Take a popular model, the Lexus RX 300, and add more luxury, more safety features, and more power, and presto-chango, you have the Lexus RX 330, offered by Lexus from 2004-2006.
The RX 330 was exactly what you would expect from a Lexus. It was comfortable, quiet, powerful, roomy, reliable, and safe. All good things for sure and if you want the feeling of being special while you go to the warehouse store for a few extras, this is the SUV for you. If you want to load some of the soccer team in the RX330 and drive to the field and feel pretty special while doing it, this is the SUV for you. But if you want to hook up with some old college buddies and challenge the open road on hairpin turns, dreaming of driving the LeMans road race some day, this is not the SUV for you.
The engineers at Lexus added a bigger engine to this model, a 3.3-liter V6 with 230 horsepower that meshed with a 5-speed automatic transmission to make this model a full second faster in the 0-60 mph test than its predecessor the RX 300. Interior room was increased, safety added with larger side airbags, and the sound system improved. New high tech additions, larger wheels, tighter handling, it all added up to one heck of a serene and safety-conscious ride.
The only thing missing was the feeling of being “one with the road.” That is in no way a negative. If you are an aggressive driver looking for thrills then really, why buy a crossover SUV in the first place? One logically buys a SUV for roominess, safety, and comfort, and the RX 330 delivers all of that in spades.
If you are looking for a used SUV you really can’t go wrong with any of the three years the RX 330 was produced. Superior in every way to the RX 300, this is a quality vehicle made by people who understand quality. And if you are in the market for a really nice audio system, do some hunting in a salvage yard for one of these models and see if you can’t score one of the Mark Levinson audio systems that were optional for the RX 330. There is no better feeling than to cruise down the interstate surrounded by the best sound man can produce. Or maybe you can find a used navigation system with voice control which was also added to the Lexus RX 330.
At times it seems negative telling someone what a vehicle is not, but really it’s just being realistic. You don’t hop in a VW Bug and challenge your neighbor, who is driving a Porsche 911, to a road race. Similarly, you don’t buy a Lexus and assume you will get the same kind of road handling capabilities as its German counterparts. That is not what a Lexus is about. A Lexus is about comfort and luxury and those are two pretty good qualities to hang your hat on. This Japanese import car is ready and willing to get you to Costco and back home again with a smile on your face all the way.