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New Lexus RX 400h Owners - Give Us Your Report

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,870
Congratulations on your new RX 400h! This is the place to give us your first impressions!

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  • 400h delivered last night as promised - before the end of the month. And in Savannah our first choice but not apparently in everyone's top choices! We were #12 on the list and car number 3 delivered by the dealership.

    Any way, I have not driven it yet and will not have much opportunity since it is my wife's car. I did drive the Dealer test model a few days earlier and it is impressive. I will borrow it at every opportunity, that is for sure. If anyone has questions, please feel free to fire away.
  • Congratulations Marmadmax! I'm dying because I'm only 12 hours away from picking mine up and I'm not sure if I can sleep tonight!

    Hope your wife loves it and look forward to hearing more about her adventures!
  • plee1plee1 Posts: 15
    Well, I bought the 400h yesterday. I was surprised to get off the waiting list so soon, but glad for it. It drives as people have said -- very, very quiet at stoplights, great pick-up. I drive 90 miles a day to and from work, so I'm looking forward to the gas mileage over my previous 1994 SUV.
  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,284
    We picked up our (actually my wife's) RX400h this past Wednesday. We both love the vehicle. Here is my experience with gas mileage so far. I only drove it on 3 occasions in the city to this point. On each occasion, I got the worst mileage during the first 5 minutes of driving. It got progressively better (up to a point of course) in later 5 minute intervals. During the first 5 minutes I could do no better than about 18-23 mpg. However, in later 5 minute intervals the MPG got surprisingly good. In fact, I got as much as 58-60 mpg on a few intervals. The average during what were three 25-30 minute drives had to be at least in the low to mid 30s. I also found out (and this makes sense obviously) that if you "gun" the accelerator the average MPG takes a substantial hit. Now, here is my take on the first 5 minute interval. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I think that the reason for poor gas mileage the first 5 minutes of driving is likely due to the fact that the system is attempting to recharge the battery after not being used for a while. Once the battery reaches a proper level of charge the motors/battery are doing more of the work. Does this make sense. Thus, after my initial experience, I am convinced that the 400h will indeed live up to the EPA city rating and maybe even surpass it if one is a bit careful how he applies the accelerator. I have not done enough highway driving on it yet to come up with any real conclusion, but what little highway driving I have done seems to also suggest that the EPA of 27 is pretty accurate. I would be shocked if this vehicle is not a huge success for Lexus and hold its value very nicely. It was more than worth the wait.
  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,284
    I did some more testing with the RX400h this afternoon and here is some additional information about gas mileage. If the car is parked for more than a say a half hour, there seems to be a warm-up period after it's started for about 3-5 minutes. During this period, I discovered that the engine is running even when coasting at low speed (25 mph or less) and the current mpg on the screen shows it as less than 20 mpg. However, if it has only been a few minutes since the car was driven, the warm up period seems to be less than one minute. The current MPG then suddenly shoots way up even under some acceleration. On a little trial run to the local grocery store a few minutes ago, I was going about 25-28 mph and the current mpg was at 60 mph the entire 1.5 miles each way. I could not detect the engine running at all. Needless to say, I was very impressed. Now I understand why (from my post #1045) why I was getting the rather poor mpg the first 5 minute intervals the 3 times I tested it & the great mpg thereafter. It all has to do with the engine running no matter how slow you are going the first 1-5 minutes of driving the car after being parked for a while. Incidentally, yes the engine is totally silent for a few seconds as I start backing out of the garage but after a few seconds it kicks on and stays on for that 1-5 minutes depending on how long the car has been parked. I also did some testing on the Interstate this afternoon. With a rather strong cross wind (20-25 mph), I averaged right at about 27 mpg going at between 60 and 70mph. I hope this sheds some light for those that are interested in the gas savings aspect of this fantastic vehicle. I am now quite convinced that one can do even better than the EPA city estimate with the 400h. I would certainly be interested to learn of others experiences in terms of MPG.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    That's pretty impressive and sounds right on target for that speed (even with the crosswind). When I had my '99 RX (even smaller engine than today's), I would average around 20 or so at that constant speed. It think that's mighty impressive. If you were driving a Grand Cherokee with the V8 engine at that speed I bet the average mileage would be around 17 or so. So you CAN have your cake and eat it too with hybrid SUVs!!! Way to go Lexus!!!!
  • kenlex41kenlex41 Posts: 18
    I just want to add that my wife and I picked our RX400 up this weekend and quickly put over 300 miles on. It was a trip to my parents house, mostly highway, and we calculated the MPG by hand (didn't trust the computer), and it was 24.5 MPG (same as the trip computer). I just want to add this is what my 6 year old Dodge Stratus V6 was getting before I sold it. I figure if I get the same MPG as my smaller, less powerful, less luxurious Dodge than I am doing pretty good. We love the car! :shades:
  • headlessheadless Posts: 50
    Quick question for your kenlex...

    What speed were you traveling at on the highway? did you fluctuate speeds (as Lexus recommends), or were you on cruise?

    I found that higher speeds kill the mpg...

    Headless
  • kenlex41kenlex41 Posts: 18
    First, I didn't want to use the cruise, but kept finding myself going 80, so I used the cruise control for about 85% of the trip. Set it around 70 on the interstate (60%) and 60 on the highway (25%). BTW, our salesman didn't mention anything about fluctuating the speed to break in the engine, but I did read many people recommending it on the various forums. I tried it, but it is too easy to go fast in this car.
  • headlessheadless Posts: 50
    I definitely am finding that the key to the car is coasting...if you stop and go on 35-45 mph roads, you're gonna get killed...I'm only getting now about 22.5 mpg on these situations...as soon as I get moving and cruising, I hit a red light...then have to accelerate up to speed again...never a chance for the gas motor to rest...mileage crappy...

    The more I drive, the more I realize that the hybrid really isn't that great...I'm thinking to myself 'big deal.'...what am I really getting? More power at a few mpg better...all for a lot more money...and, to maximize the benefits, I'm going to have to drive a 'certain' way...sure takes the fun out of driving...glad I kept my BMW as a sports ride!

    I'm honestly questioning if the wait was worth it...not so sure...not a convinced or happy Lexus owner up to this point in time...

    Headless
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    If you bought this car solely for fuel savings you wasted your money. The vehicle is not even marketed that way. What you should have done was taken their demo for an extended test drive to see what type of mileage you could have achieved. I think you ought to cut your losses and try and sell it. I'd suggest the Grand Cherokee with the Hemi. More power, less money and off road capable. The RX is really NOT made for off road.
  • bytebox1bytebox1 Posts: 1
    I have now had my 400h for two weeks and have used "B" -- mostly downhill. When I coast I notice that the battery is charging and when using "B" as well. I am averaging 28 mpg in a mix of city/highway driving. One thing to realize is you have to drive differently with a hybrid; it's less driving hard on the throttle than keeping an eye on when you're using the enging versus the electric engines and being conscious of it.

    I find the braking a bit odd...it's what charges the batteries, so it's not your normal brake "feel". Bluetooth means I can keep my Motorola V551 in my purse and use the handsfree -- the navigation system is easy to learn (I am a computer idiot so that's saying something).

    My salesperson spent two hours showing me every function on the car. I never put my name on a waiting list; went on to edmunds.com, sent emails to dealers, spoke on the phone and three days later got my car fully loaded without any markup, paying MSRP.

    I am VERY happy with the mileage and handling of the car...have almost 500 miles on the odo and plan to keep this one a long time. I'd be happy to answer any questions now that I've plodded through my two inch thick owner's manual and all..... :D
  • mirexmirex Posts: 68
    On numerous round trips between Seattle and Portland in my 2003 RX300 I average just over 25 mpg during the 60 mph legs and just over 24 mpg during the 70 mph legs. I use cruise control whenever possible and have my A/C on auto.

    My combined city/highway average has been 19+ mpg.

    I will be getting my RX400h next month and am confident that I will meet the expected mpg.
  • All of you have to remember that the RX400h is designed to get better mileage in the city than on the HWY. If you do a lot of HWY driving, you might as well save your money and buy the 330. If money is no object, then go for the 400. But remember, the whole idea of the hybrid system is to help fuel efficiency in the CITY where the hybrid electric system is used more often in low speed stop and go traffic. The actual mileage on the Hybrid will be about 20% less than what is on the window sticker.

    Happy driving
  • love2scubalove2scuba Posts: 34
    You are correct that the City is better than the Highway mileage, but I have to totally disagree with your 20% less comment. That maybe true in general for most cars, including hybrids, but I now have 2,300 miles on my 400h and I'm getting right on 27 MPG on the highway, with very little stop and go. The one tank that I had which was probably 50/50 highway and city I was able to get that up to 29.4 MPG. So, I'm getting right on what was typed on the sticker.
  • dylan hixondylan hixon Posts: 44
    I was #2 in New york City, a year and a half on the list, but left on a business trip the day my car arrived. Just got it Monday, and I love it.

    Yesterday, I took it to Boston and back for a little shakedown cruise. I averaged about 24MPG indicated on the way up at 75-80mph which crept up to 25.3MPG in traffic at the end of the drive (26.5mpg calculated at fillup, but that was my first tank, and the factory may have put in a little fuel in addition to the dealer's full tank). That's fster than the "high speed" train I usually take. Going home, also at 75-80mph, I averaged about 26MPG indicated, creeping up to 27.2MPG at the end of the drive in traffic again. I am very pleased with those numbers, and I expect them to improve more. If I can find an empty road, and enough patience, I will take a drive at 55mph and see what she does. Should beat the EPA number with a stick, since I am basically there already at 75+mph on a new engine.

    A few observations:

    Cruise control seems important. The cars seems to use the engine more smoothly under cruise. I also carefully observed an interesting algorithm. With the cruise on, the car holds speed pretty accurately, but when you crest a hill and the engine turns off to coast, the cruise allows the car to coast down 5mph before restarting the engine and accelerating back to the set speed. Furthermore, while it is coasting down, it runs the electric motor only (warp stealth) to try to maintain speed as long as possible before restarting the engine. Smart. I had assumed that I could do better than any cruise system by anticipating hills and blending the speed, but this is not just a dumb setpoint only cruise control.

    The kW power guage is great, all cars should have them, it tells you something really useful. It also lets you see regenerative braking. During break-in, I am keeping the needle below 50 kW, max 100kW, and it is still pretty quick, I can't wait to punch it. It should peg at 200kW, anyone done this?

    In city driving, the battery will run down to two bars, which turn red (sort of magenta). I have not seen this in the limited, but careful Prius driving I have done. Perhaps the battery usage map is more aggressive?

    The drivetrain power and braking takes a little getting used to. But I feel comfortable with it already.

    All the regular Lexus stuff is great, auto headlights, auto wipers, really good navigation system, comfortable and quiet.
  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,284
    Thank you for your comprehensive review Dylan. My wife and I are likewise very pleased with the 400h. You seem to be an expert on the electrical system of this vehicle. This is something I do not really understand. How is the kW gauge useful? Does it actually help you in any way to more properly drive this vehicle and take advantage of its energy savings? Thanks in advance for any insight.
  • sinepmansinepman Posts: 137
    Excellent review. I agree with your assesment and I would also buy it over the 330. I wish it came with the laser cruise control though. It's amazing that you have a comfortable nice heavy vehicle that glides down the highway and gets the SAME mileage as a Ford Focus at the same speed. Amazing!!! Go hybrid!!!!
  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,284
    I'm definitely with you on the laser cruise control. I have that option on my LS430 and I absolutely love it. Long trips on the Interstate are much less tiring with this option. Interestingly enough, the RX400h Owner's Manual discusses the laser cruise as if it's an available option. They obviously must have changed their mind the "last minute" and not make it available. It's too bad but we still think this vehicle is awesome.
  • dylan hixondylan hixon Posts: 44
    The kW meter, as I understand it, displays the net hybrid system power being sent to (or taken from) the wheels. Engine power to the wheels plus electrical power to the wheels minus engine power to the battery. When you are in regenerative braking, or coasting, the gauge will register negative power as the net energy flows back into the batteries.

    I assume, and hope, that the extreme of the negative end of the scale is the maximum regenerative braking possible under ideal conditions so I use the gauge to stay in regenerative braking, middle of the dark blue to be safe. Early gentle braking is the rule, and this gives you a measure to train yourself. You can also hear the regenerative braking (a combination of gear whine and electrical hum that sounds like the Mellenium Falcon).

    On the power side, it is like combining a tachometer, a throttle position sensor, and an engine power map to let you know at any time the power actually being sent to the wheels. This can help you to know when you are using high power levels, although that tends to be obvious from the acceleration, but it will also tell you how much power you have left at any condition. I am using it for the break in period to limit power, so I don't know yet what it tells me about high power conditions . I am sure that I will find other uses.

    1kW=1.34hp so the 100kW on the gauge is 134hp, and 200 kW is 268hp, the max power rating of the car (engine is rated at 208hp, electric makes up the rest). When the engine is under computer control and augmented by batteries, they can arbitrarily limit the power output to 200kW.
  • hybrathybrat Posts: 13
    Thanks for pointing that out dylan! Yet another reason why I am looking forward to this car. However, they should have at least included the horsepower metering with kW. Since horsepower is an overwhelmingly more familiar unit of measure with the public, I wonder why they went with kW? Oh well, I'll just have to memorize the conversion factor I guess.

    It would seem to me that another benefit of being able to monitor the output of your engine is that if it is unable to reach its peak rated output, it is an indication of potential mechanical problems. This could come in very handy as a quick test of the health of the powertrain when buying a used one, for example if it can only muster 175 kW when matted rather than 200 kW.

    Out of curiosity, are Lexus' claims of 200 kW maximum output accurate for those who own one? Is the meter accurate?
  • exfrogexfrog Posts: 6
    We waited 14 months for our 400h and love it. The ride is so quiet. Were averaging a little over 26 mph combined city and freeway. In one of life's ironic twists, we accepted a job offer in New Zealand right after we picked up the Lexus.They drive on the other side over there so we can't take it with us. If your interested in buying it let me know. It's sparkling white with everything except the dvd. We live in So. Oregon. If not it will be on Ebay in a couple of weeks. Thanks, Lou
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    You can ship it there and still use it. It doesn't matter if it is LHD. I see RHD cars on the road here all the time. If there is a law against it, that's another story.
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    What kind of price are you trying to get on your 400h? Also, does it have heated seats and Mark Levinson?
  • exfrogexfrog Posts: 6
    The only way you can bring a rhd to New Zealand is if is classified as a classic which the 400h is not. The only other option is to change the wheel to the other side which costs over $10,000.
  • exfrogexfrog Posts: 6
    It does have both Mark Levinson and heated seats. If I put it on Ebay I will let the law of supply and demand determine the price. I can tell you the reserve will be reasonable .
  • hyybrdhyybrd Posts: 2
    I have enjoyed the comments on this forum. I have had my car for about one month and love the 400h

    The phone: My RZR and my wife's V551 sync perfectly with the car. You can only input a number with the car stopped. Hit the info button and the keypad will appear. You may also for some odd reason access the keypad with the dest. key if you go to PAGE 2.

    I am getting about 24 mph on short city drives.. This is my wife's car and it has not been on the road yet. We have 750 miles.

    I like the fact the car is not that different than the 330 but have ordered custom plate hyybrd (all the other Virginia choices are taken).

    I paid just under $50,000 at Flow Lexus in Greensboro, NC and have heated seats, wheel locks, cargo net and no dvd.

    I do love the GPS and the rear TV as visibility is limited in the rear view.

    I like the build quality (I drive a new E 320) and think it is as good or better than my Mercedes.

    I am a little sorry the in town MPG is not higher on short trips and think the car should have come with mp3 player.

    Look forward to more comments from other owners
  • rocky7rocky7 Posts: 13
    Were up to 28 mph city driving. Approximately 1000 miles driven. Haven't had out much on hwy yet. Borrowed friends RX330. He says he is getting around 17 - 18 city on it.
  • kibblekibble Posts: 4
    I walked into a Los Angeles Lexus dealership on Saturday morning, picked my favorite from several in stock and drove off the lot. Paid sticker plus $1,500 for rims I didn't really want. Ara took very good care of me throughout the process and I'm very happy with our new Rx. First tank averaged 23.5 mpg...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Welcome to the Forum. You were not on a wait list or did not have a deposit on an RX400h? Sounds like they are getting a better supply than our local dealer in San Diego. They don't have any and will not put you on a list till you sign a PO with a $1000 deposit. I also thought the first 12,000 were already SOLD. hmmmm
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