You’ve heard the expression “don’t mess with success.” That adage could well have been applied to Lexus’ best-selling RX 300. As the best-selling model in the Lexus lineup, the RX 300 was showing no signs of slowing down despite its advancing age. So it must have been with great caution that Lexus undertook the redesign of the RX in 2004 — messing it up could have had dire financial consequences.
If ever there was a textbook definition of “improvement,” the RX 330 has to be it. The latest Lexus RX 330 is sleeker, more powerful, roomier and has an even more luxurious interior than its well-regarded predecessor. Of course, the RX 330 still offers everything that made the previous Lexus SUV a sales success. The elevated seating position, forgiving ride and smooth drivetrain are still there, only more so.
While the original Lexus RX 300 offered plenty of luxury in an SUV package, the RX 330 ups the ante in terms of both luxury and performance. A full set of auto-dimming mirrors is standard on the RX 330 as are memory seats, a power front-passenger seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, four one-touch power windows, heated sideview mirrors and fore-and-aft-adjustable rear seat. A refined suspension and steering system return a comfortable ride while providing reasonable road feel and a tight turning radius. A major sticking point on the old RX 300 was the curious manner in which all the climate control and audio system functions were housed in one screen in vehicles equipped with a navigation system. The RX 330 has a much improved design as the stereo controls are now separate.
The RX 330 is a great example of what a luxury crossover utility can be. Excellent performance, a large interior and plenty of unique features make the Lexus SUV stand out in an already competitive segment. Even with new competitors cropping up at every turn, the 2006 Lexus RX 330 remains one of the best luxury SUVs on the market.