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Hi everyone. I am number 15 on a list (at a local dealership)of people waiting for the RX400h to be introduced next January, 2005.

Has anyone else signed up? Motor Trend estimates the starting price to be approx. $37K. Has anyone heard differently? From what I know so far, the city milage should be about 35 MPG and the tranny will be continuously variable. HP is estimated to be 270. I'm also wondering if this vehicle will need to be smogged. I guess they can't perform the idle sniffer test?

I'm certain that more info will be available as the introduction date approaches, but for now, besides my aforementioned questions, I'd like to ask if overall, everyone is happy with his or her RX330.

Thanks!

Dave :cheers:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, Harley. I almost thought that no one had anything to say about their RX! :blink: I just hope Lexus has any dash squeek issue resolved by the time the 400h rolls out. I will be taking a test drive in January (I hope) and will report my findings soon afterward.

Best regards,

Dave

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just got my RX330 2 weeks ago and hands down, this is the sweetest SUV out there. A few of my friends have checked it out already and they wanna go out and get one too now. The RX400 looks like it's going to have all the options as the current RX330, except I didn't see anything about the suspension. Does anybody know if it's going to have the adjustable suspension?

Being on the list, will you be able to "deal" on the price? Or will you just have to pay their MSRP price? Because you've pretty much guaranteed the dealer that you're going to get one from them, right? So there's really no incentive for them to go down on the price for you. Did you have to leave them a deposit to be on the list?

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Unfortunately, as with most new car introduction-pricing, there will be no dealing for a while. I will have to pay list price, but no added markup (as some dealerships like to tack on). I did have to leave a $1000 deposit that is fully refundable. I am hoping that a full brochure, listing all available features and options will be available this Fall. I haven't heard whether an adjustable suspension will be offered, but I will be tempted to select the GPS map and backup camera option.

The salesperson told me that as soon as they receive their first RX400h in January, those on the list will be called to set up an appointment to test-drive it. I understand that the Toyota Highlander and then Sienna van will be next as hybrid variants. Toyota even has a hybrid sportscar on the drawing board that will pump out over 400 HP and get 38 MPG. With these gas prices (especially in California), they will not come a moment too soon!

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Hey RX400h

I'm somewhat interested in "possibly" upgrading to the RX400h. But I'm

really not too keen on first-year model (even with a Lexus). I know/remember

that Cadillac did some engine-specialization some years back that deceased

the cylinders from 8-6-4 in higher speed driving. The project didn't work out,

was pulled after a year. I hope lexus technology has a better handle on the

hybrid. If so--- maybe a 2006 Rx400h might be in order? I'll have to watch

the mags to see the reviews.

Good Luck, and certainly let us know when #15 comes up at the dealer.

PharmGuy

P.S.--- Yes, happy with my 2001 RX-300,even if my wife's car is a 2002.

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Pharmguy,

Toyota already has a bunch of experience with hybrid technology, via the Prius so I'm not too worried about the first year for Lexus. I haven't heard of any problems with the Prius so far, so that's a good sign as well.

I will certainly keep you posted when I test-drive one of the first 400s in January. By the way, this vehicle will be for my wife; I bought my toy a few years back - a 2001 Magnetic Red Corvette Coupe (love it!).

Dave

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The Prius is on it's 3rd generation. Toyota has the best hybrid technology out right now. I'm sure there are plenty of problems with the hybrid technology, but it's kept relatively quiet. I know my friend's Prius (1st gen) had problems. It was not a recall (but it was probably on the TSB), the problem was intermittent, the car's computers never logged the problem, and since the dealership wanted to physically see the car see the failure light on, it wasn't very fun getting them to fix it.

Anyway, the newest Prius drives like a plain jane internal combustion vehicle. I'm pretty sure the new RX400h will be similar. I see that the prius has a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty on the batteries (source). I don't like the idea of replacing the battery. That sounds expensive.

Don't expect to deal on hybrids. I know the price is fixed on the Prius, and I don't think it will be any different for the RX400h.

I'm impressed with the RX330. There's a bunch of techie things I can geek out on. I love how the HID lights do their little test when you start the vehicle. I like how the RX lowers when you take the key out. I love the dimples on the underbody (yeah, I know it's not aerodynamic, but every bit helps). I like the navigation. Once I get the car broken in, I'll take it on the twisties to test out the AFS. Maybe I'll avoid a deer or two.

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I already own a 2003 Prius and an 01 AWD RX and was quite interested in the RX400h. But then I learned that they plan to use the V6 and have V8 performance.

Making the RX400h a real FARCE insofar as I'm concerned.

The use of regenerative braking to recharge the onboard batteries is undoubtedly a very good, even wonderful, idea. But using the engine to recharge the batteries simply to provide a SuperCharger effect is pue and unadulterated idiocy.

That's why the Prius has such substantially lower highway fuel economy than in the city stop and go traffic.

Taking the Prius concept to a much heavier vehicle and using it to provide SC level, V8, increased performance will prove to be a BIG mistake.

I suspect that a small I4 hybrid with a battery (hybrid) variable speed SC could be used when cruising without sacrificing fuel economy.

How many of us asked for, need, want, V8 perfromance in an RX series anyway?

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I completely disagree.

There is DEFINATELY a market for an RX with more power, V8 performance. There is always a market for a car with more power. What Toyota is doing is making its luxury customers associate hybrid technology with the high performance, more expensive versions of its vehicles. By 2010 every Lexus will have a hybrid version and they all will be higher performance than the gas ones.

See the market is different in luxury vs mainstream. Mainstream buyers are content to buy the Prius, which is a great car (I have an 04) but its an economy car, it feels, rides, and drives like an economy car, just enough power etc. Lexus has correctly recognized that people are not going to trade their gas Lexus for a Hybrid Lexus unless it can offer them something else than just being "eco friendly". Yes that may lower gas mileage some, but it may make up for it by finally driving hybrids completely mainstream.

Would I buy a hybrid Lexus if it had the same power as the Prius, no. Would I if it had more power and more features? Yes.

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From what I've read thus far, SW03ES is correct in that most buyers of SUVs are more interested in power and features vs all-out economy. Getting hybrid SUVs into the mainstream is certainly more likely if

a. You sacrifice nothing except a slightly higher cost

b. You gain something that most Americans want - more power

This is why the Highlander hybrid will equipped with only the 6-cylinder engine - more power AND significantly higher city milage when compared to even the 4-cylinder version.

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Think about it this way, the buyers that are interested in the RX400h have already made a decision to drive an SUV vs a car, Minivan or Station Wagon while ignoring the increase in fuel consumption. The widespread popularity of SUVs has shown that for the higher line American consumer, gas mileage is pretty low on the list of wants/needs. The Lexus hybrids can offer them what they want, lots of power, lots of features with Lexus luxury AND good gas mileage as a bonus! Plus all the nifty Hybrid goodies like being sales tax exempt, $1500 a year tax deduction and being able to drive in the HOV lanes. When the ES400h comes out I'm all over that thing!

Or if I have the funds the LS500h :D

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For the majority of us, I think, the current V6 offers more than enough power. So it seems to me that an I4 hybrid with the performance level of the current V6 would more than suffice.

Or am I trying to be too "green"?

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Bein too green ;)

Gotta trick luxury car buyers into going for hybrids, I agree with Lexus that the best way to do that is to make the high performance versions of the cars the hybrids. It sends a message that a hybrid can be more than green, it can be fast and fun too.

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Rescue Workers Say Hybrid Cars a Danger

Tue May 4, 8:32 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Writer

PHILADELPHIA - The growing popularity of hybrid vehicles is a step toward cleaner air and less dependance on gasoline. But for rescuers at accident scenes, they represent a potential new danger: a network of high-voltage circuitry that may require some precise cutting to save a trapped victim.

AP Photo

"You don't want to go crushing anything with hydraulic tools," said Samuel Caroluzzi, an assistant chief with the Norristown Fire Department outside Philadelphia. "It's enough to kill you from what they're telling us in training."

Hybrids draw power from two sources, typically a gas or diesel engine combined with an electric motor. The battery powering the electric motor carries as much as 500 volts, more than 40 times the strength of a standard battery.

That worries those who must cut into cars to rescue people inside.

"If you can't shut it down, you don't know where the high voltage is," said David Dalrymple, an emergency medical technician in New Brunswick, N.J.

Manufacturers have put in place a laundry list of safety checks that the car's computer must go through for the electrical system to run. They've published guides showing where the electric components are on their models; on the Toyota Prius and other hybrids, the high-power cables are colored bright orange to catch the eye of a rescue worker or a mechanic.

But there are concerns over what happens if something goes wrong and the battery, ignition and other points are inaccessible.

"It's the 'what-if' that worries me," said David Castiaux, an instructor for Mid-Del Technology Center in Del City, Okla., who teaches rescue workers about hybrids.

Chris Peterson, a service training instructor for Toyota, said the Prius' electric system should shut down if anything goes wrong. "There should not be high voltage in those cables, but I'm not going to stand up and say there isn't," he said.

First responders are taught to disconnect the battery and turn off the key immediately before cutting into a car, but that's not always possible.

"Years ago you could just cut with your extrication tools through a post, but now you have to look before you cut," said Ken Nelsen, chief of the Iselin Fire Department District 11 in Woodbridge Township, N.J. "It's just another thing you need to worry about."

When air bags started becoming more common in the 1980s, rescue workers became aware of their potential to seriously injure or kill when inflated. Those concerns have been heightened now that the safety devices are being installed in side panels, seats and other areas.

Concerns about hybrids are increasing in large part because of their growing popularity. Sales have risen at an average annual rate of 88.6 percent since 2000 and recent figures show the number of Americans driving them jumped more than 25 percent from 2002 to 2003.

The Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius are common now and more are on the way: hybrid versions of the Ford Escape, Honda Accord and Lexus SUV this year, and a Toyota Highlander in 2005.

The Alachua County Fire Rescue in Gainesville, Fla., even has two hybrids of its own. Although its crews haven't had to deal with a hybrid crash, they've been getting versed on what to do when it happens, said Cliff Chapman, assistant chief.

They know not to cut into a hybrid's doors — that's where many of the cables are — and to peel off the roof instead. They also now operate under the assumption that a car is energized, wearing rubber gloves and boots.

Manufacturers say they will continue to keep rescue personnel up to date on their hybrids. But they also contend that hybrids can be seen as safer than regular cars.

"Everybody's concerned about the electrical side, but could you imagine if we tried to bring gasoline out today as a motor fuel?" Peterson said.

:cries:

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Its just one item in a long list of high voltage items on todays cars. They just need to better train their rescue workers thats all...

I remember a very similar article when HID headlamps came out, AND airbags, AND everything else...

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Ok, first off---KevinK, that article was a real good point. I never gave the

electric contact rescue problems any serious consideration. Most definitely, as

hybrid's become more and more commonplace---- the first responders will

need specialized training in roadside caution. To take things a step further,

maybe as hybrid technology advances, they might concern adding a central

current breakswitch (or even 2 switches in different areas). Safety should

always be a concern.

Next--- I do agree with wwest. I think a V6 is fine. Use a V6 as a base

model, but if you want an upgrade, give them the option of a V8, don't make

the V8 are standard. I can't say I drive fast, or need a ton of power on a

day-to-day basis, so a V6 is fine.

Lastly, to RX400h---I feel better about Toyota's expertise with hybrid

technology. I can't say I have any friend's with a Prius and I don't see them

in great numbers on the streets. I'm sure as time marches now, there'll

be more and more. Hopefully, Toyota has the bugs worked out before

Lexus starts mass-producing them.

PharmGuy

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What you're missing is Lexus doesn't like giving people a choice. Only one Lexus model has an engine trim choice, the GS. If you say give them V6 power in a hybrid and offer them V8 power in a hybrid thats THREE engine choices, aside from the cost of creating two all new engines Lexus just isn't going to do that. So now you have the RX330 or for about $1500 you can have an RX400h with the hybrid drive and more power. Why create two options to just confuse things?

Power isn't about going fast, its about having the luxury of effortless power. Lexus is trying to disspel the rumor that hybrids are slow.

We've had the Prius about 2 weeks now, so far people have been VERY confused about it, even my dad who is just as into cars as I am. Questions like "does it go uphill" "do you have to plug it in?" even "what happens when its cloudy?". People who are confused like this aren't going to buy a slow Lexus hybrid, they'll just buy the gas one they know. You have to give them something to make them trade up.

BUT its kind of a moot point as almost all the 2005 RX400h's are already spoken for 7 months before the release.

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It looks like its going to be $1500 more or maybe less than that, same option package choices will be aviailiable. Its *supposed* to start at $37k which would be less thanb 15k more than the RX330 but they may do a 330 price drop.

On the Prius it is $1500 annually for as long as you own the car. Not sure if that will carry over to the 400h as the fuel economy isn't as good or it may be a lesser amount.

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Toyota really surprised many people when they announced the Prius cost. Quite a few magazine writers questioned how they could be turning much of a profit. However, I feel that Toyota's marketing direction has been well thought-out and the demand thus far is proof. A Toyota salesperson told me that there is an 8-month waiting list for the Prius.

Although pricing for the RX400h has not been announced yet, I expect that it will be no more than $2000 over the sticker price of the 330. Maybe this is why a Lexus salesperson offered me an RX330 for $500 over dealer invoice recently.

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Oh yeah, the wait here for the Prius is until Christmas. They have 450,000 orders for a model run of only 40,000 cars, some dealers are asking $15,000 over sticker for used test drive vehicles with 15,000 miles. Its crazy. I found one unclaimed in WV and we only waited 3 weeks. How lucky are we?

Dissapointed today though, we went to the MVA to get the tags and you can't drive Hybrid vehicles in the HOV lane alone like you can in other states and Virginia. Only Natural Gas vehicles.

Oh well.

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I think the h will cost 4 to 5 grant more. The battery itself is over $1000.

For Prius, the 2005 tax deduction is $1000, $500 for 2006. If you are lucky got one for 2004, the deduction is &1500. I am not sure it is worth it now.

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Well you know people have been buying cars without tax deductions for decades ;)

I looked around and the RX400h isn't going to be recieving any of those things anyways because it isn't going to have good enough fuel economy. It has to get 50MPG and they're thinking 40 highway, so it will even have to be emissions tested unlike the Prius. But still 40 highway for an SUV with V8 performance? Why is a tax deduction neccisary to get in on that? The RX330 gets maybe half that on a good day, you're cutting your gas bills in half! Plus I would buy it just to have the "higher version" of the RX which Lexus is counting on also.

And I trust Lexus' opinion on the pricing they're saying that the 400h should be around $1500 more. They sell the Prius for 26k with all the options it has (voice activated nav, smart entry, bluetooth, JBL stereo, Bizenon headlamps) what makes you think they can't deliver the RX400h which isn't going to have a lot of extra equipment over the 330 for only $1500 more? $5500 more wouldn't make any sense because it would price the RX400h way out of its price class.

The batteries actually cost $8,000 to replace. But just because the parts cost that much doesn't mean the car does. The 4.3 liter V8 costs almost $20,000 to replace, but the GS430 isn't $20,000 more than the GS300, its only about $2,000 more.

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I found some pictures of it, the better styling alone is enough to make me go for the 400h over the 330

Different bumper, grille, wheels:

lexus_rx_400H_nyc_04_dv_01.jpg

Note the LED taillamps:

lexus_rx_400H_nyc_04_dv_02.jpg

In tan:

lexus_rx_400H_detroit_04_dv_01.jpg

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