1 Apr 2003
By CHRIS HARRIS
AUSTRALIA didn’t see the first-generation (1998) RX, which was essentially a 1997-2002 Toyota Camry with extensive revisions to the front-wheel drive platform and a completely new body and interior.
The same applied to the Mk2 model that stormed Australia during 2003.
It quickly asserted itself as a segment leader, and became Lexus’ most popular vehicle.
Again Lexus pilfered the contemporary (’02-’06) Camry platform, but worked extremely hard to eliminate noise, vibration and harshness.
The result was one of the quietest and comfortable SUVs for any money, backed by a soft ride and opulent luxury levels in the higher-grade Sports Luxury model – which also included high-tech features such as a reverse camera, electric tailgate door and satellite navigation.
Yet even the entry-level Sport included stability control, an armada of airbags, anti-lock brakes, powered front seats and a sunroof.
But the RX 300 is no driver’s car, despite possessing a smooth and powerful 172kW/328Nm 3.3-litre VVTi double overhead cam 24-valve V6 powerplant paired to a silky five-speed sequential automatic gearbox.
When it was new