The New Lexus RX300: Changing The Way An SUV Should Be

22 May 2003


  • World’s most successful luxury SUV – more than half a million sold since sales began
  • Bigger, bolder, more dynamic design
  • Three model derivatives – RX300, RX300 SE and RX300 SE-L
  • Now on sale in the UK with on-the-road prices from £28,955
  • Nine airbags fitted as standard
  • LED technology for fast-illuminating rear brake lights
  • Exclusive Mark Levinson audio system provides superb sound reproduction (SE-L)
  • Revised 3.0-litre V6 VVT-i petrol engine offers enhanced performance and economy
  • Engine already compliant with 2005 Euro IV emissions standards
  • New five-speed electronically-controlled automatic gearbox – sequential shift function
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), four-channel ABS and Brake Assist (BA) standard on all models
  • Four-wheel variable height air suspension system standard on RX300 SE-L
  • Rear seat split-folds 40:20:40 for versatile load/accommodation configurations
  • Manufactured in one of the world’s highest quality production plants
  • Best in class CO2 emissions levels, 288g/km
  • Unique-in-class driver’s knee airbag and large side airbags standard on all models
  • Unique-in-class rear parking camera monitor for greater convenience and safety
  • Unique-in-class power operated tailgate and retracting tonneau cover
  • Adaptive Front-light System (AFS) improves vision through corners


Five years after the original Lexus RX300 created the luxury sport utility segment and became a best seller with more than 500,000 units sold worldwide, the new generation Lexus RX300 further raises the segment benchmarks.

The new RX300 improves on every aspect of the outgoing model, making a quantum leap in safety, driving dynamics and refinement to move it even further ahead of other vehicles in the luxury SUV segment.

High-Performance V6 Engine

The power of the 3.0-litre high-performance V6 engine is increased to 201bhp by improving the intake and exhaust systems. The powerplant, which already complies with the 2005 EURO IV emission standards, is complemented by a new five-speed automatic transmission with a sequential gearchange and a new drivetrain in which the torque distribution between the front and rear wheels is controlled electronically by the Traction Control (TRC) system.

Bold New Look

A more aerodynamic body and higher-performance tyres increase the top speed from 112 to 124mph, while improving combined fuel consumption by more than six per cent, achieving a best in class figure for luxury SUVs equipped with six-cylinder petrol engines.

In addition to offering class-leading aerodynamic efficiency, the new Lexus RX300 is distinguished by its bold new look. The RX300 shares styling cues with other Lexus models, with the distinctive grille design, modern, clear glass lamps front and rear, strong wheel arches, a rising window line and a distinctive ‘c-post’ rear pillar design.

The modern and distinctive shape also gives a passenger compartment that is bigger and roomier than most of its segment rivals. At 4,740mm in length, the new Lexus RX300 is 160mm longer than its predecessor and 30mm wider, with refined packaging giving an extra 100mm of wheelbase for additional luggage load space. Despite the greater length, the turning radius remains a compact 5.7m.

Comfort and Convenience

A further comfort and convenience feature offered by the new generation RX300 is a power-operated rear-tailgate, standard on the SE and SE-L; automatically opening and closing at the touch of a button. It can also be activated remotely by the vehicle’s key. To ensure safe operation, the system features a warning buzzer. By receiving information from the touch sensors and the electric motor, the system ECU can stop the door and reverse its movement when there is any obstruction to its closing action.

Active and Passive Safety

Rear end styling and safety are equally enhanced by lamps, which use the latest LED (light emitting diode) technology rather than traditional filament bulbs. These are more energy efficient – adding up to one per cent to fuel economy – and a significant active safety item. The LED elements light up 10 times faster than a conventional lamp, 2 to 15 milliseconds as opposed to 150 to 200msec. This equates to six metres of reaction time at 62mph.

The new Lexus RX300 takes the lead in all areas of active and passive safety. Uppermost are the excellent driving dynamics, aided still further by Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC) and Brake Assist (BA) technology. Additionally, the new RX300 carries more safety equipment than any other vehicle in its segment.

A further aid to active safety is the use of a Lexus Parking Assist Monitor. Effectively a TV camera mounted in the rear, it is a unique feature among luxury SUVs. When reverse gear is selected, an image appears on the navigation display screen on the dashboard, allowing accurate manoeuvring and minimising the risk of collision with low-level objects.

To further advance the model’s leadership in passive safety performance the new RX300 features as standard equipment dual stage driver and front passenger SRS airbags and a first-in-segment driver’s SRS knee airbag. New Extra-large Side Airbags (protecting torso, abdomen and pelvis) and standard side curtain shield airbags offer supplemental protection for occupants in side impacts.

Performance and Refinement

A new Air Suspension System, fitted to the RX300 SE-L, offers a still higher level of performance and refinement. This feature provides greater ride control together with an auto-levelling function and the ability to alter ride height through a range of 45mm.

Intelligent AFS (Adaptive Front-lighting System), a world-first for SUVs, radically improves night-driving visibility when cornering. Unlike other systems, which either use additional lamps or are merely directly linked to a car’s steering, the Intelligent AFS microprocessor controller calculates the optimum swivel of the lighting area from the vehicle speed and steering angle. It is combined with xenon headlights with an automatic leveling system and headlamp cleaners for the best night-time vision.

UK Pricing

The full on the road pricing and grade structure is as follows:

  • RX300 – £28,955
  • RX300 SE – £33,000
  • RX300 SE with Lexus Navigator – £35,105
  • RX300 SE-L – £37,705
  • RX300 SE-L with Wood Finish Pack – £38,105


The new Lexus RX300 is covered for up to three years or 60,000 miles against any mechanical or paintwork failure attributable to manufacturing or assembly defects.

Both of these are free of charge. Additional protection of a Lexus Extended Warranty is available annually until your Lexus is seven years old, and has reached 140,000 miles.


Download this release as a PDF below

The New Lexus RX300: Changing The Way An SUV Should Be


Images are copyright free for editorial purposes only

Media enquiries

Please click here to see the press contacts at Lexus (GB):

Show Press Contacts

For further information, please contact:

David Crouch

07909 900 085 or by email at

General, fleet and motorsport media enquiries

David Rogers

07825 280608 or by email at

General, alternative fuels and mobility media enquiries

Please understand that our press team only deal with enquiries from media representatives.

Toyota and Lexus Press Releases

To receive all Toyota and Lexus press information, please select the box below.

To update your profile type in your email address and press return. MailChimp will then send you an email confirming your details and you will then have the opportunity of amending your details.

* indicates required
All Toyota/Lexus news