Used Lexus RX Review: 2003-2015

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Used Lexus RX Review: 2003-2015
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Video lexus rx 350 used car review

Since its launch in Australia in April 2003, the Lexus RX has been a remarkable success for the upmarket Japanese marque. While it may resemble more of a high-riding station wagon than a 4WD, the RX offers mild to medium off-road ability in its AWD versions, although very few owners take advantage of it.

The introduction of the fourth-generation RX series in November 2015 generated significant interest, leading many owners to trade up to the latest model. As a result, there has been a surplus of secondhand RX vehicles flooding the used car lots. If you act swiftly, you might be able to find one of these gems at a lower price than usual, although no promises can be made.

It’s worth noting that the first-generation RX was only available in the USA, making the fourth generation the first to reach the Australian market. While it is still too early to provide a comprehensive review of the gen-four RX in this used car piece, we can mention that it boasts a longer wheelbase than its predecessor, providing better legroom in the back.

Lexus is renowned for its refinement, delivering a quiet and smooth running experience. The use of upmarket materials and the high-quality fit and finish of the interior have been consistent right from the start, continuing to reach new heights with each subsequent model.

The interior space in the early RX models comfortably accommodates two adults and three children. However, the later models offer even better interior room, allowing two adults in the rear to have a pleasant experience. If you have preteen children, three of them can fit comfortably.

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Boot space is reasonable, although the stylish slope of the rear window may limit the capacity for bulkier items. However, the back seat features a 40/20/40 split, improving the overall versatility.

The third-generation Lexus RX, introduced in February 2009, represented a significant overhaul. It received a modest facelift in July 2012, which included the introduction of a four-cylinder engine and 2WD (front-wheel drive) options for the first time.

Most Lexus RX models are powered by a twin-cam V6 petrol engine, with a 3.0-liter capacity in the RX330 and a 3.5-liter capacity in the RX350. Initially, the engine was paired with a five-speed automatic transmission in the second-generation models. However, the all-new 2009 model featured a six-speed unit, enhancing the driving experience.

Lexus has long been a leader in the petrol-electric hybrid field, and the RX is no exception. Starting from October 2006, an electric motor has been offered in combination with the petrol engine. Look for the lowercase ‘h’ in the model name, such as Lexus RX400h. It’s important to note that it does not have a 4.0-liter petrol engine; rather, it has a 3.3-liter engine. However, Lexus claims that it performs at the level of a 4.0-liter petrol engine.

Lexus dealerships are primarily located in metropolitan areas, capital cities, major regional centers, and country locations. In areas where Lexus dealerships are not available, some top Toyota mechanics have been trained to work on Lexus vehicles.

When it comes to servicing and repair costs, the RX falls within the average range for an SUV in its upmarket class. Furthermore, there have been no significant complaints about the cost or availability of routine spare parts for these vehicles. Insurance charges generally do not vary significantly between major companies, but it may still be worth exploring different options.

What to Look For

The high build quality of the Lexus RX ensures that issues are rare. However, due to the complexity of these vehicles, we recommend getting a professional inspection after conducting your initial assessment. Here are a few specific things to consider:

  • Check for a smoking exhaust on high-mileage engines, especially when the engine is under heavy load.
  • Ensure that the automatic transmission operates smoothly and seamlessly, particularly during hard acceleration.
  • Inspect the interior and boot carefully, as the RX is a popular choice among families and may exhibit signs of wear and tear.
  • Look out for body damage, particularly on the bumper corners, sill panels, and doors, which may indicate mild to moderate off-road use.
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Q: Are spare parts for the Lexus RX readily available and reasonably priced?

A: Yes, there have been no significant complaints about the cost or availability of routine spare parts for the RX.

Q: Can I find Lexus dealerships outside of metropolitan areas?

A: While Lexus dealerships are primarily located in metropolitan areas, capital cities, and major regional centers, some top Toyota mechanics have been trained to work on Lexus vehicles in areas where dealerships are not available.

Q: How does the RX compare to other SUVs in terms of service and repair costs?

A: The RX falls within the average range for an SUV in its upmarket class when it comes to servicing and repair costs.

Q: Should I consider shopping around for insurance coverage?

A: Insurance charges for the RX do not vary significantly between major companies. However, it can still be beneficial to explore different options to find the best deal for your specific circumstances.


The Lexus RX from 2003 to 2015 has proven to be a popular choice among car enthusiasts looking for a refined and comfortable SUV. With its high build quality, upmarket interior, and smooth driving experience, the RX offers a luxurious ride for both the driver and passengers. While the fourth-generation RX is still relatively new, the previous models have established a strong reputation for reliability and overall satisfaction. If you’re in the market for a used luxury SUV, the Lexus RX should definitely be on your list of vehicles to consider.

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