Where on Earth Did All the Lexus RX300s Vanish To?

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In the year 2000, my mother traded in the family’s much-despised Audi A6 wagon (the thing was in the shop every month for some electrical gremlin or another) for a Lexus RX300. Ours was white, not champagne, and today I found myself thinking about where the hell they all went.

That RX300 was the first time I’d experienced an SUV or crossover. They weren’t hugely popular yet and I remember having misgivings about the thing’s heightened center of gravity. Wouldn’t it tip over more easily? I wondered, and was quickly reassured that it would not. It had big wing mirrors, something my mother remarked she liked.

And then, as though nearly overnight, we started seeing them everywhere. Everywhere! They were so common that my younger brother and I made a game of counting all the RX300s we saw while driving around in ours. My dad joined in on the game, too.

If someone happened to fall asleep while riding in the Lexus, they were woken up at the destination with the news, “We saw another four while you were out.” I get why they were popular, too. I remember ours as being very comfortable, practical and it even had a feature I’ve seen on no modern car since, a cubby between the two front seats for a purse. The RX300 also had an extra window between its C- and D-pillars, another feature that was appreciated. I was far from being able to drive when we had ours, but I imagine it made over-the-shoulder glances more fruitful.

These days, I hardly see any RX300s on the roads. I see far more 2000 model-year Honda CR-Vs and Toyota RAV4s. What happened to all of the RX300s?

Perhaps everyone did what we eventually did to ours. We traded in the faithful 300 for the second-generation RX330. It was black and this was the car that was eventually handed down to me once I got my driver’s license. Still, I missed the purse cubby and the weird, little extra window. Was it worth the trade? I couldn’t say.

The second-gens are far more common, and because of that, I find myself yearning to see the humble first-gen. Maybe someone on a tropical island somewhere collected them all and uses them as beach cruisers. That’d be a fitting place for the cars to end up.
A lot of "kids" that are now grown should remember these fondly...and yes, I think a lot of them still are running, but have ended up in Cambodia.
 

Gecko

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What a stupid article.

This car came out in 1998 and is now more than 20 years old. Where do you think they all went? A lot of them got to 200k+ miles and then were scrapped or sold to third world countries.
 

RAL

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Funny thing ... I saw one on the road just today! Looked in remarkably good condition too.
 
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I work for a LexusPlus dealership and still see them a couple times per month. I saw a sweet green one recently, I had never seen that color before.

I love the shade of window tint on this generation RX. Instead of just black, it has that cool mirror finish. Looks very upscale.
 
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What a stupid article.

This car came out in 1998 and is now more than 20 years old. Where do you think they all went? A lot of them got to 200k+ miles and then were scrapped or sold to third world countries.
To me, the real story is that many of them, still running obviously, were exported to Cambodia like the Gen 1 Highlander (Watched some recent House Hunters Intl on HGTV and the streets are filled with US market ones). Cambodians seem to have a fondness for the XU10/20 platform vehicles, much like Afghans love gray market Corollas too. I wonder if my mom's 2000 RX is still stateside...
 

mikeavelli

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Another dumb jalopkik article. The RX sold like crazy as soon as it was launched contrary to what the author says.

We had a first gen. Was something in retrospect was truly revolutionary. Didn't quite realize it at the time.
 

Ian Schmidt

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Yeah, it really did seem like something completely new at the time. Little did we know how quickly that would wear off.
 
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Another dumb jalopkik article. The RX sold like crazy as soon as it was launched contrary to what the author says.

We had a first gen. Was something in retrospect was truly revolutionary. Didn't quite realize it at the time.
The irony is that the author's mom had one too and she's Asian lol, when many of our moms (and women in general) started flocking to them and still do. Its hard not to see its popularity, especially when someone has had one in their family. It was definitely the more popular choice than the Mercedes ML.

This YT vid is in the comments

 

suxeL

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I`d assume transaxle issues with this series. However these models do exist as exports and imports into other parts of the world.
 
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