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Brand New Rx350 Versus Rx400h


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Hi all,

Per job requirement, I have to drive ~100 miles daily (80% freeway), so I just need help to decide between buying a brand new RX350 or RX400h.

I'm 63 and don't drive fast.

I currently own a 1999 AWD RX300 with 121k miles (original owner). It just had Timing belt and Water pump..... replaced (@113k) at dealer (I provided dealer with parts I bought on the Internet). I do all the fluid changes, spark plug change, TB cleaning,... myself. And so far, the car runs pretty good. It still has the original brake pads. I'm happy with the RX300 so far.

But now, to make the buying decision, I'm not sure about the maintenance level requirements of the hybrid RX400h. Can I still handle most of them myself, like with the RX300? How to compare extra time/cost of maintenance and higher purchase price...versus the savings on gas?

I plan to keep the car for ~10 years or more (if I'm still around). (I've never owned a hybrid before).

I'll appreciate all the help and inputs.

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Hi all,

Per job requirement, I have to drive ~100 miles daily (80% freeway), so I just need help to decide between buying a brand new RX350 or RX400h.

I'm 63 and don't drive fast.

I currently own a 1999 AWD RX300 with 121k miles (original owner). It just had Timing belt and Water pump..... replaced (@113k) at dealer (I provided dealer with parts I bought on the Internet). I do all the fluid changes, spark plug change, TB cleaning,... myself. And so far, the car runs pretty good. It still has the original brake pads. I'm happy with the RX300 so far.

But now, to make the buying decision, I'm not sure about the maintenance level requirements of the hybrid RX400h. Can I still handle most of them myself, like with the RX300? How to compare extra time/cost of maintenance and higher purchase price...versus the savings on gas?

I plan to keep the car for ~10 years or more (if I'm still around). (I've never owned a hybrid before).

I'll appreciate all the help and inputs.

I would go with the 400h for emissions reasons alone.

The CVT is a quantum leap ahead of AT

The responsiveness of the 400h in traffic, especially at freeway speeds is a vast improvement over the 350. This makes driving the freeway safer for you because you have more control.

Make sure you get the Michlen tires, not the Goodyear tires if you want a comfortable freeway experience.

The maintenance of the 400h is difficult but doable. There are several folks here who do their own and I'm sure they will share their secrets if you ask nice ;)

The layout under the hood for the 350 is likely different from the 400h so, it may be better or it may be worse.

As far as doing the math on maint/gas savings... I have yet to see anyone show that the added cost of the hybrid can be offset completely. But don't let that be your deciding factor.

Owing a hybid is not different than owning a gas car. It just pollutes less and is more fun to drive.

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Ok, you heard from a "green" hybrid owner now hear from a dirty 08 RX350 AWD owner - and 60 years old as well. That would make a "dirty old man". :rolleyes:

Check out Consumer Reports for their evaluation of hybrid's savings if that is why you are considering one. At our age, we may not be around to recoup the minimal savings. The RX400h does not have a significantly huge highway mileage advantage. Those electric motors are great for putt-putting around in town but the gap narrows on the open highway. For me, the batteries and motors add too much weight with the accompanying sluggishness and the electronics with the required additional technology add a failure factor. Lexus breeds brand loyalty so expect the RX400h owners to love their cars and the RX350 owners to do the same. Both are fine cars.

The RX350 has the best power to weight ratio of the regular SUVs. On the freeway it is quick and nimble. At 100 miles per day, the probability is that you will need responsiveness at some point unless you drive the LA freeways. Then the electric motor is all that is necessary. A moped driven on the center line will get you wherever faster.

In the July Consumer Reports tests the accident avoidance speed was higher for the RX350 than it was for the much ballyhooed and great handling Acura MDX. Take both Lexus models for a comprehensive test drive and choose for yourself.

Be sure to ask the Lexus Service Manager about doing the service yourself. While knowing that he might try to keep himself employed, it will still be a starting point for some servicing information. The RX350 looks to have impossible to replace spark plugs but the originals will last our lifetimes. A cover plate under the engine must be removed to access the oil drain plug and filter. All of the other fluids are good for 100K miles in the 2008 RX350 according to my Service Manager (transmission, power steering, and whatever else). The lubricants are new to the 08.

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Well, I happen to have a 400h but when I'm in to get the oil change,etc. I have gotten a 350 and there is no comparison, the 400h is much nicer to drive on the freeways...and anywhere else. No shift points is a huge reason and it seems to have much more power when accelerating on the freeway. I don't know much about cars but I know what I feel and the 400h feels much better and accelerates so much better at fast speeds. But they are all great cars at Lexus...oh, the initial pull from the 350 is cool though compared to the gentle pull from my 400h but after that...it's all 400h. The huge difference is in being clean. I didn't get it and then figure how many years it would take to recoop the price difference...it doesn't work like that with a 40k+ car, we get the 400h because we CAN and we CAN feel better about what we drive. When the L.A. traffic gets congested, I am in the world's greatest golf cart! 'Nuff said. It does feel great to have the engine off in traffic and I am the only one it seems smiling in the traffic...I also have a DVD player up front(in between the center console and the dash...but that's another story)the smile is in knowing that when stuck in traffic,I am not polluting or burning my fuel! ...Anyway, the 400h is by far much nicer to drive and I am glad that I own this great marvel...but drive them both, you'll see what I mean and take them both on the highway and punch the gas. The 400h just kicks butt over the 350! anyway, have fun and peace to you all,Rey Bustos in sunny L.A.

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Rey brought up a good point. Even though you will be spending 80% of your drive on the highway, the big question is, "How often is that highway congested?" If it is anything like the highways here in San Diego, the choice of getting an RX400h is an easy one. When you creep along in heavy traffic, you use no gas whatsoever - none! Your $3500 premium gets taken care of very quickly when your gas mileage in traffic is 33 MPG. An RX350 under the same conditions could very easily give you mid-to-low teens, or half what the 400h would return.

When my wife drove a Nissan quest (V6 with 152 HP), she had to fill up every week. Now that she drives the RX400h, she fills up every two weeks; it's that drastic a change.

Of course, if you are somehow able to drive on an empty highway, and seldom experience stop & go traffic, by all means, consider the RX350. I must tell you, though, that once you get used to the seamless nature of the CVT transmission, you will not want to go back to a regular auto transmission.

By the way, I change my own oil and filter (and spark plugs when the time arrives). While getting to the oil filter takes a bit more time than it does when changing the filter of some other vehicles, it is in no way difficult if you have the right filter and wrench.

Dave

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"Feel" is an important, but subjective, aspect of appreciating one's car but raw data exposes the facts. The RX400h is 300 pounds heavier than the RX350. The breaking distances are significantly longer in the 400 from 60 mph. On dry it is 16 feet longer (146 vs 130) and on wet 11 feet (152 vs 141) - just under a 10% difference on the same tires and with ABS. However, since lsrxlex can go over 120K miles on a set of brakes, they apparently aren't used very much. :whistles:

The HP is nearly the same (268 vs 270) and the 350 get to 60 mph .1 second faster. Maximum accident avoidance speed for the 400 is 47.5 mph while the 350 is 50.5 mph. Average mileage for the 400 was 23 mpg and the 300 was 19.

All of this data is from Consumer Reports and using their website allows a side-by-side comparison. To me, it appears that the 300 pounds of extra weight contributes to much of the difference in the numbers. Of course, this can all be equalized if one drives alone compared to someone with a "hefty" spouse to haul around. :rolleyes:

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whoa whoa whoa back to the original post. 120K miles and still on original brake pads? LOL that has to be a record.

I never got more than 46K on my brake pads on my 2000 RX300 AWD and I thought that was pretty good. 120K sounds too good to be true!

I do however expect at least 60K on my 06 RX400H AWD, we will see!

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Actually, based upon Car & Driver's recent findings, an RX400h on a full charge accelerated to 60 MPH in 6.7 seconds - that's .1 seconds quicker than the RX350. The equivalent torque of 650 lbs-ft to the wheels gives the 400h a distinct "seat-of-the-pants" acceleration feel that cannot be duplicated without the massive kilowatt boost from electric motors (at least when we're talking about the RX line).

Regarding brake longevity, hybrids that use regenerative braking exhibit much less pad wear than do those cars that do not have this feature.

Again the huge advantage of owning a Toyota-made hybrid is big city driving and the huge increase in fuel mileage of which anyone can take advantage. Real-life city mileage of high-HP and high-weight non-hybrids is dismal, at least from what I've found.

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Ok, you heard from a "green" hybrid owner now hear from a dirty 08 RX350 AWD owner - and 60 years old as well. That would make a "dirty old man". :rolleyes:

Check out Consumer Reports for their evaluation of hybrid's savings if that is why you are considering one. At our age, we may not be around to recoup the minimal savings.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is one of my favorite things to 'clarify' . . . "savings" ? ?

How does one quantify savings?

Own a Harley? How do you quantify your purchase?

A vett? How do you quantify your purchase?

55 chevy?

you fill in the blank

Point is, virtually NO one buys a car (a money looser at best) as an investment ... or for how it's going to pencil out. My wife likes the 400h because it's light years quieter than the straight I.C.E. version. I like it because I blow through less $$$ at the pump. Sure, if you ARE a lead foot, you'll only get 25mpg ... but driving real carful, I CAN get 33mpg on the AWD version, and I like knowing that. It's my tiny little way of giving less support to al queda. We had a Range Rover that only got 12mpg on a good day, prior to the 400h. Just because we could 'afford' to be wastefull didn't mean that we didn't want to be a little more responsible. Yea, at our age, we may not be around to do a lot of things ... but that doesn't mean that we want to blow through our kid's kids natural resources. Ok, off the soap box. Enjoy your purchase, either way.

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Ok, you heard from a "green" hybrid owner now hear from a dirty 08 RX350 AWD owner - and 60 years old as well. That would make a "dirty old man". :rolleyes:

Check out Consumer Reports for their evaluation of hybrid's savings if that is why you are considering one. At our age, we may not be around to recoup the minimal savings.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is one of my favorite things to 'clarify' . . . "savings" ? ?

How does one quantify savings?

Own a Harley? How do you quantify your purchase?

A vett? How do you quantify your purchase?

55 chevy?

you fill in the blank

Point is, virtually NO one buys a car (a money looser at best) as an investment ... or for how it's going to pencil out. My wife likes the 400h because it's light years quieter than the straight I.C.E. version. I like it because I blow through less $$$ at the pump. Sure, if you ARE a lead foot, you'll only get 25mpg ... but driving real carful, I CAN get 33mpg on the AWD version, and I like knowing that. It's my tiny little way of giving less support to al queda. We had a Range Rover that only got 12mpg on a good day, prior to the 400h. Just because we could 'afford' to be wastefull didn't mean that we didn't want to be a little more responsible. Yea, at our age, we may not be around to do a lot of things ... but that doesn't mean that we want to blow through our kid's kids natural resources. Ok, off the soap box. Enjoy your purchase, either way.

The salesman at the Reno dealership tried hard to pressure me into buying a new RX350 by stressing that there "might be the perception" of lesser traction on snowy roads. I had him repeat the phrase "the perception" just I to make certain that I had heard him correctly. In fact it was "a half-second's perception" that he was talking about. He tried fairly hard to talk me out into a n RX350 even while I insisted that it was the environmental aspect of the hybrid which was important to me. I think he was mostly motivated by the fact that he had RX350s on the floor and no 400h-es. Now that I have made a down payment on a 400h they are telling me that there will be a lengthy waiting period because of the popularity of the 400h-es due to our currently outrageous (already existing and to be expected) gas prices. <_<

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"Feel" is an important, but subjective, aspect of appreciating one's car but raw data exposes the facts. The RX400h is 300 pounds heavier than the RX350. The breaking distances are significantly longer in the 400 from 60 mph. On dry it is 16 feet longer (146 vs 130) and on wet 11 feet (152 vs 141) - just under a 10% difference on the same tires and with ABS. However, since lsrxlex can go over 120K miles on a set of brakes, they apparently aren't used very much.:whistles:

The HP is nearly the same (268 vs 270) and the 350 get to 60 mph .1 second faster. Maximum accident avoidance speed for the 400 is 47.5 mph while the 350 is 50.5 mph. Average mileage for the 400 was 23 mpg and the 300 was 19.

All of this data is from Consumer Reports and using their website allows a side-by-side comparison. To me, it appears that the 300 pounds of extra weight contributes to much of the difference in the numbers. Of course, this can all be equalized if one drives alone compared to someone with a "hefty" spouse to haul around. :rolleyes:

One measure of the "feel", is the 45-60mph times. I know that CR often includes these times in their reports... but you did not mention them.

I think the breaking can be attributied to the complex interaction between the regenerative breaking and the friction system. Is a small price to pay for having the HSD on board.

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Hi all,

Per job requirement, I have to drive ~100 miles daily (80% freeway), so I just need help to decide between buying a brand new RX350 or RX400h.

I'm 63 and don't drive fast.

I currently own a 1999 AWD RX300 with 121k miles (original owner). It just had Timing belt and Water pump..... replaced (@113k) at dealer (I provided dealer with parts I bought on the Internet). I do all the fluid changes, spark plug change, TB cleaning,... myself. And so far, the car runs pretty good. It still has the original brake pads. I'm happy with the RX300 so far.

But now, to make the buying decision, I'm not sure about the maintenance level requirements of the hybrid RX400h. Can I still handle most of them myself, like with the RX300? How to compare extra time/cost of maintenance and higher purchase price...versus the savings on gas?

I plan to keep the car for ~10 years or more (if I'm still around). (I've never owned a hybrid before).

I'll appreciate all the help and inputs.

Most of the maintenance is pretty straight forward on both cars, you can only change the oil, rotate tires etc one way and you do it the same on both cars. Now as too any special maintenace to hybrid you are under no obligation to go to dealer you can find good competent mechanic who can do the work for you, no fancy waiting room, no cookies, or soft drink most likely no loaners but half the price. As long as he does all the work they call for and its documented your warranty is fine (keep paper work)

As to savings on gas, I would love to see some more current numbers on how long takes you to offset cost of hybrid, I think last study I saw was way back when gas was about $2.10 or $2.25 now that its 3.25 or more and going up up up how long will it take? What if we are at $ 5.00 next year and stays there, go try and buy a a hybrid than.

From the sounds of your post your really torn, I think you need to drive both cars same equitment and that will help you make your choice, other option is to find a very slightly used hybrid say 5-8k miles on it so much of depreication is taken for you. That worked well for me. I bought one with 7K for about 8K less than new that was 1 year old.

Just some grits for the mill

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"Feel" is an important, but subjective, aspect of appreciating one's car but raw data exposes the facts. The RX400h is 300 pounds heavier than the RX350. The breaking distances are significantly longer in the 400 from 60 mph. On dry it is 16 feet longer (146 vs 130) and on wet 11 feet (152 vs 141) - just under a 10% difference on the same tires and with ABS. However, since lsrxlex can go over 120K miles on a set of brakes, they apparently aren't used very much.:whistles:

The HP is nearly the same (268 vs 270) and the 350 get to 60 mph .1 second faster.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Hugh? :blink: The 400h (including the TWO electric motors) has 30hp MORE then the straight ICE version ... and is a second faster than the straight ice. I don't have the literature in front of me, but here's just one link as an example:

oh, and the mpg?

The OLD epa rating WAS 31mpg ... with the newer epa rating lower as you state ... but your ICE mpg? The 19mpg? Isn't the new 4x4 for 2008 only 17.6mpg ? ... so keeping it apples to apples, the epa ratings ought to be for the same models, and EPA yearly ratings.

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You Tube is the source of expertise that is also a year old?! Interesting, especially when the data is not available. I'll go with Consumer Reports thank you. CR has extensive tests, both objective and subjective, with side-by-side comparisons if their website is used. Since they have no preferences or advertising their information is reasonably unbiased.

There is little sense in getting huffy over which RX is the better car. Personal preferences will be the deciding factor in the end.

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You Tube is the source of expertise that is also a year old?! Interesting, especially when the data is not available. I'll go with Consumer Reports thank you. CR has extensive tests, both objective and subjective, with side-by-side comparisons if their website is used. Since they have no preferences or advertising their information is reasonably unbiased.

There is little sense in getting huffy over which RX is the better car. Personal preferences will be the deciding factor in the end.

Oh, sorry GDixon, didn't mean to get you huffy. Don't quite know which note I wrote that got you feeling out of sorts ... the youtube video, or correcting the mpg due to comparing different year RX's ... ie; not apples to apples. Actually, I don't even know which engine size they're putting in the '08 400h up against ... the older 330? or the new 350. I've read the engine IS bigger now, in the 350. Perhaps that's why we're seeing different facts? Yea, the 400h has 30hp more than the 330 ... but not the bigger (and thus more of a gas guzzlin') 350. Consumer reports hasent even written up the '08 400h yet, has it? Is the 400h going to have the bigger V6 also? Hope not. It certainly isn't necessary. I like getting better mpg over hp.

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Now that I have made a down payment on a 400h they are telling me that there will be a lengthy waiting period because of the popularity of the 400h-es due to our currently outrageous (already existing and to be expected) gas prices. <_<

I had absolutely no problem finding the exact color and model we wanted 'off the lot' here in San Diego for $500 over invoice.

Been extremely pleased with it and I'm sure you'll find it worth the wait.

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I agree with one of the posters. Test drive both. If you do and you can afford the difference in price, I think you'll buy the 400h. Let's face it. If we all were only interested in the lowest price, Lexus wouldn't even be in business.

Test driving both is how we ended up with ours. We test drove a 400h, then drove the 350. As soon as we got back, we started negotiating for the 400h because they only had one and another couple was test driving it as we got back from the 350 test drive. You'll love the ride. To me, the ride, smoothness, quietness, and acceleration are worth the difference in price even if you don't save on the mileage - which you do in fact save. My overall mileage is 26.8 MPG over 10,000 miles by the Energy Monitor. Actual mileage is probably around 25.8 because the monitor seems to be off by around a mile per gallon which jives with my personal comparisons of actual verses monitor MPG.

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