least take a look at it.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Lexus RX300
The 2002 Lexus RX300 receives nothing new and drops the Nakamichi audio system value package from the options list.
The 2002 Lexus RX300 luxury sedan masquerading as an SUV is available in only one base trim as is standard practice for the luxury automaker owned by Toyota. The one trim is equipped standard goods, such as 16-inch alloy wheels, intermittent wipers, rear wipers, rear defogger, privacy glass, power door mirrors, heated door mirrors, transmission oil cooler, stainless steel exhaust, and full-size alloy spare wheel.
The 2002 Lexus RX300 keeps with the luxury car theme and comes standard with a wealth of appointments and amenities that include power front seats, driver seat with adjustable lumbar support, cloth upholstery, remote power door locks, reclining back seats, power windows with remote operation, cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls, tilt steering wheel, speed-proportional power steering, interior air filtration, climate control, leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob, wood trim on dash and center console and a 240-watt AM/FM stereo system with a subwoofer, and radio data system. Video-screen based controls handle audio and climate functions. Leather upholstery is one of the few available options.
Performance & Handling
The only powertrain available for the 2002 Lexus RX300 is a 220-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 that produces 222 lb-ft of torque and hooks up to a four-speed-automatic transmission. It can be had with either front-drive or four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive system is designed for all-season road travel but not serious off-road action. The acceleration is peppy with the front-drive versions and just a bit slower with the heavier, all-wheel-drive equipped versions. It runs the zero-to-60-mph sprint in 8.2 seconds when equipped with the front-wheel drive, placing it in the top portion of its segment as far as performance goes. The V-6 should handle just about anything that a typical traffic situation can throw at it.
The 2002 Lexus RX300 is competent and predictable when it comes to handling. But it is unlikely that anyone would mistake it for being sporty or athletic. This is the epitome of the modern SUV as tall luxury for non-truck driving buyers and thus has an emphasis on luxury and stability and comfort. That means no off-roading and no canyon-carving, but instead lots of grocery shopping and road trips. The ride is truly smooth, plush, soft, absorbent, and comfortable. It's made to cradle occupants and act like a car, something it does so well that even rivals like the Acura MDX and Mercedes-Benz M-Class can’t match the supple ride quality.
The 2002 Lexus RX300 keeps with Lexus’ reputation for safety by offering a long list of standard safety equipment. This includes dual front impact airbags and all-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution. It also includes Lexus’ Vehicle Skid Control, an electronic stability system that applies brakes to wheels individually as needed. Brake Assist is also included. It detects when the driver is starting to make a panic stop and applies maximum braking force to assure the swiftest possible halt. Other standard gear includes dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft alarm system, rear door child safety locks, auto delay off headlamps, dusk sensing headlamps, rear center three-point belt, front seatbelt pretensioners and traction control. In NHTSA tests, it earns five out of five stars for driver and side impact safety as well as four stars for passenger safety and three stars for rollover safety. In IIHS tests, it receives highest rating of ""good"" for frontal offset crash safety. It will appeal to buyers that place a priority on occupant protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX300: 17/21 mpg city/highway
- Interior appointments
- Road manners
- Crash-test scores
- Optional four-wheel drive
You Won't Like
- Minivan feel
- Control screen on dash
- Has problems off the highway
Lexus’ best-seller is an SUV that is really a taller car.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Infiniti QX4
- Mitsubishi Montero
- Audi All-Road Quattro
- Volvo Cross Country
- BMW X5