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New Lexus RX 400h Owners - Give Us Your Report



  • ideleidele Posts: 200
    I own an RX400h. It is an excellent luxury performance vehicle. If fuel economy was paramount, which seems to be the sole criterium of many of the preceding posters, I would have bought a Prius. But I want luxury and performance and that requires a different car than the Prius. In fact, mpg performance of my RX400h is at least 25% better than my previous car when driven in the same gas and brakes style. Adapting my driving style to taking advantage of the hybrid drive adds another 10 % improvement in mpg. I regard the improvement in fuel economy purely as a bonus and, even without the better mpg, the RX400h, with the usual Lexus attention to detail and execution, is a joy to own.
  • I agree with you! Without effort, and I'm sure there is plenty for me to learn about driving it, I'm getting about 35 percent better mpg than our RX 300. I was coasting a lot and almost never braking. Now I'm finding that if I brake more I'm actually getting better mileage--or maybe the car is breaking in. I'm not sacrificing comfort or acceleration at the moment.
  • mkkidmkkid Posts: 11
    Have 4k on my 400h and couldn't be happier. Averaged 27.5 for first 1500 miles of mostly hwy and mnt. driving, but was disappointed in city (25ish on short, cold runs with a/c on). Then read guidelines for EPA city test and tried to duplicate. No a/c, 12 miles avg. 20mph and 5 min at idle is how they do it. I drove 16 miles, little higher avg speed and probably 3-4 min at idle ("no gas or electric draw"). My avg: 33.5 and it stayed above 30 for next 10+ miles. My test at 2500 ft. elevation in 75 degree weather. This car is without a doubt the most enjoyable vehicle I've ever driven. Don't like the minor "thunk" sound and feel when the ICE kicks in. I did have one concern that happened on slow driving (dozens of stops in 2-3 miles) when I began getting a loud click noise from the rear whenever I hit the brake. This continued for another few miles then when I braked and stayed hard on the brake peddle, I got a "whooshing" sound from the engine area. After resuming highway driving, all "problems" disappear and never returned. :)
  • I'm getting nowhere near the mileage you are.

    We own an '04 RX330 and an '06 400h and we're (my wife and I collectively) averaging a paltry 22MPG on the 400h over some 3K miles. This is according to the Lexus computer, not my own computation. I tried driving for a while with the AC off, and got up to 24.5MPG in mostly Highway driving. Over the same driving conditions the RX 330 gets around 17MPG. So my net gain for $9K is 5MPG. Yuk.

    Given 15k miles per year, and $4/gallon it will take me 12 years to break even!

    While I like the tranny and the pep of the 400h, and I like pulling into the garage silently, and I LOVE my lexus dealer (hence the his and hers RXs), I don't care for the bait and switch with the mileage -- the EPA estimate is 33/27 and I'm unable to touch that even with very careful driving (downhill).

    Any thoughts about what I might be doing wrong?

  • Maximizing mileage on the highway is tougher in that wind resistance particularly over 70 mpg is always going to kill your mileage. For my present tank of gas I'm getting 29.7 mpg on mostly highway driving. Some things that might help is to set the center screen to the consumption screen on trip info and watch the bar on the right (of course while keeping your eyes on the road :) its bigger than the same info under the steering wheel display. What you want are 5 minute mpg averages above your present averages. Some ways to get this:

    Keep the car under 70 mph
    Try not to accelerate up hill, accelerate downhill and coast or let up going up hill
    Don't tailgate, try to leave as much space as possible ahead so you don't have to brake and then accelerate
    Do coast up or lightly brake for as long as possible when approaching slower traffic.
    Long/downhill exit ramps are a great place to recharge the battery. Brake for as long as possible, even starting back on the highway if no one is behind you. Braking from high speed even gently puts the kw meter deep in the recharge zone.
    Switch to open lanes when your lane slows so you won't have to accelerate to get back to speed.
    Use small dips and down grades to coast or to build up speed to minimize acceleration up hills.
    If you are busy or don't want to monitor your driving use cruise control.

    Now this may sound like boring granny driving, but I find its fun. It gives me something to think about on my commute and each 5 minutes is a new challenge. (Lexus should have a 1 minute mode to reallly monitor driving.) I drive in the fast lane, which in the NYC burbs is 65 - 75 mph, which gets me there fast and I think actually helps mileage since it generally isn't as congested as the other lanes giving more room for coasting and planning.

    I'm still working on whether firm acceleration using the electrics for a short period with very bad mpg is better than slower acceleration with little or no electrics and only bad mpg. (Personally I like to watch the electrics kick in.) Also wondering if anything is gained by by braking even harder when the kw needle is already full max. (I don't think so, just more regular brakes, but it does sound like there is more whine from the generators.)

    Having said all this if you are driving at a fixed, high speed on a flat highway in hot weather, like the NY Times did when they "reviewed" the hybrid your mileage is not going to be much better. Its only when you can use the hybrid's advantage in changing road conditions that mileage get's significantly better. If you drive the hybrid the same as your regular car, much of the hybrid's advantages will disappear. Driving like a hybrid driver for a couple of weeks and most of these things you'll do without thinking. (I find myself doing long slow braking in my wife's Audi.)

    Good luck.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    You should have taken an extended test drive, reset the mileage and drive like you normally do. I actually did that with a Prius and was satisfied with the mileage I achieved. I realize that the RH does get a few MPG better than the RX, but it is not worth the premium. I'd suggest you sell it now since it is a good market at this point. You may be surprised and get most of your money back. Good luck!
  • mirexmirex Posts: 68
    I agree with your analysis and recommendations. I have 6500 miles on my 400h and mathamaticly. am averaging 26.9 mpg. On my last 3 trips between Seattle and Portland I have averaged 30.0 mpg. I noticed an increase in mpg after 5000 miles.

    My present tank includes driving from Portland to Seattle plus 5 days of mixed city highway driving and registers at 29.0 on the navigation screen. I generally find that this reading is reduced by about .2 when dividing the miles by the gallons used.

    I am averaging about 6 mpg better than on my 2003 RX300. I did not purchase my 400h with the idea that the extra mpg would pay for the increased price. I do, however, like the fact that I am using less gas and am more friendly to the environment.

    A friend of mine who lives in Vancouver, Washington wanted to buy the 400h. His work place is about 5 minutes from his house and he takes numerous short trips each day. I talked him into buying the RX330 as it is better suited to his driving pattern. He is quite happy with his RX330. The 400h is not the car for everyone. Individuals should do a lot of research as to what the 400h does and will do. Several test drives of both short and longer trips would help in the decision.

    I would buy my 400h again, but I knew what I would be getting before I made my purchase
  • mkkidmkkid Posts: 11
    No two people drive the same way and I admit I am obsessed with fuel economy. On relatively flat roads I use cruise control which shuts off ICE on the slightest downhill stretch. Even on level stretches at 55-65 I see the electric come on for a few seconds along with the ICE. When this happens you can see the "instant" section of the 5-min display jump 5-10 mpg. Every little bit helps! My current trip has covered nearly 5000 miles and the a/c has been on 95% of the time. I have to admit that my wife's driving style differs greatly from me (normal to fast acceleration) and I see a drop in our mpg meter after she has driven. On interstate hwys I usually stay in right lane at or below speed limit to avoid having to pass cars which affects mileage. I see no point in speeding, especially if it gets me to my destination earlier than necessary. You said your 400h is rated at 33/27; mine is 31/27. Try this: find a 20+ mile stretch of relatively level highway. Start out with a hot engine, reset your mpg meter, use cruise. Drive one way at 60mph and note mpg and turn around (reset meter) and drive back at the same speed.Note new mpg and then avg. both mpg figs. This should give you an accurate mpg assessment. :)
  • Great list!

    I differ with you on a couple of things:

    1. Never accelerate in downhill, but engage the gas pedal lightly so that it won't charge the battery, thus the SUV rolls longer....

    2. Tailgating an 18-wheeler would do wonder for your gas mileage, but it may do less wonder for your well-being and insurance. LOL

    I saw a gas mileage improvement past 5,000 miles... I am now at more than 8,000 miles and presently have 29.9mpg on the read-out for the last ~800miles.

    Here is good tip:
    When driving at steady speed, look at the left gauge (power KW output) and adjust the gas pedal so that the needle on the gauge is about one-needle thick above the "0" section.

    The "0" section is the section where you have a bunch of parallel lines. Be one needle thick ABOVE it, at steady speed. This yields optimum mpg on my 400h. This requires a different driving mentality. you wont drive at fast speed but you will drive at pretty good speed and get pretty good gas mileage. I would generally speed above this point to get the speed, then drop back to one-needle-above for steady speed.
  • I have 1000 miles on the "H" car. (as my family refers to it)
    The car is the smoothest and is really a "bat out of hell" at the traffic lights. The gas milage is 27 around town . No big highway trips yet, but I'll report on this later on in the year. The navigation has a slow learning curve. I have put a few hours into the study of its behavior and I really like it a lot. The voice recognition stinks, but I believe if enough owners complain to Lexus, a fix will become available. Otherwise it can navigate through the most complicated of
    gated communities where every street is 200 yds long and twist and turns constantly.

    I wish I knew how everything in this car works with regard to when the ice kicks in and when both motors will operate. I watch the graphic and it is quit a show. My old rx300 is still a good car after 172k miles and it is used as the 2nd auto for the family. I think it will last forever.
  • varixvarix Posts: 72
    We traded in our 10 mpg Land Cruiser for a 400h we had ordered in December this last weekend (waited until after the new year to get the better tax break for hybrids). I am gonna love even 25 mpg when compared to the Land Cruiser's miserable mileage. I really enjoy the sounds the 400h makes particularly when running on electric. It reminds me of the high pitched hum I heard on some of the rides at Disney World like the People Mover. A rather pleasant memory actually! But i must say the telemetrics and tech gizmos are a full generation behind my Infiniti M35X's. Lexus really needs to update the nav access to voice input for at least addresses and the phone should clearly be voice activated. A satellite radio option should have been on it at inception not a year later (February I hear) My Lexus rep said my Treo 650 wouldn't couple but 2 minutes on the web at home and I had clear instructions on how to do it. Why don't the dealers check out some of the forums on their own cars I don't know. My dealer also knew nothing of the new energy bill's tax credits for hybrids. All they did was mention that the old one was expiring and tried to push me to buy it before year end. Enjoying the SUV but the dealer could've been more informed about their own product.
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    I was also amazed that the salespeople did not go online and see what was happening in the forums, altho we do have a couple who regularly post. My sales man did know that the treo could be used with the 400h, altho it did take online help to get the phone book transfered. Bottom line i think the salespeople are focused on selling cars and have their own systems that make them successful. I know the 400h will be more reliable than your land cruiser with more power better dealers, and the economy u mentioned.
  • hilandr05hilandr05 Posts: 18
    There are so many things I like about my RX400h that I have to think a little about what I like best. With only 500 miles on the odometer here are my thoughts.

    Of course I like it when I am stopped in traffic and the engine is not running. Since I spend too much time commuting in Miami traffic this is wonderful. So far, 28 MPG, and I am trying not to use all that power.

    Speaking of power, that is great for merging on I95 and a few other places, but I have to be careful because it is so easy to quickly be going over 80 and negating the fuel economy capability.

    The luxury features are great. The driver memory will be more significant when I let someone else drive it. The tracking headlights are a nice gimmick. The remote window opening will be great in the steamy south Florida summer. The rain sensing wipers may be interesting when I see them in operation. Headlight washers may never get used. The NAV would sure be nice to have, but I already have a Garmin 396. And I’m glad I found what I wanted without the faux wood steering wheel as the standard is much better for me.

    The ride and handling are good, but not that much different from the ’05 Highlander I had before. It is exceptionally quiet at low speeds. My sister, who has a Prius, warns that we need to be especially careful of pedestrians. If they cannot hear you, they are more likely to do something hazardous. The tire road noise is more than I expected, but that is very dependent on road surface and condition.

    So when all is said and done I have to say that my favorite feature is the exceptionally smooth transmission. The VCT has no shift points so it is just wonderful, both accelerating and decelerating with no hesitations, no variation at all. This is particularly good compared to the Highlander, with very noticeable shift points that sometimes take away from the comfort of the driving experience.

    What don’t I like, besides the cost? See my separate post on a little noise problem. Other than that, the only significant dislike is the lack of visibility of the control labels on the center console in low light conditions. At night, the backlighting works well. In full daylight, they are readily visible. But in twilight conditions they are hard to read.

    jc :)
  • Well I'm quite surprised by my h. I have owned a 2001 RX300 and a 2004 RX330 previously. The 400h may look the same but this is a different animal.This a further step up the ladder from either of these two.The RX400h is quieter, smoother, rides better and altogether better built. It just has a more solid feel to it.It maybe my imagination, but the leather is a finer quality. Even the paint job is better. Its also ever so slightly longer and of course weighs more.My only negative is the front windsheild has a lighter tint than my 330 had. My general impression is this car is over engineered and it shows.
  • Since I used this site to help me make up my mind on whether or not to buy a 400h, I think it is only right to give someone else the benefit of what my experience with the 400h has been.

    I bought mine on Aug. 28. Today is Sept. 20, so I have had it less than a month and have around 500 miles on it.

    First, the ride is unbelievable. It is so quiet. When you "start" the SUV, you hear nothing because you are running on the batteries. Then as you accelerate, the engine kicks in with no noise or motion. It is so seamless, I am amazed. Some of the reviews say that it is more noisy than the non-hybrid 350. There is only one time when you ever get more noise than a non-hybrid, and that is if you accelerate from a very slow speed quickly - in other words, when you "floor it". The reason you get more noise is that the engine doesn't shift at set intervals as it does with regular transmissions. You never feel a "shift" with the Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission (ECVT); however, the ECVT does allow the engine to rev up more in the situation I noted above. That being said, I have found that I never need to accelerate in a manner that causes this extra noise. If you accelerate at a good but not racy rate, you will not experience this extra noise. The bottom line is: this is the quietest vehicle I have ever been in, so don't let the noise comments concern you.

    The ECVT is also amazing. There is no shifting, ever. The acceleration is great - even when you use the approach I mention above. The 400H is rated as a 4.0 liter engine which is comparable to a V-8.

    The mileage that I have gotten at 6,500 feet above sea level with the air conditioning on is: 26.5 MPG in town and 27.5 MPG on the highway at 75 to 80 MPH. It's not what is on the sticker; but to have a luxury SUV with the power of a V-8, I am very happy. I do notice that by watching the console screen which shows the interaction of the engine, the batteries, and the electric motors, I can drive in a manner to improve the mileage. In other words, when I first got the car, in town, I was doing 25.5 MPG. By just concentrating on how I coast and brake, I am now at 26.5 MPG. Also, if you wanted to go 65 MPH on the highway, I believe you would do much better than 27.5 MPG. The first day that I drove from my house to work which was generally in a downhill route on a city highway about 8 miles, I got 51.3 MPG.

    My only complaint to date is no one at the dealership or at Lexus seems to know much about the voice activated commands that you can use. In this regard, I have found out that there are several difference between the 2006 models (version 4) and the 2007 models (version 5). It appears that this is a work in progress and they continue to improve the features each year. On the 2006, the voice activation commands don't work with the Bluetooth cell phone interface. However, I still enjoy the Bluetooth feature. The reception in the car is very good for both you and the other party. When you get in the car, the Bluetooth connects automatically. Once it connects, you are hands free. I also find there are more steps that you have to go through to use the guidance system than on the Garmin system I am used to. However, this is just a case of getting used to it. The guidance system does have some features that the Garmin doesn't have.

    The other negative mentioned in the reviews is the extra cost, but if you buy before the end of September, the research I have done indicates I'll get a $2,200 federal tax credit and a $3,443 Colorado State tax credit. Credits come directly off of your taxes - they're better than deductions which were given in 2005 I believe. That more than offsets the extra cost over a RX350 - even before you start talking about gas savings. If you are going to buy after September, you'll have to do your own research - I believe things could change then.

    My bottom line: this is an unbelievable engineering marvel. I look forward to driving it every day.
  • One other thing I forgot to mention. If you are concerned about the hybrid technology reliability, the entire hybrid system is covered by a 100,000 mile or eight year warranty. Also, for under $2,500, I covered everything else, other than maintenance items, for 100,000 miles. These luxury vehicles have a lot of gadgets, and this gives someone who wants to keep the SUV for a long time some piece of mind.
  • Question - did they change the gas octane from regular to premium?

    My 2007 manual calls for 91 min.
  • Mileage Update - Over the last 460 miles, my average MPG is now 28.2 MPG. This is probably 50/50 in town verse highway driving. So the information about the mileage getting better as the engine brakes in seems to be true. :)
  • njedinjedi Posts: 1
    I'm extremely happy with my RX400H. My only wish is that the vehicle were more quite. There seems to be alot of Road and Wind Noise. I'm looking to replace the tires hoping that might fix it. My gut tells me there needs to be more sound proofing on the vehicle floor as most of the noise is coming from below the vehicle. This problem is only present at highway speeds.
  • About a month I got my RX400H and have not complaints whatsoever. I used to love my 96 V8 Chevy truck but so far I haven't had a chance to miss my truck. I am loving so much that I already have about 1300 miles on it. I have now averaging 24.4 MPG with about 75% city driving.

    What is meant with "when ICE kicks in"?

    Sorry I am new here. :)
  • roycrawfroycrawf Posts: 4
    "ICE" is Internal Combustion Engine, the engine in you car that uses gasoline.
  • brent99brent99 Posts: 19
    Everytime you turn on the car, the navigation gives you a lawyeristic "I agree" screen. I'd like to find the guy behind that screen and re-assign him to GM for life. It makes me want to drill my own eyes out.

    Other than that, the best car on the market in its class.
  • brent99brent99 Posts: 19
    Its an SUV. Most of the time, there is more than one person in the car. The passenger should be able to override and use nav while the driver drives. *(^%(*%^*(&^*& lawyers. Just put your stupid "I agree" screen there if you must.
  • texamau1texamau1 Posts: 42
    I can play mp3 (all 6 of them) in my 07 RX400h :) I agreed with you about not have an Aux input :(
  • Hi-
    I also live in Chicago and was wondering what your overall experience has been so far.
    -How was the handling in the snow? Did you continue to get good mileage?
    -Have you needed any repairs? Are they more costly than a conventional car?
    So confused, it seems the more I read the more confused I become. :blush:
  • ksrpksrp Posts: 11
    Took one out for a test drive. My first time driving a RX400 hybrid.

    Heard a fairly noticeable high pitched whine as I slowed down at lights. Is this to be expected always?

    Tried to avoid accelerating after starting from a light to see when the switch over from electric to ICE takes place. Noticed that it would take place at right around 10-20 mph. Is that normal?

    Not sure about this but my recollection of the RX350 test drive is that engine noise was lower on that vehicle. Does that sound right?

    Reading through the posts on this forum, I will admit I don't know yet how to interpret the electric/hybrid gauges to describe what state the battery was in when I took it out and whether that explains the whine and cut-over behavior.

    Would like to hear feedback from 400h owners.
  • When will Lexus provide the Blue tec diesel with their hybrid. Then we'll get REAl mileage. In the USA we brag about mileage that they laugh at in Europe. Get serious. You guys would buy anything.....that you saw your neighbor buy , that is. Far to expensive for next to nothing in return.
  • chance8chance8 Posts: 4
    I've got about 760 miles now on the '08 RX400h. Previous cars were the Prius 2002-2004, then the Infiniti FX35 2004-2008. This Lexus soothes my conscience while allowing me to enjoy the luxury to which I've become accustomed. (See separate posts about suggested improvements to the Lexus.) Because I drove the Prius for 2 years, I'm familiar with the feel of regenerative braking and electric/ICE transitions. Glad I've learned on these forums that the initial gas mileage improves with age. Right now I'm at 24.5mpg and shooting for 25.

    We have the technology: every car sold in this country should be a hybrid. Somehow, this one is the only option in a luxury vehicle.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    The high-pitched whine that you heard while using the brakes on
    the RX400 is tied into the regenerative braking. I noticed it when
    driving a few hybrid 400h loaner cars through Lexus. That was one of the few things I was not crazy about on the hybrid. That, and I had to get used to the CVT trannie as opposed to the regular tranny on the RX350.
  • Hello all you RX400H owners:

    I'm thinking of buying one myself. I was wondering when is a good time to buy in consideration to when the next years's model might be coming out? So far I've heard sometime in Oct/Nov?? Also, has anyone any idea what the durability of the hybrid battery is? I heard there are two rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries? The dealer I spoke to says there is a 8 yr/100,000 limited warranty and each battery replacement after the warranty is $1600 a piece not including labor. Total cost is $3200. Does this negate the fuel economy in the end? Can anyone shed some light on this? Thank you.
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