Should You Take the 2001 Lexus RX300 Off Road?

The 2001 Lexus RX300 drives more like a passenger car and is not ideally suited as an off-road vehicle.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 10, 2022
RX300 is a smooth-driving SUV and is comparable to a car in terms of on-the-road composure. However, you should not take the 2001 Lexus RX300 off road. While it is somewhat capable, hitting the trails is not its strength.
A solid off-road vehicle is key for expeditions off the beaten path. Contrary to popular belief, not every SUV is suitable—especially for carving new trails through tough terrain.
, the
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, is here to give you the lowdown on the 2001 Lexus RX300’s off-road rating. We’ll break down its specs, such as ground clearance and torque, as well as recommend some alternatives better suited for trails.

Can the 2001 Lexus RX300 go off road?

Technically, yes—but that doesn’t mean you should take the 2001 Lexus RX300 off-roading. You can go off road in the RX300 if you’re really in a jam—but not on anything more than dirt trails. This SUV is best driven on paved roads and highways.
While the 2001 Lexus RX300 had a starting price of $33,955 brand new,you can likely find a used one today for between $1,885 to $3,042. Despite its attractive price, you should only take the RX300 off road if you have no other choice. It shouldn’t be your top pick for off-roading adventures.
Here are a few key attributes that hardcore off-roaders look for in vehicles to take off the beaten path.
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Ground clearance

Ground clearance is one of the most important aspects of good off-road vehicles. The 2001 Lexus RX300 sports a ground clearance of 7.7 inches, which is below the ideal off-road ground clearance range.
Ideally, any vehicle you plan to take off-roading should have between 8.8 and 10.8 inches of ground clearance. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your vehicle’s undercarriage, not to mention being on the hook for significant repair costs.


The most capable off-roading vehicles provide plenty of low-end torque, meaning higher amounts of torque at low RPMs. When off-roading, turning power is more important than acceleration, so a good amount of low-end torque is key to overcoming obstacles in rough terrain.
The 2001 Lexus RX300’s 3.0L V6 engine supplies 222 lb-ft torque at 4,400 rpm, which is not a ton of power to get you through sticky off-road spots—and even less power at lower RPMs. All in all, this is not ideal for hitting difficult off-road paths.


The 2001 Lexus RX300 came with 225/70R16 tires. Its original set has (hopefully) long been replaced, but you can find this size of tires available with traction suited for winter driving, summer driving, or all seasons driving.


Rear-wheel drive is standard on the 2001 Lexus RX300, and that won’t cut it if you want to hit the trails. Either all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive is necessary to capably take on the obstacles you’ll encounter off road.


Angles are critical when we’re talking about off-road driving, especially the following:
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle that a vehicle can climb without interference
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle a vehicle can descend without interference
The 2001 Lexus RX300 is competent when it comes to angles, boasting a 28-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle. However, this attribute alone isn’t enough to ensure sufficient off-roading ability.

Off-road rating: In a Pinch

We’ve rated the 2001 Lexus RX300 per Jerry’s “super-technical” off-road rating system as I—In a Pinch. Descriptions of each category are shown below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
If you want to go off-roading, you should really look at a vehicle that’s built for that kind of stuff, instead of this car-like SUV that’s built for paved roads. 

The best alternatives to the 2001 Lexus RX300

If you’re looking for a similar, used SUV with better off-roading capabilities, we've got some ideas for you. Here are the best alternatives to the 2001 Lexus RX300 in terms of age, price, and off-roading capabilities (or lack thereof):
Alternative 1
$4,400 to $6,694
Offers great gas mileage with its combined gas-electric powertrain; however, its off-roading limits aren’t much better than the Lexus.
Alternative 2
$1,600 to $2,645
A fun, affordable, and sporty wagon, the Pontiac Vibe offers great fuel economy and lots of cargo versatility.
Alternative 3
$1,885 to $3,213
A more rugged off-roading choice, the Chevy 1500 pickup sports classic style, a passenger airbag, and third doors on certain extended cabs.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Off-roading vehicles can be more expensive to insure, as insurers see them as riskier bets than cars used strictly on paved roads. However, that does not mean your
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