I have a 1999 and it is going strong with 228,000 miles and the only maintenance so far has been brakes, tires, oil filter, air filter, AC Recharge, and bulbs replacement. Considering it is the first year make and model I would rate that reliability tremendous. I think was is the most impressive feature of the RX 300 AWD is how great it performs in the snow, It has been in 2 to 3 feet in Wyoming and in the Sierra Mountains in California and Nevada. Never been stuck and have never had to chain up. The only complaint I have is the durability of the leather on the front seats. The leather wore out after about 10 years and now have to use seat covers.
Bought my 1999 RX300 for peanuts and thought it was a killer deal. Low miles, dealer serviced. But save yourself the headache and just don't do it. Yes these are technically "Toyotas", but the newest RX300s are now over 14 years old. They are a PITA to work on. Mine just went into limp mode due to bad knock sensors, and I just spent $685 for that. Parts were only $185, but it took ten hours of labor to change them. Drove it home, and when I parked it, it started idling at 2k rpm. Back to the shop it went! I've now been without my Lexus for two weeks. Fuel economy on my AWD model is terrible and it has very little power. It's comfortable and safe, but expect to spend ALOT on repairs.
This was my dream car. I owned her for 18 years with little or no problems. Loved the car, loved the color drove to Florida to upper Wisconsin to North Carolina and everyday driving. she is still great.
Have the 1999 Lexus RX-300 AWD with 260,000 miles running strong. The reliability and safety are ahead of its time! Maintenance is cheaper than any other luxury brand. The car took a massive hit from an escalade, but held up strong and protected us. Don't be fooled, the RX is a good 4 X 4. Held up through the tough winters in NC! Comfortable and will continue to buy Lexus/Toyota. Wouldn't be surprised if this car made it to 400,000 miles. Mechanic expects it to at least drive for a 100,000 more.
I bought this with 167k on it as a "winter beater" three years ago, never thinking that with that many miles it would be as great a vehicle as it is. The only thing that's ever gone wrong is that the ignition coils needed to be replaced. Still gets 20-25mpg, passes California smog with flying colors, looks pretty good for a 14 year old Lexus.
It did have the advantage of being a one owner vehicle serviced exclusively by a Lexus dealer (it even has a Lexus brand battery). I change fluids religiously and expect it to go another 100k.
Heated front seats, automatic headlights, funky six-disc changer, leather, lots of toys that you'd never use (auto-dimming mirrors come to mind).