Making its debut in ’98 the Lexus RX is one of the pioneers in the luxury crossover segment.
On the outside the RX looks aggressive and sporty however it offers a comfortable and relaxed ride which makes it ideal for cruising.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at the average lifespan of the RX.
Read on to find out more…
Here is the short answer to how long Lexus RX last:
The Lexus RX is a durable, reliable SUV that can last between 250,000 – 300,000 miles when regularly maintained and driven sensibly. Based on 15,000 miles driven per year, you can expect 16 – 20 years of service from your RX before it requires uneconomical repairs or breaks down.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Lexus RX model?
The Lexus brand is owned by Japanese automakers Toyota, so it should come as no surprise that these vehicles are built to last.
The Lexus RX is built on a similar platform to the Toyota Highlander which are statistically shown to run up to 300,000 miles, or about 20 years.
With this in mind, a fair estimate for the longevity of the RX puts it in the region of 250,000 – 300,000 miles or approximately 16 – 20 years.
When it reaches these kinds of numbers there is a tendency for big-ticket items to fail such as the engine or transmission – when that happens the car costs more to fix than it’s worth.
Forbes listed the RX in an article titled ’10 vehicles that can run for 250,000 miles’ noting that it’s powered by one of the best V6 engines in the industry.
There are plenty of reports online from RX owners who have clocked mileages in excess of 200k and some even exceeding 300k, although these are much less common and although reasonably possible, should not be expected.
As a general rule, newer models should last longer than their predecessors.
Getting the most life from any vehicle is ultimately down to the owner, and comes down to the following:
- Keeping up to date with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
- Carrying out basic routine checks such as fluid levels and tire pressures.
- Adopting smooth driving habits to reduce wear and tear on component
If you’re looking to buy a used Lexus RX, try to find one with less than 120,000 miles, however the most important thing to take into consideration is the vehicle’s maintenance history and condition.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Lexus RX?
On a new RX rust is out of the ordinary and should be covered under Lexus’ corrosion and perforation warranty, if you’re experiencing any corrosion-related issues you should contact your dealer.
There is no set time frame when you should expect rust on a Lexus RX, however over the years, like many vehicles it has received its share of owner complaints.
A common area that is reportedly susceptible to rust are the inner corners of the brake lights.
Some owners have also reported surface rust building up on the underside of their RX although this type of corrosion is often seen as purely cosmetic.
Rust can be much more of an issue for those residing in coastal areas due to the salt in the air, similarly those who live in regions where roads are aggressively salted during the winter will also be more at risk – salt buildup on vehicle surfaces is corrosive.
To help keep rust at bay, we recommend the following:
- Regular car washes
- Keeping the car’s interior dry
- Ceramic paint coatings
- Rust-proofing treatments
- Keeping your RX parked in a garage
How Long Does the Lexus RX Last Compared to Similar Models?
In this section we’ll compare the lifespan of the Lexus RX to some of its closest competitors.
Lexus RX vs. Audi Q5
The Q5 is another popular entry in the luxury compact SUV segment from German automakers Audi.
The Q5 has an expected lifespan of 150,000 – 200,000 miles or 10 – 13 years Vs. 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 16 – 20 years for the RX.
RepairPal has rated the reliability of the Q5 as ‘average’ with a score of 3.0 / 5 and puts it 11th out of 14 in the midsize luxury SUV class, it’s average annual repair cost is projected to be $807.
The RX on the other hand scored above average with 4 / 5 and was ranked in 3rd place for the segment and an average annual repair cost of $550.
- J.D Power has given the Q5 a quality and reliability score of 65/100 which is a below-average rating.
- J.D Power has given the RX a quality and reliability score of 84/100 which is great.
The RX has a higher MSRP but with that comes the peace of mind of owing a far more reliable vehicle.
Winner: Lexus RX
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Audi Q5 Last?
Lexus RX vs. Acura MDX
The Lexus RX and Acura MDX are two of the original luxury crossovers both making their debut around the year 2000.
Acura is the luxury branch of Honda, another Japanese company well known for their reliability.
The Lexus RX and Acura MDX are both very robust SUVs and are expected to last in the region of 250,000 – 300,000 miles when properly maintained.
Both vehicles are very closely matched in terms of their reliability:
- The Acura MDX has a Repair Pal reliability rating of 4/5 and is ranked 2nd / 14 for luxury mid-size SUVs.
- The Lexus RX also has a reliability rating of 4/5 and is ranked the 3rd / 14 in the same segment
- The MDX has an estimated annual repair cost of $571 whilst the RX is slightly cheaper at $550
- J.D Power has given the MDX a quality and reliability score of 80/100 Vs. 84/100 for the RX
Those in need of extra cargo space should opt for the MDX whereas those who are looking for a more luxurious feel will be better suited to the RX.
You may also be interested in our article: how long do Acura MDX last?
Lexus RX vs. BMX X5
The X5 is a luxury SUV from German manufacturing giants BMW, and is one of the most popular options within its class.
Its lifespan however is predicted to fall short of the RX, with estimations falling in the range of 150,000 – 200,000 miles or 10 – 13 years.
The X5 is better known as a status symbol than it is for reliability, scoring sub-par reliability results from Repair Pal of 2.0 / 5.0 and ranked 13th out of 19 for luxury fullsize SUVs.
This pales in comparison to the RX’s 4.0 / 5.0 and 2nd place ranking.
- J.D Power has given the X5 a more optimistic quality and reliability score of 81/100 Vs. 84/100 for the RX.
Although the X5 has superior ride and handling qualities, the RX comes in at a lower MSRP and one of the highest predicted reliability scores in the industry.
Winner: Lexus RX
You may also be interested in our article: how long do BMW X5 last?
How Reliable is the Lexus RX?
We can confidently say the Lexus RX is an extremely reliable vehicle, and has consistently proven to be a cut above the rest in this department.
The major automotive review sites all give glowing reliability scores for the RX, and it’s one area where competitors will really struggle to outperform it.
If reliability is high on your list of requirements, then the RX is great choice.
|Repair Pal||4.0 / 5|
|Kelley Blue Book||4.6 / 5|
|J.D Power||84 / 100|
How Reliable is the Lexus RX Compared to Other Luxury SUVs
In this section we compare the RX to the other luxury SUVs, this is based on data collected from Repair Pal.
As you can see it sits right near the top of the table.
|Lexus RX 450h||4.0/5.0|
|Lexus RX 350||4.0/5.0|
|Lexus GX 640||3.5/5.0|
|Land Rover LR4||2.0|
|Average score for |
Midsize Luxury SUVs
The Best and Worst Years for the Lexus RX
In this section we’ll take a look at the best and worst model years of the Lexus RX – specifically the RX350.
Lexus RX Worst Model Year
Based on data from the Car Complaints website, the worst model year is 2008, although the 2007 model has the most number of complaints.
The 2008 RX 350 reportedly had problems with the interior accessories, and some engine problems.
The most significant issue with this model was shift lag, which on average occurred at around 90,000 miles.
The problem was considered severe, and repairs involved replacing the transmission at a cost of $5000.
Other model years to watch out for are 2009 and 2013, both of which experienced engine failure issues.
Lexus RX Best Model Year
Model years from 2018 onward are our top picks; they have the latest safety features and tech and so far have no complaints registered against them on Car Complaints.
The most recent models of the RX have seen minimal changes in recent years although in 2020 the interior and exterior design were refreshed and featured the addition of a standard touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Complaints by Model Year:
Complaints by Model Year:
- 2007: 23 complaints
- 2008: 22 complaints
- 2009: 7 complaints
- 2010: 5 complaints
- 2011: 2 complaints
- 2012: 3 complaints
- 2013: 3 complaints
- 2014: 2 complaints
- 2015: 3 complaints
- 2016: 6 complaints
- 2017: 6 complaints
- 2018: 0 complaints
- 2019: 0 complaints
- 2020: N/A
- 2021: N/A
What About Recalls for These Models?
According to statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there have been a total of 113 recalls for all variants of the RX across all year models since 1997.
Recalls are manufacturing repairs that are offered at no cost to the consumer. To find out if your Lexus has been subject to a recall you can enter the vehicle’s VIN or license plate on the Toyota recall web page.
Some examples of RX recalls are:
- For models built in 2004 all the way up to 2007 a recall was issued for sticking accelerators.
- A recall was issued for certain 2013 – 2019 models for a dangerous fuel system issue which affected nearly 1.8 million vehicles.
- In 2019 Lexus recalled a number of vehicles as some may not have had the transport hook removed.
Recalls numbers for individual model years are listed below:
- 2021: 4 recalls
- 2020: 3 recalls
- 2019: 10 recalls
- 2018: 6 recalls
- 2017: 6 recalls
- 2016: 10 recalls
- 2015: 2 recalls
- 2014: 0 recalls
- 2013: 2 recalls
- 2012: 2 recalls
- 2011: 2 recalls
- 2010: 2 recalls
- 2009: 0 recalls
- 2008: 1 recall
- 2007: 5 recalls
- 2006: 9 recalls
- 2005: 7 recalls
- 2004: 8 recalls
- 2003: 3 recalls
- 2002: 5 recalls
- 2001: 5 recalls
- 2000: 5 recalls
- 1999: 7 recalls
- 1998: 0 recalls
- 1997: 0 recalls
Lexus RX Model Year List
First Generation 1997-2003:
- 1997 Lexus RX 300
- 1998 Lexus RX 300
- 1999 Lexus RX 300
- 2000 Lexus RX 300
- 2001 Lexus RX 300
- 2002 Lexus RX 300
- 2003 Lexus RX 300
Second Generation 2004-2008:
- 2004 Lexus RX 350/ RX 400
- 2005 Lexus RX 350/ RX 400
- 2006 Lexus RX 350/ RX 400
- 2007 Lexus RX 350/ RX 400
- 2008 Lexus RX 350/ RX 400
Third Generation 2009-2015:
- 2009 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2010 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2011 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2012 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2013 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2014 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2015 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
Fourth Generation 2015-Present:
- 2015 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2016 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2017 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2018 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2019 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2020 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
- 2021 Lexus RX 350/ RX 450
Are Lexus RX Models Expensive to Maintain?
Repair Pal states that the average annual cost of maintenance for the Lexus RX is around $550.
This is well below the average of $807 luxury SUVs and the average of $652 for all vehicles.
Car Edge reports that in the first 10 years of service you can expect to pay around $7,398 for maintenance and repairs on the Lexus RX.
This is well below the reported $8,062 average for luxury SUVs.
|Model||Average Annual |
|Frequency of |
|Probability of |
|Lexus RX 450h||$540||0.5||7%|
|Lexus RX 350||$550||0.4||8%|
|Lexus GX 640||$770||0.8||9%|
|Land Rover LR4||$1,241||0.9||15%|
|Average score for |
Midsize Luxury SUVs
How Long do the Brakes Last?
Depending on the driving style, the factory brakes on the RX should last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
If you drive in alot of stop-and-go traffic the brakes will also wear out faster.
Controlled and smooth braking will help make your brakes last longer.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Infiniti QX60 Last?
How Long do the Tires Last?
The Lexus RX tires should last 30,000 and 50,000 miles. This translates to between 2 and 4 years depending on how often the vehicle is driven.
- Always check the owner’s manual to determine the correct tire pressures.
- Have your tires rotated regularly to ensure even wear.
How Long do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs should last anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000 miles. These are high wear parts that may need to be replaced often.
A worn out spark plug can cause stalling, problematic start-ups and engine mis-fires.
They are usually inspected and if needed, replaced when the vehicle is serviced.
More expensive spark plugs with platinum tips can be fitted which will have a much longer lifespan.
How Long do the Transmissions Last?
On average the the Lexus RX transmission is expected to last 250,000 – 300,000 miles.
Having your RX regularly serviced is the best way to keep the transmission running smoothly.
What About Insurance Cost?
The average cost of insurance on the Lexus RX is $154 per month, which works out to $1848 annually.
Tips to Prolong the Life of your Lexus RX
- Stay up to date with the scheduled maintenance plan.
- Check fluid levels and tire pressures regularly.
- Drive smoothly this includes acceleration and braking.
- Check engine oil regularly
- Store the vehicle in a garage.
- Use good quality parts and fluids.
- Consider rust-proofing the vehicle.
- Wash the vehicle regularly.