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RX 300 vs RX 400h reliability


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Hi all,

I'm looking at RX 300 and RX 400h examples (all without air suspension) from 2004-2006 and I can't decide which version I should buy.

The RX300 non hybrid is rarer than the RX400h in my preferred price range here in the Netherlands.

But I am a little bit anxious to buy a hybrid of that age, because I feel more can go wrong with it than with the 'simpler' pure petrol version. 

Any insights and tips are welcome.

 

 

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Hi Mike,

I suppose it becomes more likely that the traction Battery may need to be rebuilt or replaced unless this has been already done with a hybrid of that age.  Also, there is more to go wrong on the hybrid model, although they seem to be generally reliable.  Another important factor is the mileage the car has covered already and how many miles you are likely to do a year.  Perhaps you could say a little about your intended use and what the respective price range is of the models in the Netherlands and the sort of mileages you would be looking at. 

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Hi Barry, thanks for your answer.

The car will be used as our second car, my wife will do most of the driving in it. We expect to drive it around 4.000 miles a year.

Our budget is 7.000 to 9.000 euros, so around 7.000 pounds. For these amounts you get circa 190.000/240.000 km (130k/150k miles) examples here in the Netherlands.

I have a feeling that RX 300's will still be doing OK at these mileages. I haven't found any RX 400h's with the traction Battery replaced or rebuilt until now, not for my budget anyway.

So, non-hybrid is the way to go I guess?

 

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At only 4000 miles a year you may have problems with the 12V Battery going flat in the 400h as they don't take kindly to being stood around for any length of time. Probably best to go for a 300 instead.

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Thank you Herbie. Yet another reason for me to prefer the regular 300.

This means my search for the right car will be a little bit harder though. Until now I found much more 400h than 300's within my budget. Reading more and more on the subject I am starting to think there seem to be obvious reasons for that.

 

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Hi, I’ve never had a problem with starting my 400h .. and I lift a
My mobility scooter in and out daily with an Autochair arm everyday.. 400h has better fuel economy too.. I get 32mpg


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Hi Jason,

I'm a bit frightened to buy a 400h, what about the inverter, for example? The hybrid system is supposed to last for 10 years at the least, so it feels a bit scary to buy a 13 years old one. My budget doesn't allow any newer cars. Is there a big risk in buying an 'old' hybrid? Will it be really expensive to repair if the system goes wrong? What should I look for to avoid buying a bad example?

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6 hours ago, ISJason said:

Hi, I’ve never had a problem with starting my 400h .. and I lift a
My mobility scooter in and out daily with an Autochair arm everyday

Therein lies your answer Ja. It's when they've not moved for a while that the problem arises, such as being left in the airport car park for two weeks while away on holiday and the owner comes back to a flat Battery.

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50 minutes ago, TesLex said:

Hi Jason,

I'm a bit frightened to buy a 400h, what about the inverter, for example? The hybrid system is supposed to last for 10 years at the least, so it feels a bit scary to buy a 13 years old one. My budget doesn't allow any newer cars. Is there a big risk in buying an 'old' hybrid? Will it be really expensive to repair if the system goes wrong? What should I look for to avoid buying a bad example?

There will inevitably come a time when the traction Battery begins to fail but so far it's rare, which would suggest that their 'end of life' hasn't been reached yet. Even when they do fail it's rare for the whole unit to go at once and individual cells or blocks of cells can be bought from eBay to swap out the faulty ones, or you could have someone like Richard at http://www.hybridbatterysolutions.co.uk/prices-and-services/ to rebuild/replace the whole pack.

As for the inverter, they seem to be fairly robust and I wouldn't worry about it failing but again, if it did, a secondhand one will be available from the Bay of Fleas.

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Hi. Mines a 2007 RX and the traction Battery still shows full green bars . You should not have a problem as long as the car is looked after. Also make sure the inverter has had its recall done that happened a few years ago.

 

 

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Thanks Herbie.

 

I found a few good RX 300's with service history. I feel more comfortable to go for one of those.

If I am correct there is just less that can go wrong with these.

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Thanks Jason, do you understand my thinking?

Isn't it just more logical for me to go for a regular petrol 300 instead? I have a choice from several 300 and 400h, all for around the same price (400h just a little bit more expensive to buy).

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If fuel economy is not your primary concern, probably the 300 is right for you. I’m just wondering aren’t the RX 300 is it even older than the 400s?


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Yes 400h is newer. Today I spoke to 2 Lexus dealers. One of them said that the 400h is as reliable as the 300. The other one even told me that 400h is more reliable because of the electric motors. The petrol engine has less work to do because of them. But this dealer confirmed that the 12V Battery may go flat once in a while, just as Herbie wrote above. At the moment I am reconsidering which one to go for.

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There are steps you can take to keep the 12V Battery in shape, such as keeping a trickle charger connected if it's parked in a garage with mains power, or even connecting one of these solar chargers if your car is kept on the driveway overnight instead of being garaged.

If the Battery did go flat then you could keep one of these in the glovebox like I do. I've not had to use it yet but I know they work well so I'm confident that it'll get me out of the mire if ever it's needed.

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Yes, a jump starter would be the solution for me, I will not put the car in my garage as it's full of stuff and I need the storage space.

I'm convinced by now that a 400h might be the better choice for me. Thanks very much again Herbie.

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On 10/26/2019 at 11:48 PM, Herbie said:

At only 4000 miles a year you may have problems with the 12V battery going flat in the 400h as they don't take kindly to being stood around for any length of time. Probably best to go for a 300 instead.

I don't agree with you Herbie. Low mileage in itself is not an issue, as long as the car is used frequently with the occasional 10-20 mile trip. You are more likely to have an issue with the 12V Battery is the car is left unused for weeks on end.

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2 minutes ago, DanD said:

I don't agree with you Herbie. Low mileage in itself is not an issue, as long as the car is used frequently with the occasional 10-20 mile trip. You are more likely to have an issue with the 12V battery is the car is left unused for weeks on end.

I think we're both half right Dan because it'll obviously depend on the age and condition of the 12V Battery. A new one will obviously hold charge longer than an old one will.

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Thanks to the both of you Dan and Herbie.

The car will be used frequently, just for short trips (say 10 miles).

Do you advise a 300 or rather a 400h for this kind of usage?

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My 2006 has never let me down. I've been meaning to replace it for years, but can't justify it as to be honest it's still pretty much brand new in and out. It's an amazing car. I do less than 5,000 miles per year and only really use at weekends for short runs. When away, I plug a solar charger into the OBD and that keeps the Battery topped up. I've never known a car to be so amazingly reliable and robust.

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Thanks 06. I'm shifting towards a 400h more and more. Went to view several 300 and 400h during the last week but until now all of them felt 'dirty'. No complete history etc, despite several stated online that the history was complete. No luck so far. Maybe I should raise my budget a little.

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Update: I bought my first Lexus today! A 2006 RX 400H with 130k miles, full Lexus service history and in very good condition. I will pick it up after the weekend, after it has gotten a new MOT test. Thanks again for your help guys.

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