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Lexus RX
2010-present Lexus RX 350 (US)
Manufacturer Lexus
Parent company Toyota Motor Corporation
Production 1998–present
Class Compact luxury crossover
SUV (1998-2003)
Mid-size luxury crossover
SUV (2004-present)
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Layout Front-engine, FWD, AWD

The Lexus RX is a luxury crossover SUV sold by Lexus since 1998. The RX is designed to combine the functional characteristics of an SUV with ride and features of a luxury sedan.[1] The RX series has comprised multiple V6 and hybrid-powered models (such as the RX 300, RX 330, RX 350, RX 400h, and RX 450h), in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions. Three generations of the Lexus RX have been produced to date, in compact or mid-size form.[2] The Lexus RX has been the best-selling crossover luxury SUV on the US market since its introduction and has ranked as the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.[3]

The Lexus RX first premiered in 1997 as a Lexus concept, followed by the debut of the production RX 300 model at the 1998 North American International Auto Show.[4] In 2003, the second generation RX debuted in the U.S., and the redesigned RX 330 went on sale shortly after. Equivalent versions of the first and second generation models were sold in Japan under the Toyota Harrier (トヨタ・ハリアー) nameplate until 2008. In 2006, the RX line added the world's first luxury hybrid,[5] the RX 400h. The redesigned third generation Lexus RX 350 went on sale in early 2009,[6] followed later that year by the second generation Lexus RX Hybrid, the RX 450h.[6]

As the earliest luxury crossover on the market, the Lexus RX has inspired similar competitors from rival marques.[7] Its commercial success as Lexus' best-selling model has been attributed to the strong reliability reputation of Lexus and the RX line.[8] The RX is the only Lexus vehicle to be produced within as well as outside Japan, with North American market RX 350s being made at the Cambridge plant in Canada.[9] The RX designation, signifies its place in the Lexus lineup next to the larger body-on-frame GX and LX SUVs.

Contents

First generation (1998-2003)

First generation
1999-2000 Lexus RX 300 (US)
Also called Lexus RX 300
Toyota Harrier (JDM)
Production 1998–2003
Model year(s) 1999–2003
Assembly Kyūshū, Japan
Engine(s) 2.2 L 5S-FE I4, 139 hp (104 kW), 140 ft·lbf (191 Nm)
3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6, 219 hp (163 kW), 224 ft·lbf (304 Nm)
2.4 L 2AZ-FE, 159 hp (119 kW), 163 ft·lbf (221 Nm)
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase '99-'00: 103.1 in (2619 mm)
'01-'03: 103.0 in (2616 mm)
Length '01-'03: 180.3 in (4580 mm)
'99-'00: 180.1 in (4575 mm)
Width 71.5 in (1816 mm)
Height 65.7 in (1669 mm)
Fuel capacity 19.8 US gallons (75.0 L; 16.5 imp gal)
Related Toyota Highlander
Toyota Camry
Lexus ES

In February 1997, Lexus debuted the "Sport Luxury Vehicle" (SLV) concept, a prototype crossover SUV, at the Chicago Auto Show.[4] This concept, which appeared close to production, combined the characteristics of an SUV, wagon, and sedan.[10] In Japan, the SLV concept appeared in first-generation Toyota Harrier form (codename SXU10 and MCU10 for the front-wheel drive models, and SXU15 and MCU15 for the all-wheel drive models) in December 1997. Two engines were available, the 2.2 L 5S-FE I4 which produced 139 hp (104 kW) JIS (102 kW) and 191 Nm (140 ft·lbf), and the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 which produced 219 hp (163 kW) JIS (161 kW) and 304 Nm (224 ft·lbf). Both engines could be specified with either front or all-wheel drivetrains. All models came with an automatic transmission. The first RX was partly based on the RAV4 platform.

Japanese-market Toyota Harrier

In Japan, the first-generation Harrier was a sales success, and many went to other right hand drive markets in Asia as grey imports.[11][12] The Harrier continued largely unchanged until November 2000, when the 2.2 L 5S-FE engine was replaced by the 2.4 L 2AZ-FE 4-cylinder engine, producing 159 hp (119 kW) JIS (117 kW) and 221 Nm (163 ft·lbf). As before, the engine was offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The change in engine also meant a change in model code, which was now ACU10 for the front-wheel drive version and ACU15 for the all-wheel drive version. A small facelift was also performed on the Harrier.

First generation Lexus RX 300 interior

The Lexus RX 300 made its sales debut in America in March 1998 as a 1999 model following its premiere at the 1998 North American International Auto Show, it was powered by an LEV certified 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 mated to a 4-speed automatic in either front or all-wheel drive variations. The RX 300 interior included leather seats, wood trim, a multi-level center console with storage drawers, and individual reclining and sliding rear seats. A shift lever mounted near the instrument panel freed up floor space for additional storage. On the exterior, the RX featured heated mirrors, automatic light-sensing headlights, a low step-in entry height, and an overall drag coefficient of 0.36 Cd.[13] A 240-watt, 7-speaker Pioneer sound system was standard, while a premium Nakamichi customized sound system was available as an option. The Lexus RX was an immediate hit, and sold over 370,000 units in five years.[14]

2001-2003 Lexus RX 300 (US)

In 2001, the RX gained a number of options, including a DVD-based automotive navigation system, a wood and leather trimmed steering wheel, and tow hitch receiver. Cabin equipment options were grouped into new package offerings. For safety, Vehicle Stability Control became standard. Exclusively for 2002, Lexus introduced the limited RX 300 "Coach Edition," featuring perforated leather trim in the interior, honeycomb grille, Coach badging on the exterior and interior, and a set of Coach luggage. A burgundy exterior color, Venetian Red Pearl, was offered on 1999-2000 year models.[15]

In 2000, the Lexus RX went on sale in Europe and Asia for the first time. Distinguishing features for these versions of the RX 300 included a different rear light cluster and larger wheels. The front-wheel drive version was not offered in either Europe or Asia.

The IIHS rated the RX 300 "Good" overall in their frontal offset crash test.[16] All models came standard with front seat-mounted side torso airbags.

Second generation (2004-2009)

Second generation
2004-2006 Lexus RX 330 (US)
Also called Lexus RX 300
Lexus RX 330
Lexus RX 350
Lexus RX 400h
Toyota Harrier
Production 2003–2009
Model year(s) 2004–2009
Assembly Cambridge, Ontario, Canada (TMMC)
Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
Engine(s) (2004 - 2006) 3.3 L V6 3MZ-FE, 225 hp (168 kW), 240 ft·lbs (325 Nm)
(2007 - 2009) 3.5 L V6 2GR-FE, 270 hp (201 kW), 251 ft·lbs (340 Nm)
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 106.9 in (2715 mm)
Length 186.2 in (4729 mm)
Width 72.6 in (1844 mm)
Height 66.1 in (1679 mm)
Fuel capacity 19.20 US gallons (72.7 L; 16.0 imp gal)
Related Toyota Highlander
Toyota Camry
Lexus ES

In January 2003, Lexus unveiled the second-generation model of its best-selling luxury crossover SUV at the North American International Auto Show, featuring a newer, sleeker body style with a 0.35 Cd figure and new LED tailamps.[17][18] The basic chassis is shared with the Highlander SUV.[19] In the US it went on sale as a 2004 model year. In February 2003, the second generation Toyota Harrier (codename ACU30 and MCU30 for the front-wheel drive models, and ACU35 and MCU35 for the all-wheel drive models) was launched in Japan. Mechanical specification was largely similar to the first-generation Harrier, with the same engine and drivetrain combinations (2.4 L and 3.0 L V6 with or without all-wheel drive). The main difference was a new 5-speed automatic transmission with +/- shift replacing the 4-speed item in the 3.0 L V6, the availability of "AIRS" air-suspension on the 3.0 L V6 models, and an optional Pre-Collision System (PCS).[20]

2006 Harrier (hybrid; Japan)

The second generation Lexus RX was launched for European and Asian markets in early 2003 (including Singapore, where it succeeded the previously sold Harrier, South Korea, and Taiwan), it continued to be called the RX 300 and was made in Japan. Mechanical specifications were more or less identical to the 3.0 L V6 Harrier, with only the all-wheel drive version available, once again the air-suspension could be specified. The second generation RX, called the RX 330 for the North American and Middle Eastern markets, began sales in March 2003.[21] All North American models were initially built in Japan until September 2003 when production of the RX 330 began at the TMMC plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. [9]

Second generation Lexus RX interior

The RX 330 was powered by a 3.3-liter ULEV certified 3MZ-FE V6, producing 230 hp (172 kW) SAE and (238 ft·lbf) mated to a 5-speed automatic and was available in either front or all-wheel drive. Height-adjustable air suspension was again an option on the all-wheel drive models. The new RX interior featured genuine Golden Bird's Eye Maple or Walnut wood trim, a sliding multi-level center storage console, dual-zone climate control, tilt steering column, and eight airbags including a driver's knee airbag. Available options included a 210-watt, 11-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, DVD-based navigation system with backup camera, rear seat DVD player with wireless headphones, panoramic three panel moonroof, a new Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) with swivel headlights,[22] Dynamic Laser Cruise Control system, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers.[23]

2005 Lexus RX330 Thundercloud Edition

In 2005, Lexus introduced the RX 330 "Thundercloud Edition" for the U.S. market, featuring a chrome horizontal-slatted grille, unique alloy wheels, Dark Gray Bird's Eye Maple wood trim, two special exterior colors and other select options as standard.[24] Although a power rear door was optional in the beginning, it was made standard in 2005. In 2006, with changes in SAE ratings engine output dropped to 223 hp and the engine now met ULEV-II emissions.

Sales of the second generation Lexus RX continued the success of the RX series for Lexus. In 2006, the RX series sold over 108,000 units, making the Lexus RX the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.[25]

2008 Lexus RX 350

RX 350

For 2007, the RX received a mid-cycle refresh consisting of a new 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 replacing the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engine on non-hybrid models, updating the vehicle's name from RX 330 to RX 350. The RX 350 also featured an updated, Lexus Generation V DVD navigation system with improved graphics, voice controlled destination inputs, and a new feature called "bread crumbs." Bread crumbs will enable drivers to retrace their steps. The new navigation system also featured voice dial systems and the ability to enter destinations by voice address while driving.

For the 2008 model year, the RX received a revised grille, chrome door handles, available new seven-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with a liquid graphite finish, and Brandy Wine Mica or Desert Sage Metallic were new exterior choices. Black Bird's Eye Maple wood with gray interior was a new interior option.

2009 Lexus RX 350 Pebble Beach Edition

For the 2009 model year, Lexus added a new Pebble Beach Edition, limited to 6000 units, Base MSRP: $41,580 – $42,980. These limited production models have "Pebble Beach" badges on front fenders and embroidered front floor mats, were available in Black Onyx and Truffle Mica color, and came equipped with limited-edition 18-inch alloy wheels, a color-keyed rear spoiler, and a chrome-finished grille. Buyers also received a choice of custom amenities designed to complement the Pebble Beach lifestyle.

RX 400h

See also Lexus RX Hybrid

The world's first luxury hybrid, the RX 400h premiered at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and went on sale in North America in April 2005, and the equivalent Harrier Hybrid went on sale in Japan on March 2005. The debut model was first offered in all-wheel drive, and in 2006 a front-wheel drive version was added. Europe and Asia also received the Hybrid RX in 2006.

The RX 400h, recognizable by the front bumper styling

The Lexus RX 400h features Lexus Hybrid Drive, which combines a 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engine and electric motors. This results in performance akin to a V8 with improved fuel economy and lower emissions, passing power at lower and mid engine RPM's is noticeably improved due to the electric motor. To save fuel the power steering pump, water pump and AC compressor become beltless, while the alternator is replaced by motor-generators. VDIM replaces the VSC system with Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB), a type of brake-by-wire system. The RX 400h features styling differences with the conventional gas-powered RX, including brushed aluminum interior trim in place of wood, round foglights, and a different grille. For 2007, additional hybrid signifiers were added to the rear doors and aft emblems to further distinguish the hybrid models. A combination wood trim package was also added.

The RX 400h is CARB SULEV certified in California and EPA Tier II Bin 3 rated in other states. The EPA-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy for the RX 400h is 27/24/26 mpg in FWD trim and 26/24/26 mpg in AWD trim.

Side view of RX 400h (Europe)

Safety

All RX models came standard with dual front airbags, front row side torso airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag, Vehicle Stability Control (VDIM on RX 400h) and a tire-pressure monitoring system standard. An Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) with HID headlamps and a backup camera (w/navigation system) were optional.

The Lexus RX received a "Good" overall rating in the IIHS frontal crash test.[26] NHTSA crash test results in 2004 rated the RX 330 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, Side Driver, and Side Rear Passenger categories, and four of five stars in the Rollover category.[27]

Third generation (2009-present)

Third generation
2010 Lexus RX 350 (US; third generation)
Also called Lexus RX 350
Lexus RX 450h
Production 2009–present
Model year(s) 2010–present
Assembly Cambridge, Ontario, Canada (TMMC)
Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
Engine(s) 3.5 L V6 2GR-FE
3.5 L V6 2GR-FXE (hybrid)
Transmission(s) 6-speed automatic U660E/F
Wheelbase 107.9 in (2741 mm)
Length 187.8 in (4770 mm)
Width 74.2 in (1885 mm)
Height 66.5 in (1689 mm)
Related Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza
Lexus ES

At the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show, the LF-Xh concept was unveiled, hinting at the styling direction of the next RX. Later in January 2009, the redesigned third generation RX premiered at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, appearing as the standard RX 350 and hybrid RX 450h.[6][28] The Japanese market Toyota Harrier was discontinued, with previous generation sales held for several months following the third generation's debut.[29] In keeping with L-finesse design language new exterior styling includes a rear spoiler which hides the rear window wiper and radio antenna creating a less cluttered appearance. The drag coefficient on the latest RX 350 has been reduced to 0.33 Cd.[30] Exterior dimensions are increased, with cargo room increased by five percent. [30] A double wishbone rear suspension setup replaces the previous MacPherson strut design for improved handling and greater cargo space, while an optional Sports Package adds a performance-tuned suspension.[30] Both non-hybrid and hybrid models continue in either front or all-wheel drive configurations.[30] EPA-estimated fuel economy is improved at city/highway/combined 18/25/21 mpg for the FWD RX 350 and 18/24/20 mpg for the AWD model.[31]

Lexus RX 350 (Europe)

The 2010 RX 350 features a revised 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine producing 275 hp (205 kW) with a wider power curve,[30][32] it remains ULEV-II certified and now uses a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift.[32] The new transmission can lock-up its torque converter from 2nd through 6th gears to improve fuel economy. By dropping the center locking differential, a new Active Torque Control all-wheel drive system diverts anywhere from 50% or up to 100% power to the front wheels for reduced drivetrain associated efficiency losses which in turn increases fuel efficiency. An Electric Power Steering (EPS) system replaces the previous belt-driven hydraulic pump.

Third generation Lexus RX interior

Major standard features include SmartAccess, a keyless entry and start system, electrochromic heated side mirrors, UV reducing exterior glass, Bluetooth, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power 10-way driver and passenger seats, sliding and reclining rear seats and a power rear hatch. The instrument cluster's mult-function display uses an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display instead of a thin film transistor (TFT-LCD) display. Optional features include, 19" wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, power front seat cushion extender, perforated and semi-aniline leather seats, a smog sensor for the HVAC system, power folding side view mirrors, and a new hard disk drive HDD-based navigation system which no longer uses a touchscreen, instead replacing it with a Remote Touch controller similar in function to a computer mouse. With XM subscription the navigation adds real-time NavTraffic and NavWeather updates.[33][34]

2010 Lexus RX 350 (US)

The third generation RX also adds VoiceBox Technologies conversational speech voice recognition system, the first of its kind in the U.S.,[35] which can recognize general speech commands. Other options include a heads-up display (HUD) which uses high-intensity LEDs displaying high contrast white figures on the windshield allowing it to be read in direct sunlight.[33] XM Satellite Radio, a 15-speaker 330-watt Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system and a dual-screen Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES) are also offered.[30]

American RX 350 sales began in February 2009 as a 2010 model. For 2009, the front-wheel drive RX 350 starts at $36,800 while the all-wheel drive version starts at $38,200. Sales debuts for Europe (RX 450h), Japan (RX 350 and RX 450h), Australia (RX 350 and RX 450h),[36] and other countries are expected in 2009.

RX 450h

See also Lexus RX Hybrid

The Lexus RX 450h's 3.5-liter 2GR-FXE V6 engine, now running on the Atkinson cycle, produces 245 hp; by incorporating a more powerful inverter and electric motors, total horsepower reaches 295 hp.[30] The new inverter is 8 kg lighter, and more efficient. Two additional systems are added to the RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, an exhaust-heat recovery system to reduce engine warm-up periods (optimizing engine start-stop times), and a water-cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system to reduce engine pumping losses.[32] A new ECO mode helps the driver improve fuel economy by controlling air conditioning and throttle inputs, while a driver selectable EV drive mode allows for electric-only propulsion whenever possible.

2010 Lexus RX 450h

The new drivetrain helps improve fuel economy in the RX 450h, which now returns an EPA-estimated city/highway/combined rating of 32/28/30 mpg in FWD trim and 30/28/29 mpg in AWD models. In AWD trims the RX 450h's fuel economy exceeds the compact 4-cylinder Ford Escape Hybrid's combined fuel economy of 28 mpg, making it the most fuel efficient AWD SUV sold in the United States based on EPA estimates. The RX 450h's emissions meet SULEV standards in California and states that adopted CARB regulations or EPA Tier II-Bin 3 in other states. Visually, the RX 450h receives a unique grille with modified front fascia, blue-tinted headlamps and tail lamps,[37] hybrid badging, different wheels, and optional LED headlamps.[30][31] In the US market the RX 450h went on sale in early June 2009.

Safety

Lexus RX 350 with adaptive headlights

The RX 350/450h comes standard with a twin-chamber front passenger airbags, side torso airbags for the front row, side curtain airbags for front and rear rows, and knee airbags for the front row. Active headrests become standard to help reduce whiplash injuries. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) which helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards on inclines are standard while a more advanced Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system is optional.[36] VDIM is designed to be more subtle and less intrusive in performance than VSC alone, VDIM can also engage prior to an actual skid taking place acting as a preventative measure.

The Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) remains optional, while a new bi-xenon optional Intelligent Highbeam feature is added, this system can dim the high-beams automatically whenever traffic is detected. Other new optional features include a Pre-Collision System (PCS) and a head-up display (HUD) which helps the driver keep attention on the road ahead by displaying navigation, speed, and audio information on the windshield. The optional navigation system offers a backup camera and a Wide-View Side Monitor utilizes a camera on the passenger side view mirror to help eliminate blind spots on the passenger side at low speeds, this system does not include the 180° wide-angle front camera found in the LX 570. To further help improve visibility, water-repellent glass is used on the front doors.

NHTSA crash test results in 2009 rated the RX 350 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, Side Driver, and Side Rear Passenger categories, and four of five stars in the Rollover category.[38] The IIHS awarded the RX 350 its Top Safety Pick accolade, with the RX 350 given "Good" overall ratings in both frontal offset and side crash tests, the RX also received "Good" ratings in all 14 measured categories.[39][40]

Awards

  • 2009 Ward’s Interior of the Year gave the 2010 RX interior the Design Harmony award.
  • J.D. Power and Associates named the Lexus RX the best entry luxury SUV in its 2001, 2004, and 2005 Initial Quality Surveys.[41][42]
  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2004 - Lexus RX 330.
  • R. L. Polk & Co., automotive marketing research firm, gave the RX series its Polk Automotive Loyalty Award in the Midsize Sport Utility Vehicle category in 2005 for customer retention.[43] The RX series received this award again for 2006.
  • The Lexus RX was named most appealing luxury SUV by J.D. Power and Associates in 1998 and 2004.[44]
  • Intellichoice named the Lexus RX the Best Overall Value in the SUV market over $30,000 in 2003, 2004, and 2005.[45][46]
  • Australia's Best Cars competition named the Lexus RX as Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2003 and 2004.[47]
  • Kelley Blue Book gave the RX its Best to Hold Value Award in 1999, 2000, and 2001.[48]
  • Money magazine named the RX 300 the Best Deal on the Road in the SUV class in 1999.
  • The RX 300 was Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year for 1999.
  • The Lexus RX came 3rd in the Top Gear Satisfaction Survey 2005, beaten only by the Lexus IS, and the Honda S2000.

Sales figures

Sales data in United States for the Lexus RX are as follows, sourced from manufacturer yearly data:

Generation (chassis code) Model no(s). Calendar year Total sales (U.S.)
MCU10/MCU15
RX 300 2000 89,864[49]
2001 77,426[49]
2002 72,963[50]
2003 92,366[50]
MCU33/MCU38 RX 330 2004 106,531[51]
MCU33/MCU38/MHU33 RX 330/400h 2005 108,775[51]
MCU33/MCU38/MHU33/MHU38 2006 108,348[52]
GSU30/GSU35/MHU33/MHU38
RX 350/400h 2007 103,340[52]
2008 84,181[53]
GGL10/GGL15/GLV10/GLV15 RX 350/450h 2009 93,379[54]

Gallery

References

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  2. ^ Lexus.eu RX Luxury SUV description
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  19. ^ Consumer Guide Auto - Lexus RX
  20. ^ Denso´s New Pre-Collision System Available on Lexus LS 430
  21. ^ Lexus RX Chronology
  22. ^ http://www.denso-europe.com/presskit/products3_e.swf
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  25. ^ Autoblog - 2008 Lexus RX 350 pricing announced
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  28. ^ Tokyo Motor Show: The Lexus LF-Xh Concept
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  34. ^ Lexus Stages World Debut of All-New RX 350 and RX 450h at Los Angeles Auto Show
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  37. ^ 3rd generation Lexus RX unveiled at LA 2008
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  40. ^ http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=1129
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  42. ^ Toyota, GM Garner Most Awards in 2005 Initial Quality Study
  43. ^ Polk Automotive Loyalty Award Winners
  44. ^ J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study
  45. ^ IntelliChoice Reveals Best Overall Value Award Winners for 2003 Model Year Vehicles
  46. ^ 2005 Intellichoice Best Overall Value Awards
  47. ^ RX330 is Still Australia's Best Luxury Four-Wheel Drive
  48. ^ CARFAX - Kelley Blue Book-Models to Best Hold Its Value
  49. ^ a b Lexus sales figures 2000-2001
  50. ^ a b Lexus sales figures 2002-2003
  51. ^ a b Lexus sales figures 2004-2005
  52. ^ a b Lexus sales figures 2006-2007
  53. ^ Lexus sales figures 2008
  54. ^ http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2010/01/05/460606.html

External links








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