Among our top-rated SUVs of the time, the RX300 is comfortable and quiet. Handling is secure, though not agile and aided by standard stability control. The interior is modest-sized, but well finished and provides a little more cargo capacity than some similar station wagons. Overall payload capacity is modest, but fuel economy is very good for its class.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Emissions
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags standard. ESC standard from 2001. Head protection air bags standard from 2004.
Road Test

Among our top-rated SUVs of the time, the RX300 is comfortable and quiet. Handling is secure, though not agile and aided by standard stability control. The interior is modest-sized, but well finished and provides a little more cargo capacity than some similar station wagons. Overall payload capacity is modest, but fuel economy is very good for its class.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3-liter V6 (220 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2001 Lexus RX owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"It failed"

Anonymous, VA (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Automatic climate control

"Not able to control the temperature."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"This is a common problem in the RX 300. I am unable to set the heat temperature nor the fan location settings. There are two modules controlling these functions and both need to be replaced and are expansive to do so."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"Servo motors/deflectors quit working."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"Climate control actuators malfunctioned, stopped working, and had to be replaced. Especially the actuator that directs air to the vents, floor and dash"

Carl B., TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"Climate control won't work properly. No matter what control is set on, even air conditioning, only hot air came out"

Anonymous, KS (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"servos the send air to either dash or floor in AC system failed at a cost of $500 each, so we have little air circulation when the AC is on other than to the floor"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"Electrical power of the"

Anonymous, SC (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Blower (fan) motor

"Air only comes out the front ac vents. There is no heat and if it does occasionally work, it only comes out center AC opening. Therefore, the defrost does not work and won't melt frost on windshield"

Robert P., NC (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Condenser

"It failed"

Anonymous, VA (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Heater system

"Not able to control or change where it blows from and not able to control the temperature."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Heating didn't work well and when it was cold outside, heater doesn't come on alone and a/c only work so I was cold while driving and had to take the car to Lexus dealer to get it fixed which was rather expensive."

Anonymous, CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Heater not working at all."

Anonymous, CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"Very slow leak that shop could not locate. Recharging lasts about six months."

Anonymous, KY (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Timing belt was changed at 95,000 miles and started leaking coolant from the water pump at 115,000 miles. Turned out the water pump seal was defective. I had to pay for labor $400 to redo the timing belt. Parts were warranty for life."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"Can't find and repair source of leak. Added refrigerant multiple times iver last few years"

Samuel P., FL (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Clock

"stops working when car is not running."

Anonymous, OR (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Unable to keep correct time. Every time car starts, time reverts to 1:00"

Anonymous, AZ (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Cruise control

"Cruise only works to set it at a speed. The resume does not function after a stop"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Left brake light finally went out after 17 years"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Gauges

"Gas guage is not accurate and cost of repair is extreme. Guage never shows full and then shows empty when there is 3/4 of tank of gas"

Anonymous, AZ (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Headlights

"The lamp and transformer went bad in one headlight. The car is only worth $1000 for trade in. I did not fix the light yet due to it costing almost as much as the car is worth around $750 or could not find the right matching light to buy used."

Anonymous, (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)
Keyless entry

"For the last five years, I have purchased my own parts and the mechanic at my local Lexus dealer was willing to install them so I could avoid an unreasonable 200 to 300% markup on parts. I did the same this time with a new master key, with remote, that I purchased from Amazon for $60. However, while my mechanic was willing to program the key for $75, the parts department that cuts keys, was willing to cut a new key only if I buy the new one it wants to sell to me for $225. Thus I had to return the one I purchased for $60. The ridiculously high parts markup is the only problem I have had with my local Lexus dealer."

William D., CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Not the right category, but the ignition switch froze up and couldn't be turned, stranding the car."

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Not all locks on my doors respond to keyless entry"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"Key less entry does not function on all doors. Actuators does not work on 2 doors"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"Doors will not properly lock and unlock, especially rear passenger door. And window control on passenger window extremely intermittent, some times on driver window"

Carl B., TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"the remote lock/unlock system has stopped working on 2 doors"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"The keyless entry will only lock and/or unlock two doors. The others have to be manually locked or unlocked. The cost to repair this is way too much ($1,000) for an old car"

Anonymous, CO (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

"Really the trany would not shift into overdrive, and the knock sensors were the problem!!! had then changed, and all is well!"

George W., SC (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"One of the two knock sensors failed. Had both replaced. Additionally, hada failed VVT solenoid replaced."

Anonymous, MO (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Engine mounts

"Usual noise. Mounts were dried out and failing"

Art G., NV (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Strange noise under the hood. Dealer found one engine mount gone"

Art G., NV (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Oil leaks

"A very slow leak is being ignored because there is no oil observed in our driveway. If any appears, then some new gaskets will be installed. However, this 18-year old car will probably be replaced soon. It would pay to keep repairing it, but a new car is desirable because it will come with various safety and driver assistance features that the old car doesn't have."

William D., CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Rear Main Seal replaced. Routine maintenance"

Anonymous, AL (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"and it drips on hot surfaces and really is leaking from numerous places including engine. Mechanic says it would be extremely expensive to replace"

Robert P., NC (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"gasket leak"

Les G., OR (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"Pipe started leaking that had the Catalytic convertor. Had to be replaced"

John C., MA (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Exhaust leaks

"small hole in mufffler"

Edward V., PA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"just needed new gasket"

Anonymous, CO (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Rust through in pipe between downstream cat and resonator. Failure was at the weld joint of the hanger and pipe. Required replacement of cat, resonator and pipe between resonator and muffler. As long as I was under there I replaced the muffler too."

Roger V., IL (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Other/unsure

"Pax side airbag warning light stays lit"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"airbag warning light came on and I haven't bothered to have it repaired"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)
Pipes

"I replaced the pipe between the cat and resonator due to the exhaust leak repair"

Roger V., IL (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Check engine light went on. Codes P0440, P0441, P0442. Replaced charcoal canister unit."

Anonymous, IL (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"It took almost a year to figure out that a stuck Air pressure release Valve on the gas tank was causing emissions sensor to go off on the car. This is part of the EVAP sensor system"

Anonymous, NC (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Multiple dash lights; sensor needed replacing; started fall 2019, fixed late 2019. Repair was successful."

Anonymous, GA (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"one upstream senor thew a CEL P1130 Intermittent range. Had both upstream senors replaced"

Roger V., IL (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"Check Light - Code = Mass Air Flow problem, very intermittent"

Ron K., AR (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"Air fuel ratio sensor on bank 2 failed. It was replaced at a cost of $636.00"

W D., CA (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"sensors failed at gas tank fitting, toyota unable to diagnose, local autocheck able to determine it was leaky gasket to vapor recovery system, replaced seals and sensor fails stopped, as well as did minor gas smell"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"The original transmission went out at about 125000 miles. Dealer had said they had never seen that before."

Tim F., AZ (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"STRUTS :Around 150,000 miles, I notice the front end was making a thudding sound going over small bumps in the road. Turns out that the struts were shot. TRANSMISSION: around 155000 miles. I could not put the transmission in gear. Had to tow to the dealer. The cable from the shifter to the transmission had broken. So no big deal right. Wrong, they had to drop the entire transmission in order to replace the cable. TRANSMISSION: At 39000 miles I took the RX to the Lexus dealer and complained that it was shifting hard. The dealer mechanics drove the car and said that there was no problem. So, I said "ok" took the car put 1000 more miles on it and took it back to the dealer because now when the car changed gears it did so with some violence. They test drove the car and said the car needed a "new transmission". I said "really, you think so?" So they kept the car for 2 weeks and said it was ready for pickup. I drove the car off the lot and immediately had the same problem. Turned around returned the car for repair. They called and said the car needs another "new transmission". Finally got my car and all was well. I checked the bill and saw charges of over $6,000 for the first and second transmission. It appears that the first transmission was bad. All this was covered under warranty."

Anonymous, FL (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)

"Transmission was totally unresponsive to all settings. Replaced with a rebuilt one"

Anonymous, MI (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"transmission has gone a third time, after 2 rebuilds. We will not rebuild again. Looking to sell for parts"

Anonymous, NY (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

"The Lexus RX transmission should have had a recall. There was talk of a class action suit. These transmissions seem to fail pretty consistently after 85K miles. We have had 3 rebuilds. There was a design problem that Lexus refused to acknowledge, and it affected a number of models. I believe that they have since resolved the problem, but have given no help to the people with failed units"

Carl S., NY (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Drainage system off the car had decayed resulting in flooding of the trunk area."

Anonymous, CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Parked the lexus up for about a month in driveway, open to the elements. That vehicle's floor was soaked every time it rained heavily. grew mold,"

Anonymous, NY (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"I needed to replace valve gaskets, air conditioning parts and a new headlight assembly. This would have been prohibitive (about $2,500) if I had purchased the parts from my Lexus dealer. Instead, I purchased the parts myself for $700 and my mechanic at the same dealership was willing to install them. I have never had any problem with parts purchased outside the dealership because I am careful to purchase quality parts that still cost much less than those purchased from the Lexus dealer."

William D., CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Air conditioning, some clicking noise, not sure what it is, air conditioner still works ok"

Anonymous, TX (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"One evening I went to unlock the liftgate and could not get it to release. The handle would not worki. It turned out the mechanism was broken, which required the removal of the hatch handle, operating mechanisms, and lock. I was without the use of the car for several days while this work was accomplished."

Richard C., VA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"My key fob stopped working years ago so I have to use the key to lock and unlock the doors. One door does not operate either way when do you that. I always have to remember to reach over to the right rear door to lock it (It is a stretch!) before I get out of the car. The rear hatch stopped unlocking for many months. I finally found someone that could fix it but it is a fragile situation. I have to be very gentle. Also the hatch will fall on your head if you don't hold it up or clip a vice grip onto one of the hydraulic pistons to hold it"

Anonymous, (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Rear hatch has a tendency to have the lock jam so that the hatch cannot be opened"

Carl S., NY (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"The black paint that is on the roof luggage rack is peeling off and the trim on the lower part of the body -- particularly on the doors -- is chipping."

Richard C., VA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"The black paint has nearly all peeled off of the luggage rack on the roof. It was originally satin black, but now is chrome with patchy black spots remaining. This has also occurred on my 2006 Lexus RX400h. I am thinking about selling both vehicles and may have the roof rack components powder coated black to correct this problem."

Richard C., VA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Rust

"I am getting rust bubbles around the wheel wells. I bought this car used, and it spent the first few years of operation in Pennsylvania where salt is used on the roads in the winters. I expect the rust I am experiencing is a consequence of salt exposure."

Richard C., VA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Struts went bad around 150,000 miles. Replaced the McPherson struts for a "pretty penny.""

Anonymous, FL (2001 Lexus RX 3.0-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Front right wheel become detached from the rack and pinion steering. Repair was fairly straightforward, but car had to be pushed off the road with manual manipulation of the wheel"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Battery lasted less than 2 years"

Art G., NV (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Car seems to eat batteries. We are lucky to get 3 years"

Art G., NV (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Transmission leaks

"problem was fixed by Lexus dealer"

Anonymous, OR (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Rotors

"See pulsation"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Lexus RX 300 3.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"ac vent servers on passenger side would fail into a loud vibration mode rendering the entire system workable but too loud to tolerate for long distances"

Walter P., TX (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Timing belt or chain

"Engine running poorly Dealer replaced timing belt and associated items since engine had 155k. Did not resolve problem. Problem had turned out to be vvt sensor. Over $2000 spent."

Bill D., SC (2001 Lexus RX 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

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