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USED CAR RELEVANT: 2004 Lexus RX330 Review - Bonus 20 Year Followup

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Lexus RX330 2004- Surfs Not Up

20 Year Followup; 2004 Lexus RX330 Reliability and Resale: Based on the search results, it seems that the 2004 Lexus RX 330 has a good track record when it comes to reliability and resale value.
In particular: Review (1)mentions that the body style of the RX 330 is still attractive despite changes in newer models, indicating that the car has enduring appeal. Review [2) notes that the RX has long been a benchmark for reliability and resale value. Review [3] specifically mentions that the RX 330 has an excellent track record when it comes to reliability. Review [4] states that Lexus vehicles, including the RX, have a reputation for luxury, reliability, and resale value.

Overall, it seems that the 2004 Lexus RX 330 is a reliable car with good resale value.. However, it's worth noting that these reviews are several years old and the specific value and reliability of a particular car will depend on factors such as its condition, maintenance history, and market demand.

CLICK2WATCH VIDEO - RX330 Introduction At Detroit Auto Show(Starts at 08:15 in ends 18:15)


Think back to 1998. At that time, the norm for the entry-luxury sport-utility class was a traditional body-on-frame truck with extra appointments, in two- or four-wheel drive trim. Although such vehicles had truck strengths, especially towing and off-road ability, they also had truck drawbacks. Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), ride and handling, space efficiency, and step-in height were not necessarily pleasing to luxury car buyers.

Enter Lexus, with the RX300. When it debuted in 1998, the Lexus RX300 was a revelation and a revolution in the mid-sized luxury SUV class. Like many smaller ``crossover'' SUVs it was built on a modified unit-construction car chassis, with front- or all-wheel drive and fully-independent suspension for car-like NVH and ride and handling characteristics. But it also had the cargo-carrying ability, high-eyepoint driving position and good ground clearance that made sport-utilities popular. If it wasn't capable of extreme off- road travel and couldn't tow twice its weight, that didn't seem to matter. About 370,000 RX300s were sold in the next five years and the luxury crossover segment was created. As an added benefit for anyone who really did need a luxury truck, the truck-based competitors were forced to become more refined as well.

Five years is a long time, and, although RX300 sales remained strong right into 2003, Lexus no longer has the field to itself. So, to no one's surprise, the RX330 debuts for 2004. It is an obvious evolution of the RX300, larger in size and power yet more efficient and less expensive.

I've been driving a new RX330 for the past week, and it has been interesting. In a class where vehicles can age as quickly as the latest electronic gadget, the RX300 more than held its own. And so, with its uniquely Lexus mix of comfort, convenience, and style, the RX330 is likely to be its competition's worst nightmare.

APPEARANCE: If, as is likely, you can recognize an RX300, you'll recognize the RX330. In shape and style it is an evolution of the RX300. The 330 is noticeably longer, four inches in wheelbase and six in length, and also slightly wider and higher. The result of the size increase is, paradoxically, a leaner look from the chromed trapezoidal waterfall grille to the browed backlight. Both the triangularly-faired multi-element headlights and clear-covered taillights borrow contemporary style from Lexus's IS300 sports sedan. Slightly-raised bodywork instead of add-on lower cladding imparts a clean, elegant look to the sides, and moderate flares on the wheel arches continue the line of the plastic-clad bumpers. The windshield and backlight of the RX300 were radically-sloped for an SUV; the RX330's counterparts are even more so. The RX330 is a two-box SUV, but with no slabs and no 90-degree angles, the boxes are hard to see.

COMFORT: Inside as well as out, the RX330 builds on the style and strengths of its predecessor. In the center of the instrument panel is a prominent center stack, with the shift lever below allowing for space between the dash and the console, just as in the RX300. But the styling is more angular. The center stack trim and other interior pieces are silvery plastic material for the contemporary sport look, balanced for luxury by wood on the door handles and center console. Instrumentation is complete, and backlit for easy visibility in all lighting conditions. Attention to detail is a Lexus specialty, and shows in the RX not only in the first-rate fit and finish but in details like lighting for the front cupholders. There is more room inside the RX330 than in the 300, especially in the rear seat and cargo area. Hidden storage beneath the cargo floor adds security for small and medium-sized items. The rear seat cushion is split 60/40, with the back split 40/20/40 so passengers and long items like skis can to be carried simultaneously. It folds completely flat when necessary. Each side of the rear seat slides fore-and-aft, and the backs recline. There is good headroom and serious legroom. The front buckets are as comfortable and supportive as expected in a Lexus. And, of course, a long list of option packages including DVD-based entertainment and navigation systems and the Mark Levinson audiophile system allow an RX330 to be outfitted to any desired level of opulence. One item that is expected to be popular is the power-assisted tailgate, which can be operated by hand or by the remote fob. My test vehicle had that, and it is more than just a gimmick, although you'll still find yourself with too few hands at times.

SAFETY: The Lexus RX330 is built with a strong safety cell around the passenger compartment. Multi-stage front airbags are supplemented by side and side curtain airbags and a driver's knee air bag. The available ``Adaptive Front lighting System'' (AFS) swivels the headlights for improved night-time visibility.

ROADABILITY: Increased chassis rigidity, a longer wheelbase, and wider track improve the RX330's ride and handling over the RX300's already-high levels. With its unibody construction and fully- independent suspension, there is no truck in the RX330's ancestry. Attention to aerodynamics and new sound-absorbing materials help make it almost as quiet as a Lexus ES300 luxury sedan. The optional air suspension, with which my test vehicle was equipped, allows changes in ride height from 5.9 inches at rest for easy access to over 8 inches at low speeds for clearance when navigating difficult driveways or moderate fire road use. Ride comfort, no surprise, is excellent, and also unsurprisingly the RX330 corners like a tall car, with less body roll than many other SUVs. The all-wheel drive system normally splits torque evenly between the front and rear axles, and uses electronic controls from the standard ``Vehicle Stability Control'' (VSC) system to redistribute power fore-and-aft and side-to-side when necessary.

PERFORMANCE: As can be told from the name, the RX330's V6 engine has grown to 3.3 liters. Like all Lexus engines, it is an aluminum alloy, dual overhead camshaft, four-valve-per-cylinder design. Its 230 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 242 horsepower at 3,600 rpm are up 10 hp and 20 lb-ft from the RX300. Electronic throttle control and VVT-i variable valve timing help ensure quick throttle response and good fuel economy at all engine speeds. A new five-speed automatic transmission also helps performance and fuel economy. I found it to work very well, and rarely took advantage of the available manual shift mode except on steep, twisty roads.

CONCLUSIONS: Lexus keeps a step ahead of the competition with its new 2004 RX330 sport-utility vehicle.

2004 Lexus RX330

Base Price			$ 35,025
Price As Tested		        $ 42,353
Engine Type			dual overhead cam aluminum alloy V6 
                                 with VVT-i variable valve timing
Engine Size			3.3 liters / x cu. in.
Horsepower			230 @ 5600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)			242 @ 3600 rpm
Transmission			5-speed electronically-controlled 
                                 automatic with manual shift mode (opt)
Wheelbase / Length		106.9 in. / 186.2 in.
Curb Weight			4,065 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower	        17.7
Fuel Capacity			19.2 gal.
Fuel Requirement		91 octane unleaded premium gasoline 
                                 recommended for best performance
Tires				P235/55 VR18 Michelin Energy MXV4
Brakes, front/rear		vented disc / solid disc,
                                 antilock standard
Suspension, front/rear		independent MacPherson strut /
				 independent dual-link strut
				  adjustable-height air suspension 
Ground clearance(air suspension) normal: 7.1; high 8.3; low 6.5; 
                                  access 5.9
Drivetrain			front engine, all-wheel drive

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
    city / highway / observed		20 / 26 / 20
0 to 60 mph				7.8  sec
Towing capacity			        2000 lbs std, 3500 lbs with 
                                         towing package

Adaptive cruise control			        $  600
Multi-stage heated front seats and
 headlamp washers				$  540
Performance package - includes:
  graphite polished 18'' wheels with 235/55R18
  mud & snow tires, four-wheel air suspension,
  sequential shift automatic transmission, 
  power rear door, power tilt and telescope
  steering wheel with memory, high-intensity
  discharge (HID) headlamps with adaptive front
  lighting system (AFS), leather trim interior, 
  one-touch open/close moonroof, rain-sensing
  wipers					$ 5,455
Cargo mats					$    92
Wheel locks					$    66
Delivery charge				        $   575