2003 RX 300 New Car Test Drive
When it was introduced in mid-1998, the RX 300 represented the vanguard of a new class of vehicles. More a tall car than a truck-like SUV, the RX 300 nonetheless delivered the SUV attributes most urban/suburban buyers wanted: a high seating position, generous, versatile cargo capacity, and all-weather traction. But what made it popular was its Lexus levels of quality, luxury, comfort, and quietude.
The RX 300's near-instant success quickly inspired imitators, including the Acura MDX, BMW X5, and Buick Rendezvous. Still, the RX 300 remains one of the top contenders. It delivers a smooth on-road ride, fine handling, a quiet interior and a responsive V6 engine.
RX 300 can be equipped with either full-time four-wheel drive for poor weather driving conditions, or front-wheel drive. It's not built for optimal off-road adventures. If that's what you're looking for, try the similarly priced Land Rover Discovery.
For 2002, Lexus has updated the RX 300's DVD navigation system.
RX 300 comes in one thoroughly equipped trim level. Buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive ($33,955) or four-wheel drive ($35,705). We recommend the latter.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS) are standard. Front and side airbags are standard along with shoulder belts with pretensioners and force limiters. All seating positions have three-point shoulder belts. Ivory-colored fabric seats are standard; leather-trimmed upholstery is optional.
The DVD-based navigation system with compass can be added as a stand-alone option ($2,000), or as part of the Navigation System Package ($5,390) that also includes leather upholstery, heated seats, a power moonroof, HID headlights and other luxury amenities. Either way, the system uses touch-screen technology, and DVD-ROM discs for map data. One DVD can help you navigate around the entire United States, making cross-country drives a snap.