Lexus RX 300 Reviews
Lexus RX 300 was presented in 1999. The compact SUV was designed on the Toyota Camry platform. The car was primarily focused on the North American market that’s why it was produced in Europe only in 2000, while its sales in the U.S.A were 140.000 cars for two years of production.
The first generation of Lexus RX 300 had the fixed all-wheel drive with the center differential blocked by the viscous coupling and the 4-speed automatic transmission; front and rear McPherson suspensions with stabilizer bars, disc brakes and the front one were aerated. The first-line seats had eight adjustments and the side support. The driver's seat could move by 17mm. Sport equipment differed by the black cabin and the insertions in imitation aluminum on the console.
For five years more than half a million of the first-generation of Lexus RX cars were sold but it became outdated and need the worthy substitute.
The second generation of Lexus RX 300 was augmented in size and changed a lot of parts and details, but the ideology was very similar to its predecessor. The integral body, the transverse engine, the automatic transmission, the fixed all-wheel drive with the central differential, the rack-and-pinion power steering and independent candle suspensions were acquired by inheritance. The shape body became more rapid but the design was still sophisticated.
The basic version is equipped: the leather interior, the dual-zone climate control, the audio system with CD, nine airbags, the stability system, xenon headlights, alloy wheels and etc.
The expensive version is equipped by the feature of adjusting the clearance. Besides the "normal" there are four positions: minus 25 mm - for entry and exit, minus 15 - the lower, minus 7.5 - "Express" after the speed of 100 km/h, plus 30 mm - "off road". This model has also the adaptive headlights, the sunroof, the power end-door and the audio system of «Mark Levinson”.
Continuity of traditions can be noticed in the design. Only lighting is quite changed, adopting a more elaborate form. The slope rear window is significantly increased as compared to the first generation, the upper spoiler and "transparent" lights are seamlessly in the perimeter of rear window. The back part of the car is decorated with large light-emitting diodes lights.
The interior of RX 300 is stylishly, quality and respectable decorated. The composition of the front interior console is enlivened by two vertical stripes in imitation aluminum and the finish in imitation wood. Major instruments are "drowned" a little into the dashboard and illuminated by the switching on the ignition. For control the navigation electronics and a trip-computer, a driver has just to touch the screen with marked keys on it (the touch-sensitive-screen is the optional feature in all packing arrangement, the standard pack is also included the usual on-board monitor.) Plastics are used only soft and carefully selected for color and texture.
The driver's seat has five electrical adjustments. The rear seats are individually adjustable backrest and move back and forth. When the seats are folded up we get the area for baggage. There is a large mobile box between the front seats: the containers for small items and bottle holders are in the front, air vents are in the back side of the box. If the third rear passenger needs a place for his feet we can move the mobile box forward. The driver is tired of steering – he can move back the box and get to the passenger’s seat. The steering wheel is covered in leather and wood can be moved in two planes. In a word, the interior cabin is fully consistent with the price and class of the car.
There is the 6-cylinder V-engine of 3 liter and the output of 204 hp with the VVT-I system and the 5-stage automatic transmission with manual shift under the hood. The fuel consumption is 12.2 liters per 100 km. Owing to the excellent noise insulation we cannot hear this working powerful car.
The first important thing is an outstanding facility drive. Owing to the fixed all-wheel drive (with the unrestrained center differential system and the VSC system, stalled braked wheels) the car is perfectly controlled. The high speed and not ideal road surface can not upset Lexus off the course and require almost driving up. Driving the car is safely and securely at high speeds. The powerful brakes with convenient drive and the automatically engine brake help the automatic transmission.
The coefficient of drag is low for an SUV (Cd = 0.33) and it means that the noise and the sensitivity to side winds are also low.
The second generation of RX is the first Lexus produced also abroad, in Canada. This generation is multiplied the success of its predecessor.
In January 19, 2009 in Tokyo, there was the official presentation of the third-generation of Lexus RX350 with a gasoline engine, and later the hybrid version RX450h was introduced.
The crossover was constructed bigger, but still offered only a five-seater car. The shape body is still recognizable as the models of previous generations. The classic grille of the new model passes from the hood into the front bumper. Add a rather aggressive expression of the Asian-slightly slanted headlights, sharply defined wheel arcs and the massive bends with attractive narrow back lights and this is the new RX 350. Hybrid RX450h can be distinguished from the usual crossover by special bumper and grille, blue Lexus logos and tinted (blue tint) headlights and back lights. There are 19-inch wheels and LED headlights in the list of options for this car.
The augmented size positive affected the spacious of cabin and handle ability, but the stately proportions and improved security entailed in increase in weight. The standard RX350 with the front-wheel drive was heavier almost by 227 kg than its predecessor, and the all-wheel drive model - by 180 kg. The front-wheel hybrid RX450h increased in weight by 208 kg, and the all-wheel drive car was still heavier by 201 kg.
The third-generation RX differs from its predecessor by radically redesigned interior consists of original asymmetrical front panel, the new climate control and the audio system. Instead of three deep holes in front the driver eyes there is a single dashboard Optitron that lights up when switching on the ignition. And the list of equipment consists of not only a projector that displays information (including music) in the windshield, but also the manipulator Remote Touch - a small joystick located next to the automatic transmission. It looks like a computer mouse with two buttons on the sides. Habitually pushing buttons, you can move the cursor on the icons on the display and select the desired function. We should also mention the excellent surround sound Mark Levinson Premium Audio system with 15-speakers. The finish quality is at the highest level.
Lexus RX 350 is equipped with the rear view camera (the information is shown on the display located on the center console) and also the side view cameras built into the side mirrors. These cameras are still working when mirrors are folded, it is necessary, for example, to “get through” in the narrow spaces.
As usual the car will be produced in two versions - with the traditional gasoline engine V6 (3,5 liter) with the output of 277 hp and the hybrid engine with the complementary electric motor driving the wheels of the rear axle. The engine develops 245 hp at 6000 r/m (it was 208 hp before) and 317 Nm of torque (previously 287 Nm), by working electric motors the total output increases to 295 hp. Ni-MH batteries of 288 V that located under the rear seats and accumulate energy from two or three motors, depending on the drive (the all-wheel or front-wheel drive). Lexus RX 450h was equipped by the lightweight and compact electric motors, the power control assembly that allowed reducing of the fuel consumption by 8-12% as compared with the RX 400h.
RX350 is equipped with the traditional six-speed automatic gearbox, and RX450h hybrid is equipped with the stepless variable transmission. In addition, the hybrid car has two new systems of fuel economy. The first one is the system of keeping the heat engine reducing of warming time of the gasoline engine by frequent stops. The second one is the special system of exhaust gas recirculation that promotes to reduce the pumping lacks of the engine.
Lexus RX chassis are completely new. McPherson struts are left only at the front but from the rear they are replaced by the multilink suspension. The transmission was also reconstructed – there was the invariable four-wheel drive of RX with the distribution of torque at a ration of 50 to 50 in the past, but now everything was changed. There was the electromagnetic clutch instead of the blocking power splitter. The electromagnetic clutch turns on the rear axle only when it is necessary by skidding or the abrupt acceleration. But in any cases the rear axle gets no more than a half of the total torque. The ration of 50 to 50 can be available only by pressing the special button, and then over 40 km/h the transmission will start working in common conditions. These features are enough to rescue the car from a small snow or mud trap.
The third edition of RX is produced at two factories in Canada and Japan as before.
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