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Lexus RX 350 versus Toyota Highlander Limited?

srisssriss Posts: 2
I've been researching the Lexus for a couple of months now. I want a 2009 and even rode in a friends 2008 last week. I liked everything but the front dash. I don't like the navagation system (big square right in the middle of the dash). Anyway I started comparing the RX350 with the Highlander Limited and they don't seem too different, except of course the Lexus is a "step above". I'm wondering if any of you thought about the Highlander before you bought the Lexus? I have also heard the Lexus will be re-tooled in 2010 and look more like the Highlander...shape wise. I appreciate any and all replies. As you can see I'm on the fence! Thanks, Suzq


  • player4player4 Posts: 362
    I really dont see any major diffs between the two, other than the 3rd row seat and the wood steering wheel and the HID's?? Oh and the L in the grille and hatch haha.
    The RX is getting a full redisign for 2010 so when it comes out we will see more differences but till then if you are debating between the two and $ is a factor, go for the HL but if $ is not an issue then why not go for the RX?
  • I have priced leases out on both and currently the Lexus is cheaper to lease than the Highlander hybrid (by quite a bit). I got $495/mo on the rx and $719/mo on the highlander.
  • Gosh, I hope the shape of the next RX doesn't look like the Highlander. I still like the shape of the current RX over the Highlander.
  • banxbanx Posts: 6
    The Rx 350 now has a $5K manufacturer to dealer incentive until 2 weeks from now, according to Edmunds. I just bought an '09 RX350 awd with various options (no navigation) for $34.6K and that was $950 under Edmunds' TMV for this vehicle. What I paid was only $200 over the TMV for a similarly equipped Highlander Limited awd w/options. The Lexus also has a better warranty at 4 yrs, 50K miles. As "player4" noted, you may want that 3rd row seat that the Lexus doesn't have. Another costly difference may be the octane requirement. The '09 Lexus manual states use only 91 octane - there's nothing about using anything lower. Edmunds states the Highlander uses regular fuel, even though both vehicles use a 3.5L engine with 270 hp. The Lexus has 3 more ft-lbs of torque which is negligible. The Lexus curb weight is 4090 lbs while Highlander Limited is 4321 lbs, so the Toyota may get worse mileage in the real world due to the extra weight, despite the EPA estimates. The Lexus awd has a viscous center differential while the Toyota's is mechanical. I got the 18 in wheels on the Lexus while the Toyota has 19 inch wheels - a larger wheel tends to make the ride worse. The Toyota allows you to manually open the rear hatch window (Edmunds features), but the Lexus window is fixed. The Lexus has 3/4" less front leg room and 10 cu ft less cargo room than the Toyota. The Lexus is smaller in many dimensions than the Toyota crossover, hence the Toyota has more cargo space, payload, ground clearance, and a wider turning circle than the Lexus.
  • srisssriss Posts: 2
    Thanks to all who posted. I have some research and I have an idea that I will be buying the 09 Highlander Sport. The reasons I think it's a better deal (and the right car for me) is: I am not getting the 3rd row seats. There is an option to have them removed and a credit lowers the price, I LOVE the idea that I can use regular fuel in it, the design (I finally have gotten use to it) looks "simular" to the new design on the new 2010 Lexus (of course I've only seen pictures), and from everything I've read I can have exactly the same features and options for an overall lower price. I road in a friends Lexus and hated that big navigation screen in front...and I really don't need that anyway. And finally I think the resale value will hold as good or better than the Lexus in the future.

    I'm one of those people who has very low miles on their car and keeps a car for many years (5-10) and since this will be my car right before retirement I hopefully will hold on to it for awhile. So my reasons for my choice may not be like others.

    I can only hope that Totota comes out with a sweet deal in the next month or so. I'm planning on my purchase in the next 2 months.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I would be really surprised if somewhere in the owners manual it doesn't say fueling with regular is not, will not be harmful. Almost modern day vehicles use the newer wideband knock sensors which allow for the mixture being enriched slightly with the use of 87 octane.

    Viscous Clutch vs not.....

    The '99 & 2000 F/awd RX300's had a VC and actually relied on it for partial, rubber-bandish, locking of the otherwise full open center diff'l. By '01 VSC and TC were added to the RX300 thereby, with TC, making the VC virtually non-functional. Although marketing contended otherwise the VC was dropped altogether for the entire RX330 model run. The RX350 is supposed to have a VC but none of the Lexus shop/repair manuals indicate so.

    If you read the factory information on TC it will be pretty obvious that a VC would be pretty much non-functional even if installed.

    But for the 2010 the RX center diff'l is being dropped in favor of an automatic PART-TIME engagement of rear drive using an electric clutch as is used in the new Venza and in past years in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.
  • I own both. BIG difference for me in the Highlander advantages over RX is driver's seat ... I hit my head on the roof (with moon roof) on RX, whereas I have plenty of headroom in the Highlander - plenty. I'm 6' 1". Also, the Limited Highlander has a driver's seat option that lifts up the front of the seat for better leg support - RX doesn't (at least mine doesn't). Hence, driving for me is more comfortable in the Highlander. I would bet both are fixed in the 2010 RX ... if they don't they will miss the mark for many drivers. In the end, they are both good vehicles and well built. Lexus has the better warranty - no doubt. BTW - I run 89 E-10 in both - NO knocking, no problems.
  • If you don't mind a little more road noise and the red circlular display light color for the speedometer, i'd say the highlander definitely provides better bang for the buck. cargo space really sux on the RX350. the only thing that it's got going for it is that its appearance/styling is preferred by many soccer moms and grannies. sure, the sales and service dept at lexus might kiss your [non-permissible content removed] better and cookies/water may be free, but for the best return per $, i'd choose the highlander.
  • I currently own a 04Rx and a 05HL. I find the seats/interior better in the RX and the extra Lexus features a plus. I don't have Nav in either so you can get one without one pretty easy. My next purchase will be a used Lexus certified to get the extended warranty. Since my RX has 107K miles on it, I had a major tuneup; belts, plugs, brakes, etc. at my local Toyota dealer at less cost. I expect to get another 4-5 years on it.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    I looked in 06 and again recently when I bought an 08 left over. While it appears the price delta seems to have decreased both times I chose the Highlander Limited (Hybrid). I didn't think the HID's and different audio system were worth the difference, as both are real close. I was considering the 2010 Lexus when I was looking this time and noticed the wheel base remained the same as before, the longer wheel base gives a nicer ride in the new Highlander. All in all been real happy with the Highlander.

    The seats in the 08 and 09 Highlander Limited I would say are as good and the Lexus as they now adjust to make the seat cushion longer. This was one of the things I was looking for as my 06 Highlander seats and distance from the pedals and my back did not get along on trips over 45 min.
  • We own a 2000 RX300 (same body) and I have rented a Highlander (2005) for a road trip in Oregon.

    BIG DIFFERENCE. The top-3 problems with our RX300 are : turning radius, cargo space, and flakiness of (lights, driver's visor, cup holders atop console.)

    CARGO SPACE IS ROTTEN ON THE RX300. We have gone camping 10x times. It's just tiny enough that our 7-year old kids have to put up with sleeping bags under their feet and/or a cooler on the floor between them !! When they turn 10 we're gonna be OUT OF LUCK !! My wife often has a backpack and/or paper bag under her legs in the front seat, or both !! And this is with the rear of the car PACKED with stuff, and we have a tiny tent, you can only fit 3 full-sized cardboard boxes in the rear of the car before you're in trouble !! I would love to have the ~7 cu ft extra cargo space in the Highlander !!

    If you camp with a family, STAY AWAY from the RX300, RX330, RX350, and RX400 series of cars !! STAY AWAY !! This is the greatest flaw in the RX3/4 series of cars ...
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Wow! Sounds like you need a bigger car, and you need it now!

    (FWIW, there are great deals on Suburbans and trailers right now. ;)

    Personally, I really like the smaller size RX300, but it's not for everyone. It's a little more spacious than I normally need, and I appreciate a car that's more nimble than any of these. I value the RX's features that "spoil" my tastes like the much better sunroof, etc. I've gone camping with many different cars, but I usually take the motorhome when I need that much stuff. I've even camped out of the RX and slept inside. The load floor is flat and long, a Toyota wagon trademark it seems. So I've never ran out of room in the RX; never even used the roof rails I took off when I first bought the car new.

    The Highlander may share a common platform, but it's not the same as an RX, and I'm sure that's by design. The Lexus models have some really nice useful features that become endearing which are not available on cars like the HL. Little things that I use everyday, like the auto up and auto down on all windows and moonroof simultaneously remotely or activated inside and (via the lock) outside, to name one of many little tricks. I do miss the little extras when I'm not driving the RX. The newer RX's have many other tricks, too. But if you prefer a lower price and a little bit more cargo space and are annoyed by extra gadgets and don't care about things like an obviously better stereo with stock subwoofer, I can understand how the HL would be a better fit for you.

    If you need that much more cargo space than the RX provides, you may run out with the HL, too. If that happened to me, I'd look at minivans, which can hold lots more, and attain about as high MPG. But the RX is roomier than expected, and in no way cramped, even for larger people.

    I guess the Venza (with it's standard direct-injected 4 cylinder) is not even enough space??
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It was a big surprise to me to find that the new Venza 4 cylinder does not use DFI.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    The RX series and Venza have a hatchback style while Highlanders have a wagon rear end for the extra cargo room. I'm happy that I didn't have to buy Lexus for Highlander rear end, but in your case, no Highlanders were around for 2000 model year.
  • jerry116jerry116 Posts: 13
    The different between RX350 and Highlander limisted is that RX350 is a luxury car brand but Highlander not. Class different, not much comparsion. Even many luxury brand can't offer real wood interior but Lexus can. It just like how you want to dress yourself. You can pay $100 for a famous brand Tshirt or $20 for the same thing which made in the same factory with almost the same material. RX350 wasn't designed as big SUV. Many people dont like big SUV otherwise they should choice LX470. if your compare current RX350 vs BMW X3 or Audi Q5, you will find RX350 have more room. You drive Lexus means you have used a luxury brand as your transportation tool otherwise you just use common tool which doing the same thing (transfer you and your family from one place to another ).
  • berriberri Posts: 9,870
    I don't think most luxury cars are a big deal any more because so many people can lease them - you don't really have to make that much to lease mid level Lexus, MB or BMW, so I don't really think it has all that much status.
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    RX does not lift up the front of the driver's seat? My 2000 RX does (part of 8-way power driver's seat). On the power seat switch, do you see the up-and-down arrow?
  • umn65umn65 Posts: 2
    The Lexus has one of the best retained value histories in the industry, and that's why it is generally cheaper to own or lease the Lexus vs. the Highlander. If you like both cars, I'd go for the Lexus, cuz in reality it's cheaper to own.
  • I am considering both these cars now. I was wondering if anyone had any more recent comments on the comparison of the 2011 RX 350 and 2011 Highlander Limited?
  • I am the extremely happy owner of a 2001 Highlander with 220K miles. It is easily the best vehicle I have ever owned. My son will be driving in Sept this year so I'm casually looking at a new car for my wife. I will be giving him my 2008 Element and was considering the RX 350 for my wife with me driving the 2001 Highlander. I will not pay 40k for a car so a new RX350 is not an option but looking at 2 year old RX350's the price drops all the way down to the same as a 2 year old Highlander. I am now torn between the new Highlander or a 2 year old RX350. leaning towards the new Highlander. I really do not need the gadjets or style points as I have a gorgeous classic car in the garage. I am a dealers worst nightmare.
  • And don't forget you can't get the memory seats, memory mirrors and the power telescoping steering wheel on the Highlander. I have to have the memory seats. But, certainly, if you need a little bit more cargo room, then the Highlander will suit your needs better.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    While far from acceptable by my standards the newer RX350's (2010+{?}) have a much more functional F/awd system vs the HL. The Honda/Acura SH-AWD system is the best of the best for vehicles with sideways mounted engines.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited March 2011
    We already know that Highlander's AWD works extremely well and owners more then happy with it's performance!make=Toyota&model=Highland- - er&ed_makeindex=.f21ebcd

    stop beating a dead horse...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Then why does it need a TDC "off" function to quickly convert it into the old style ONE-WHEEL drive system for getting unstuck or initially in motion..?
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    Only if you stuck and can't move, not in motion. it takes special skills or really abnormal road conditions to get stuck in this vehicle. Since it is not an off-road vehicle you really need to be looking for troubles to get it stuck. It never got me stuck even going through last three Ohio winters.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..Only if stuck and can't move, not in motion.."

    In the general case once you are "in motion" there is NO requirement for both front and rear drive. Most true 4WD owners will tell you that it is HIGHLY inadviseable, even DANGEROUS, to have both front and rear drives engaged when/once in motion.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You're obviously not considering the fairly common "stuck" situation wherein you're trying to start up, initially, from a stop, a slight incline that is icy or slippery.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited March 2011
    I can't comment on "the fairly common "stuck" situation wherein you're trying to start up, initially, from a stop, a slight incline that is icy or slippery" for a simple reason that MY Highlander never got stuck in this situation and started moving with ease. As a matter of fact MY Highlander didn't get stuck even once since the time I purchased it back in 2008.

    I can see that you have wast theoretical knowledge about AWD but it worth zilch to me. I'm not a Toyota transmission engineer to go over AWD design implementation, it's shortcomings and advantages. Toyota doesn't engineer and manufacture vehicles that are "DANGEROUS" too drive (at list no one was able to get any credible proof too this date). You'll have very hard time finding a second Gen Highlander owner being unhappy with it's AWD performance under severe weather conditions. You on the contrary never bothered to drive the vehicle and trying to prove that it has inferior design based purely on your own theoretical conclusions. Real life experience proves you wrong! Read here:!make=Toyota&model=Highlander&e- - - - - - - d_makeindex=.f21ebcd
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sorry, but is well understood that FWD vehicles and F/awd vehicles are patently dangerous to life and limb on an adverse, slippery, roadbed. That's why TDC is so important and has become horribly aggressive, it needs to be in order to sunstantually lower the potential for an accident resulting from loss of directional control.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    Any car is dangerous on "an adverse, slippery, roadbed". Any 4WD/AWD/FWD design has it's limits. You can go over this hundred of times but Highlander AWD works well in real life. Read here:!make=Toyota&model=Highlander&e- d_makeindex=.f21ebcd
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