A brand new Lexus RX330 sport utility vehicle (SUV) was introduced in 2004. This model was completely redesigned and replaced the Lexus RX300, the first generation of the crossover SUV that had been in production since 1998.
As well as being renamed to the RX330, the crossover SUV increased in size, power, and number of features included as standard. The 2004 Lexus RX330 can hold five passengers and is based on the same platform as the Toyota Highlander, Lexus ES 330, and Toyota Camry sedans.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Lexus RX330
One of the first things people notice about the 2004 Lexus RX330 is its increase in size over the RX300. The wheelbase is increased by four inches, and the overall length by 5.9 inches. As well as being larger, the body has a newer, sleeker design.
The 2004 Lexus RX330 comes only with a V-6 engine, but it has grown also. The new engine is a 3.3-liter V-6, up from the three-liter V-6 in its predecessor. The new engine increases power by 10 horsepower. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic, which replaces the four-speed automatic of early models.
Other new standard features include a 40/20/40 split rear seat with slide and recline ability, an increased number of airbags, 17-inch wheels, and a tire pressure monitor system.
While the platform and the basic chassis are shared with the Toyota Highlander, there is no way that the 2004 Lexus RX330 will ever be mistaken for it. The overall design is more car-like than truck-like. The angle of the rear window makes it appear more like a coupe from behind. The front and windshield, coupled with the low-profile tires, make this look as fast as it is. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard for the 2004 Lexus RX330, but 18-inch wheels are available as an option.
The interior is stylish and luxurious. The base model comes with cloth upholstery and features genuine wood trim and chrome accents. An all-leather interior is available as an option. What will impress is the list of standard features, including dual-zone climate control, a sliding, multi-level center storage console, tilt steering wheel, all power accessories, heated and power front seats, plus much more. The plush seats and sound dampening make this a comfortable and quiet ride.
A third row of seating is not available, but the legroom and headroom for all passengers is more than adequate. The ability to slide the rear seats fore and aft means that leg room or cargo space can be increased as required. The cargo space is easy to access with a push of a button on the key fob to remotely open and close the rear hatch.
Performance & Handling
The new 2004 Lexus RX330 is equipped with a new, 3.3-liter, V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission that provide 230 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Both front-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available. Acceleration is good no matter what drive system, although it is slightly slower than some of its competition.
The ride is firm, but very smooth, with little to no bumpiness felt. It handles well, although some may find the steering not as responsive as they like. The tires grip the road well, and body lean is minimal compared to previous versions of the Lexus RX.
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, and stability control are all standard safety features for the 2004 Lexus RX330. The airbags have been increased from front side airbags to also include a driver’s knee airbag, and full-length side curtain airbags. In government crash testing, the 2004 Lexus RX330 scored near perfect scores for front, side, and rear impacts.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX330: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Luxurious interior with long list of standard features
- Smooth and quiet ride
- Exterior build and design
- Plenty of passenger and cargo room
You Won't Like
- Less powerful engine than some competitors
- Lacking third row of seats
- Rear visibility
New generation of a luxury SUV that manages to improve on a best-selling predecessor.
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