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Car video reviews:

Body style: SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)
Segment: Medium SUV

Mercedes-Benz scored a big hit with the ML's first generation, but Lexus was not far behind and introduced the RX in 1998, just two years after the German SUV.

When Lexus introduced the RX on the North American market, it overtook all other SUVs and climbed right to the sales charts' top. Mercedes-Benz was stunned since it launched the ML earlier, but Toyota just did a better job. Unlike its German rival, who chose the body-on-frame construction, the Lexus RX300 featured a unit-body construction, which translated into a lighter vehicle. Moreover, the Japanese premium carmaker was available with fuel-efficient engines.

The RX300 looked, somehow, like a 4x4 vehicle, but it lacked the rugged look. It didn't have any flat or bulky areas. At the front, it featured angular-shaped headlights with soft edges that surrounded the slatted grille from the hood. Its raked windshield was more angled than on most other off-road vehicles. But Toyota didn't want to sell the RX300 as a hard-core, off-road vehicle. Its greenhouse looked more like the one from an MPV or a station wagon due to the raked-forward rear windscreen. Only the lower part of the bodywork offered an off-road vehicle's statement due to the angular-shaped wheel-arches and the big wheels.

Inside, Lexus offered the RX300 with a standard leather-clad interior, but with just a few color options. It was either black leather-black dashboard and aluminum trims or tan leather, beige dashboard, and wood-trims. There was no other option for it. Also, a standard feature was the automatic transmission. The center stack resembled the one installed on the Land Cruiser. In the back, the 60/40 split-folding bench enlarged the trunk area, but it also featured a reclining system, suitable for long journeys.

Under the hood, Toyota installed only one engine option: a 3.0-liter V-6 that provided up to 240 hp. It was paired as standard to a four-speed automatic gearbox with a center-stack-mounted gear selector.

LEXUS RX 1998 - 2003 30 Photos
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LEXUS RX 1998 - 2003
  2 gasoline engines
  • 300 4AT (240 HP)
  • 300 V6 4AT AWD (220 HP)

LEXUS RX 300 4AT (240 HP)

ENGINE SPECS  –  300 4AT (240 HP)
Cylinders
L4
Displacement
2362 cm3
Power
118 KW @ 5600 RPM
160 HP @ 5600 RPM
158 BHP @ 5600 RPM
Torque
163 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM
221 Nm @ 4000 RPM
Fuel System
Multipoint Injection
Fuel
Gasoline
Fuel capacity
19.8 gallons (75.0 L)
PERFORMANCE SPECS
Top Speed
112 mph (180 km/h)
Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph)
8.5 s
TRANSMISSION SPECS
Drive Type
Front Wheel Drive
Gearbox
4-Speed automatic
BRAKES SPECS
Front
Ventilated Discs
Rear
Drums
TIRES SPECS
Tire Size
225/70 R 16
DIMENSIONS
Length
180.1 in (4575 mm)
Width
71.5 in (1816 mm)
Height
65.6 in (1666 mm)
Front/rear Track
61.6/61 in (1,565/1,549 mm)
Wheelbase
104.3 in (2649 mm)
Ground Clearance
7.5 in (191 mm)
Cargo Volume
17.3 cuFT (490 L)
WEIGHT SPECS
Unladen Weight
3792 lbs (1720 kg)
Gross Weight Limit
4949 lbs (2245 kg)
FUEL ECONOMY (NEDC)
City
18 mpg US (13.1 L/100Km)
Highway
22 mpg US (10.7 L/100Km)
Combined
25 mpg US (9.4 L/100Km)
CO2 Emissions
224 g/km

LEXUS RX 300 V6 4AT AWD (220 HP)

ENGINE SPECS  –  300 V6 4AT AWD (220 HP)
Cylinders
V6
Displacement
2995 cm3
Power
162 KW @ 5800 RPM
220 HP @ 5800 RPM
217 BHP @ 5800 RPM
Torque
224 lb-ft @ 4400 RPM
304 Nm @ 4400 RPM
Fuel System
Multipoint Injection
Fuel
Gasoline
Fuel capacity
19.8 gallons (75.0 L)
PERFORMANCE SPECS
Top Speed
111.9 mph (180 km/h)
Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph)
8.8 s
TRANSMISSION SPECS
Drive Type
All Wheel Drive
Gearbox
4-Speed automatic
BRAKES SPECS
Front
Ventilated Discs
Rear
Drums
TIRES SPECS
Tire Size
225/70 R 16
DIMENSIONS
Length
180.1 in (4575 mm)
Width
71.5 in (1816 mm)
Height
65.6 in (1666 mm)
Front/rear Track
61.6/61 in (1,565/1,549 mm)
Wheelbase
104.3 in (2649 mm)
Ground Clearance
7.5 in (191 mm)
Cargo Volume
17.3 cuFT (490 L)
WEIGHT SPECS
Unladen Weight
4034 lbs (1830 kg)
Gross Weight Limit
4949 lbs (2245 kg)
FUEL ECONOMY (NEDC)
City
13.3 mpg US (17.7 L/100Km)
Highway
22.8 mpg US (10.3 L/100Km)
Combined
22.4 mpg US (10.5 L/100Km)
CO2 Emissions
251 g/km
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