Based on 111,000 happy miles (so far) in a 2008 Lexus RX400h, we bought the new one, which now has about 2,700 miles, half on longer road trips. Many features have been updated, mostly good but a few ...
Based on 111,000 happy miles (so far) in a 2008 Lexus RX400h, we bought the new one, which now has about 2,700 miles, half on longer road trips. Many features have been updated, mostly good but a few not for the better.
While the cabin design is good overall, we think the interior storage space between the front seats is better in the 400, which has more usable cubbyholes and caches. The nav screen, a motorized pop-up in the 400, is now sunken deep into the dash; my wife, who is shirt, cannot see the bottom of it, which is cut off by the "tunnel." Also, the rear wheel wells in the 400 were squared off, allowing for better carrying capacity of odd-shaped cargo; the 450's rear section has rounded wheel coverings, which cut into cross-car capacity for beach umbrellas, kayak paddles, etc., which we usually lay n behind the rear seat.
Also, the radio/nav system is definitely more logical to use in the 400. The 450 uses the joystick and pointer vs. the 400's touch screen; preference is a matter of choice. The 450's radio controls are a pain, too complex and defy logic; however, the nav screen can be split to show the radio or CD selection with the map, which is an improvement. The quality of sound is excellent, and the cabin is noticeably quieter in the 450 than in the 400. One "de-contenting": there's only a single-CD player vs. the 6-CD changer in the 400 (my wife likes that; I could care less). There is now a USB port for iPods and other digital media.
Our mileage in the 400 varies from 22 MPG in city driving in winter to 30 in summer on flat 55mph roads over extended periods. It takes id-grade, although premium is required. The 450 takes regular, and has thus far averaged 27 MPG and is expected to improve. Handling is similar in both cars, although the 450 is slightly larger in every dimension and feels noticeably bigger. There is no sense of where the front fender corners are from the interior seating; we're still learning that. Luckily, there is an automatic warning system which is quite effective if a bit conservative. The 450 is also perhaps an inch higher off the ground than the 400, making our beach driving during the summer somewhat improved.
The seats are very comfortable, although my wife and I both think they are a little "tighter" than the 400. However, the interior is beautiful and a bit plusher than the 400; we got the "claret" (maroon) exterior paint with the beige interior - the combination draws compliments.
In all, we feel that we found the best car overall for our needs - a combination of luxury, efficiency and good mileage with reduced emissions thanks to the hybrid drive. Quality costs, of course, but our 400 has shown it to be worth the price. We hope to get 250,000 miles out of each of these vehicles.