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ES versus NX


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My wife and I are looking to upgrade our 2013 Corolla to something bigger and I'd like to stay with Toyota/Lexus.  We want something safe with excellent fuel economy, ideally an SUV.  Our top choice would be the NX 450h but dealerships tell me it's a 2-3 year wait, which is too long.  Also, I test drove the NX and although it's an SUV it felt very small inside - to me it looks and feels more like a hatchback (not meaning to insult anyone who has one, it's a beautiful vehicle).  I could order a Ford Escape plug in and get it much sooner but I'm worried about Ford reliability.  So now I'm considering an ES 300h.  My concerns are:

1. Would it be safe to drive in a Canadian winter?  I would use quality winter tires but still, it's FWD and ground clearance is lower than an SUV.

2. In general, would the ES be as safe as the NX?  It sits lower and weighs a bit less but it's more than a foot longer, so that might help with safety...?

Before anyone suggests the RX hybrid, I've already considered it and it's too expensive, requires premium gas and the fuel economy isn't nearly as good as the ES or NX.

Any insights?

Thanks!

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My sister just picked up her new ES300h, yesterday and she and her husband love it. Since they live in New England, it will surely see some snow-covered drives but of course, your Winters are likely to be more severe. As you know, Winter tires make a big difference on snow, compared to all-season tires. The best news is its fuel mileage - much better than the NX450h on the highway.

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Good point about fuel economy being better on the highway, although I think NX450h is still pretty good, especially if you start off your trip with a full charge. 

Any thoughts about safety?  My wife is expecting our first child next March, so I want a big, safe vehicle.  Would NX (or a similar sized suv) but safer than an ES?  I know they are both IIHS top safety pick+, but it's also sedan vs suv....

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Sedans are less likely to overturn in an accident but really, you don't need an SUV to be safe. The EX300h is not a tiny car by any stretch of the imagination., so unless everyone in your town is driving a Suburban or Hummer, you and your family will be very safe.

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The ES 300h is more aerodynamic than an RX so that helps MPG.  Because the ES is lighter than an RX, it still gallops slightly on bridges, but significantly less than the RX.

Compared to the RX, the ES is super quiet at Interstate speeds.

The ES has a 5 star frontal Driver and 4 star front passenger rating per the window sticker.

The NX 350 window sticker claims that it has not yet been rated, although you can find sites on the internet that claim the NX has a top rating for crash safety. No clue on that one.

 

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Thanks for the info, Les.  Do you think the ES would suitable for a family with a child seat in the back?  I test drove one and it felt surprisingly cramped regarding head room, particularly in the back seats - my head was hitting the ceiling when I tried to sit up straight.

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You're right Gavan - the low roof line of the ES series is the reason the RX and now NX lines are so popular. You would really like the RX 350 as it will definitely meet your needs.  You can get a 2020 RX for under 50K and it still has years left on the full warrantee. I just saw one at Lexus of Birmingham, with 6K miles on it but its sold in two days.  If a Lexus dealer has a Pre-owned RX for sale, you will find it using their search engines. 

You just have to get on and look at a bunch of dealers, once a day.  Dave / RX400h gave me that hint months ago and that's how I was able to snag another hybrid coming off the assembly line in Georgetown, KY.  I love the RX but my wife got a leg injury and needed a stool to get up into the RX.image.thumb.jpeg.7062f9b6f85e341b1fc065c9f3041156.jpeg

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Only issue I see with a sedan vs suv is visibility in parking lots due to all the suvs in parking spaces blocking vision when backing out of spaces but with all of the alarms on vehicles these days you'll probably hear an alarm before you back out and end up in trouble.

i doubt the baby in the back seat will be bothered by lack of head room any time soon. 

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More specifically, if you try to back out between two SUVs, and a vehicle is passing in either direction, the brakes lock up and you get a big jolt, followed by "What the hell was that?". Now daze, I try to find a set of empty space so that I can head in and proceed to the empty space in front of that so that when I come out of the store, I don't have to back out, just put it in D and leave.

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Thanks for the advice regarding RX hybrid.  I've been thinking about it and there is a 2020 RX 450h in my area with only 28000 kms for 60k cad (I'm in Canada).  My only concern is premium fuel and relatively poor fuel economy (vs NX or ES hybrids).  I've been research RX hybrids online and a lot of people seem to only get mid 20s mpg.   

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Then the NX 350h would be perfect, If you can find one.  If I remember correctly, and you download the manual and look at the fuel requirements, it does not require premium fuel. It allows  Regular 87/RON 91 min.  But, Premium 91/RON 96 Recommended. See Page 718 in their OM.

But with a 14.0:1 compression ratio, I would still go with mid test gas.  Mid-test gas goes down south for about 40 cents USD more per gallon, Top Tier rated gas.

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I agree the NX makes a lot of sense, but I gather the 2023 RX will have a similar engine to the NX and won't require premium fuel (and should get better gas mileage)....so depending on price and wait times, I may consider a new one. 

I do like the size of the RX (my wife says "go big") and would consider a current or older one but I've read a lot of complaints about fuel economy - for some reason people seem unable to reach the EPA ratings yet alone better them, which surprises me; I drive a 2013 Corolla and with gentle acceleration plus lots of coasting and cruise control I'm able to get much better mpg than the EPA ratings.

Can any RX hybrid owners confirm if they're able to get into the 30s mpg with hybrid driving techniques?

 

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The 23 RX 350h (by one account) will be AWD and e-CVT standard, and get 36 MPG on “Premium” gas, according to a posting by Kirk Kreifels.

There is no way a Lexus dealer is going to give up a next-Gen RX 350h AWD next year for under 64K$ IMHO.

Lets face it, Gavan, the RX 350 is a rolling Box Car( compared to low-drag Lexus sedans like the ES).

My last 100 mile interstate trip, I got a surprising 31 MPG with the RX 350, but I got 50 MPG with the ES 300h (same route / same traffic).  But I don’t drive 75 MPH like some guys. That’s for those who like to wear their tires out quicker and spend more time at the gas pump.

I hate hanging out at tire stores and gas stations.

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