2004 Lexus RX 330 Photo
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The exact same teenage girls whose parents gave them VW Rabbit Cabrios during the Eighties have... Read more »
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2003 Toyota 4Runner by John Pearley Huffman (9/23/2002)

The exact same teenage girls whose parents gave them VW Rabbit Cabrios during the Eighties have been, as young mothers and professionals, driving Lexus RX300s during the late Nineties and early 2Ks. Having survived their journeys through the Greek system at the University of Southern California, they’ve married the men of their dreams (all of whom are securely employed as senior vice presidents in their fathers’ construction firms) and now live in 4500-square foot mini-mansions along the shore in California cities like Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, or Palos Verdes. Their kids are undeniably cute, their hair is perfect, and they don’t want anyone screwing around with the design of their Lexus.

But Lexus has thoroughly twisted the RX for 2003 making it more powerful, more attractive, more useful and, well, more manly. The question for Lexus is how much testosterone do they dare cram into an RX? Can they build a muscular crossover without disaffecting core buyers who are swimming in estrogen? Can they attract just as many male as female drivers?

Something new, something borrowed

Actually, while everything about the RX330 is new, including where it’s built (Canada, not Japan), it’s clearly designed around the same idea as the RX300, which debuted back in ’98. The sheetmetal is more crisply styled and is free of the over-styling that’s currently infecting so many crossovers. This is probably the only crossover SUV on the market that has the self-confidence and elegance to not look like it’s pretending to be a “tough” truck.

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