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Thinking About The 400h

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Anyone with some advice?

I currently own a 2005 RX 330, so I kind of know what I'm getting into for the most part. I don't expect SUPERB fuel economy, but anticipate 26mpg combined driving. Is this fairly reasonable? I do know a lot of it has to do with how you drive. I took an extended test drive of a 2006 model and generally was around 27mpg wherever I went.

Has anyone else made the jump from a 330 to a 400h? My impressions were that it was quieter (the RX 350 is as well as far as sound insulation from what I've read), felt more solid (due to a slight weight increase), and smoother (CVT vs the shaky tranny on the 330). I loved the Navigation feature w/Bluetooth in the 2007 I was shown the other day (improved over the 2006 I test drove).

Anything else I should expect or be prepared for? Any observations? Has anyone ordered one? I am going to have to order b/c I want the aluminum trim versus the wood trim, and almost all are sent out with wood trim for 2007. I will probably order it with the Levinson sound system ... any impressions? The stock stereo in my 2005 is adequate, but I've also heard the Levinson in the RX isn't THAT much of an improvement ... especially considering how much better the Levinson is in the other Lexus makes. I'm thinking Onyx Black w/Black interior and chroming the stock rims ... my 2005 RX 330 is Onyx Black w/Light Gray interior w/chrome stock rims.

Thanks to anyone with input!

Also wanted to note ... the MSRP price difference b/t the 400h and 350 I priced out (as similarly equipped as possible) was $3600 ... the 350 having wood trim and the 400h having aluminum trim being the basic difference.

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I have a 2006 without Levinson sound, so I can't answer any questions about the 2007 model verses the 2006 model or the Levinson sound. But here are pro and cons of owning a 400h from my perspective.


1. Price, but you know that - on the 2006 I got a $2200 Federal and a $3445 state credit so that offset the price issue for me.

2. The 400h is not for off road use. I emailed Lexus to make sure it was OK to use on gravel/dirt roads, and they said that it was. But in general, it is for paved road use.

3. Some people complain of engine noise. In my opinion, there is only one time when you ever get more noise than a non-hybrid, and that is if you accelerate from a very slow speed quickly - in other words, when you "floor it". The reason you get more noise is that the engine doesn't shift at set intervals as it does with regular transmissions. You never feel a "shift" with the Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission (ECVT); however, the ECVT does allow the engine (or electric motor) to rev up more in fast acceleration. That being said, I have found that I never need to accelerate in a manner that causes this extra noise. If you accelerate at a good but not racy rate, you will not experience this extra noise. The bottom line is: this is the quietest vehicle I have ever been in, so don't let the noise comments concern you.

4. There are a couple of situations where you may get a different feel from the 400h than non-hybrids. When starting from a stop going up hill, you may feel a small shudder. I think this is because the rear motor kicks in for a short time. Second, around 40 MPH, you may feel some minor shudders also. Again, my thinking of what this is is the front electric motor switching from driving mode to battery charge mode. This happens frequently back and forth at around this speed.

5. Don't be suprised if no one at the dealership or at Lexus knows much about the Navigation/Bluetooth workings. However, you will be getting the Generation 5 version rather than the Generation 4 that I got. There are several additional features with the Generation 5.

6. We haven't had much snow yet, so I don't know how it will do in snow. It sounds like that will change big time here in Colorado Springs tomorrow, however. I'll let you all know how it does.


1. Mileage: I started off getting 25.5. As the motor broke in and as I learned how to drive the SUV my mileage improved to around 28.2 in the city (50/50 local roads verses highway) and 27.5 out of city on highway going 75 to 80 MPH. But here's the kicker: you get that kind of mileage on a 4300 pound SUV with the power and acceleration of a V-8!

2. Ride: I love the ECVT with no shifting. The SUV feels solid and sure footed.

3. Quiet: This is the quietest vehicle I have ever been in - even considering the revving noise mentioned above.

4. Environment: Super Low Emissions - we all have to start thinking about what we are doing to this world of ours.

5. Engineering: To me, this vehicle is an engineering marvel. Look on the Lexus site at the animations of how the hybrid parts all work. You can also look at this Toyota site http://www.hybridsynergydrive.com/en/top.html (follow all the links at the bottoms of each page). After looking at these sites, you'll see that the Toyota/Lexus hybrids are different than any other vehicles. When you press on the accelerator, you are really just talking to a computer. In fact most of the systems are controlled by the computer. There are no serpentine belts - everything has been reengineered to make the hybrid function for maximum efficiency. When you start out on electric motor power, the engine kicks in seamlessly - you can't even feel or hear it start, amazing! I can go on, but then you'll think I'm a salesman or something.

6. Fun: Giving you the immediate feedback on your mileage makes driving even more fun to me. It's like a game: how can I improve my mileage? I look forward to driving it every day.

7. Back seat floor is totally flat - no hump.

8. Hybrid components are covered by 100,00 miles or 8 year warranty. (I also got the extended warranty on everything else for under $2,500, so everything other than maintenance items are covered to 100,000 miles. To me this is fairly cheap insurance if you plan on keeping SUV that long, as I do.)

Last comment: I like the aluminum trim over the wood trim also.

I think you'll love the 400h - If I had it to do over again, I sure would.

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Great writeup, Colosprings!

I agree. That humming noise upon agressive throttle comes from the electric motor(s), not the engine. The engine is configured to run at relatively low speeds, I believe.

The only two things I wish for is an adjustable hatch height and sportier seats as an option for those of us who are NOT overweight!


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THANKS SO MUCH YOU GUYS! I really am leaning towards ordering it soon, but it'll depend on the deal they give me ... I'm hoping for about $3000 off of MSRP being a returning customer and all. Might be asking for a little much.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Now my conundrum ... should I just give in and get the 2007 RX 400h with the wood trim rather than wait 3-4 months for one without? Sure would make life a lot easier, but I'd REALLY rather have the aluminum trim.

What do you guys think is a reasonable amount to ask off of MSRP for a return customer?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now my conundrum ... should I just give in and get the 2007 RX 400h with the wood trim rather than wait 3-4 months for one without? Sure would make life a lot easier, but I'd REALLY rather have the aluminum trim.

What do you guys think is a reasonable amount to ask off of MSRP for a return customer?

We got ours for $42K out the door ~ by letting someone else drive it off the lot, new. We took over a lease return when it had 8K miles. We had to shop for almost 6 months before we got the color, trim, bells/whistles and price we were looking for. I actually tried to talk my wife (since it was to replace her 6yr old Range Rover) into getting the Highlander. She felt the Toyota version wasn't 'ritzy' enough of an impression as she drives clients around. So we paid $10K more for the privelage of having an "L" on the front rather than a T.

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Husker. I purchased my 2007 hybrid at $1500 over invoice by phone shopping several dealers and playing one against the other.


How far away from AZ did you price them? Where did you end up getting it from if you don't mind me asking?

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Husker. I only made a few calls, mostly adjacent states. Then I called three local dealers and essentially told them I had firm quotes as low as $1500 over invoice. Two immediately said they would match the price The third didn't call back. Be careful however to get the out-the-door price as doc fees etc can vary. My 07 came out to be:

$48,306 invoice

$42,772 dealer cost

$ 1,500 dealer profit

$44,272 my price

$ 412 misc fees

$44,684 total before sales tax, license and registration fees

I don't think that there is any shortage of RX400h's, so a dealer will likely do whatever he needs to do to keep from losing a sale. Also there is always additional profit for the dealer with end-of-the-year holdback, which is a somewhat guarded number.

Hope this helps.


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