Last post on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:33 AM
You are in the Lexus RX 400h
What is this discussion about?
Lexus RX 400h, Hybrid Cars, Car Buying, SUV
#61 of 100 Why does a hybrid have to be an economy car?
Aug 08, 2005 (2:55 pm)
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.
#62 of 100 Re: Why does a hybrid have to be an economy car? [idele]
Aug 08, 2005 (5:13 pm)
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.
#63 of 100 Happy, Happy Owner
Aug 23, 2005 (11:10 am)
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.
#64 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [mkkid]
Sep 14, 2005 (2:06 pm)
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?
#65 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [hylyskeptical]
Sep 15, 2005 (2:37 am)
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.)
#66 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [hylyskeptical]
Sep 15, 2005 (3:56 am)
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!
#67 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [markatty]
Sep 15, 2005 (7:27 am)
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
#68 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [hylyskeptical]
Sep 15, 2005 (7:58 am)
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.
#69 of 100 Re: Happy, Happy Owner [markatty]
Sep 27, 2005 (11:39 am)
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.
Mar 15, 2006 (6:00 pm)
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 Iím 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 í05 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 donít 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.