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330 Vs 400h ? How Do You Decide?


bazan

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Hi,

Just curious to know now that the 400h is officially in production... how would you decide which one is the better car to get, from an overall perspective? I would imagine that this similar to a V6 vs V8 kind of decision. Would like to hear especially from the current 330 owners in regarding to your thoughts on the 400h released? Would you be jealous and wished you get the 400h instead :cries: or you have a different way of looking at it? :rolleyes:

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That's exactly what I'm dealing with right now. Look at the tax incentive thread. I own an '04 ES & RX 330. Both are great. But a friend at the dealer contacted me about this h in the list that I might be interested in. $$ gas wise is not the incentive at all, but a bunch of little things might be enough to push me over. So far, I've seen 1/4-1/3 better mpg, HOV travel, better acceleration (1 sec faster 0-60), gee whiz factor, $2000 tax incentive. But that's about it. Still deciding--> have this weekend to decide. Exact same color ext and int with exact same options as what I have now!

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If I were in the market for a new SUV at the moment the two vehicles highest on my list would be the new Honda Ridgeline and the BMW X3. The Ford FreeStyle would also be there if it had VSC.

I think V8 performance in the class and weight or the RX series is pure overkill, I'm perfectly happy with the ZOOM level of my 2001 AWD RX300. So I won't be in the market for an RX400h GAS HOG anytime soon.

I was hoping the HL hybrid would use the I4 as the base ICE but I guess not so it's off the list.

The Ford FreeStyle uses the Volvo XC90 AWD system (not the V8 one)and with VSC added next year, hopefully, it will be a real winner.

I was actually considering the RX330 but this engine hesitation being REAL takes it off my list.

My wish list would be an RX with the I4 and a manual transmission and with rear wheel torque biasing. Or a copy of the XC90 AWD system since I'm apparently into dreaming at the moment.

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I was actually considering the RX330 but this engine hesitation being REAL takes it off my list.

What engine hesitation? We don't have any problems with our '05 330. Point here is that not everyone has the problem.

After the bad writeups on the X3 by the car magazines, I knew that's one vehicle we didn't want. And I've owned 2 BMW's, so I really like them.

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The main difference b/t the 330 and 400h is the price and minor changes in the interior and exterior lights etc. The engine hives you very little better MPG, but better horsepower.

The 400h's city milage is 80% better than that of the 330. That's certainly more than just "a little better MPG".

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Bazan:

Very difficult decision. Both are excellent automobiles, and you absolutely can't go wrong with either vehicle. Assuming you have your heart set on the LEXUS RX series, I have a few thoughts...

Against the hybrid:

a) Gas Mileage Savings Fallacy: The truth is, you will probably be paying approximately $7-8k more for a comparably equipped RX400h today relative to the RX330, as the RX400h has NO discount, whereas the RX330 can be had at 2-3k under MSRP. You will have to drive 200,000 miles at $2.50 per gallon in order to make the difference up between 30mpg and 20mpg.

B) "Future Proof" Technology?: Probably my biggest problem with the RX400h is that it's the first "luxury" hybrid, sedan or SUV. Getting 30mpg is not terribly impressive, and you can bet that there will be bigger, badder, more fuel efficient cars up ahead in the next few years.

c) "First year" product: Look at Gen 1 of the Toyota Prius. An okay car. Look at Gen 2 of the Toyota Prius. It seems obvious that they made some serious strides in improving the vehicle from the "first" generation of the prius vs. the second generation.

For the hybrid:

a) V6-V8 Power Upgrade: Have you checked the premiums between the V6 and V8 variants for SUVs these days? Equip a X5 3.0i just like a standard X5 4.4i. What's the price difference? Around $5k. Do the same with any other Luxury SUV make (XC90, Cayenne, ML, etc.), and I guarantee you will find a similar price differential. It doesn't take a genius that the market seems to apply a pricing premium for more powerful cars. The bigger paradox here for the hybrid, is that instead of decreasing your fuel economy, you increase your fuel economy!

B) "Greener" Car (SULEV, 30mpg, etc. etc.): No need for description here.

c) Lexus "exclusivity": Here, in southern california, RX330's are a dime a dozen. There's no surprise that this is the best selling luxury SUV in the US. If you want feel you need something "different" from the rest of the models, the Hybrid is the way to go.

d) Tax Credits, and other Niceties: $2000 deduction if you buy this year. HOV access. Free parking. Not bad at all.

So, in the end, my general feeling is that there is NO financial model / justification you can create to support purchasing the RX400h. But, like any other $40k luxury purchase (especially on a seriously depreciating asset like an auto), when do any financial justifications matter?

Buy the car that you "like better". Emotionally. Buy, drive, and don't look back.

That being said, me and my wife decided to go for the RX400h, and we haven't looked back.

Take care and good luck,

Peter

Hi,

Just curious to know now that the 400h is officially in production... how would you decide which one is the better car to get, from an overall perspective? I would imagine that this similar to  a V6 vs V8 kind of decision. Would like to hear especially from the current 330 owners in regarding to your thoughts on the 400h released? Would you be jealous and wished you get the 400h instead  :cries: or you have a different way of looking at it? :rolleyes:

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