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So over the last few weeks I have been test driving everything that has four wheels, an engine and some seats.

A year ago I test drove a 2013 RX 450h and both my wife and I loved it.  Hence I thought that I would replace aging but perfectly fit for purpose IS250 with a RX 450 somewhere along the long.  My son would then inherit my IS250, free of charge.

Having just retired I thought now is that time to change.  Wanted a petrol and hybrid if possible.

There are two of us and now a 6 month old puppy.

Test drove a RX 450h from a garage nearby.  Hated it.  Realised it was too big by a large amount.  Whilst the model we drove wasn't great it had 63k miles and £13995 was the price.  Had looked at others higher priced but this one was a bit of a dog in my mind.  Lesson learnt - buy from someone who loves their RX 450h and treats it accordingly.

Tried a Mazda CX3 (too small), Mazda 3 (meh) and CX5 (too big again).......nice enough cars but not that comfortable inside.  Nothing startling to be honest.  A bit noisy as well.

Tried a Honda CRV.  Nice enough but slow and I'm not yet ready for my slippers and flat cap driving.  Quiet and comfortable but again nothing startling.  The dealer we test drove the Honda at had a spotless Lexus 600h for £17k and 82k miles.  Was so tempted.

Tried a Honda HRV.  See above.  Lots of boot space for the size.

The Hyundai Kona was next.  Nice enough car but small engine.  Hyundai Tucson was too big.  Ioniq was rejected by the wife as being ugly.  IX35 only diesel options really.

Lexus CT200h....I liked it.  A class above everything else on comfort, style, lay out.  But too small in the back for the dog and a wee but too slow.

Thought about Audi A3, BMW series 1 or 2 but rejected due to overpriced and not getting much for your money.  Looked at VW but again you need a lot of money to get a decent spec. Briefly flirted with Peugeot, Kia, etc but nothing said....choose me.

Had a chat about what we realy needed from a car and then we decided that it was my wife's car we need to change and not my Lexus.  She has a two door Toyota Corolla T sport.  Really nice car but in no way fits what we need.  So it will go.

Then went to the garage that is actually closest to our house......a Suzuki dealer.  We test drove a 2017 Vitara and a 2017 SX4 S-cross.  Both had all the gadgets you could want.  Both were a revelation, both very similar size, one with a 1.6 normal petrol engine, one with a 1.4 boosterjet turbo.  Both were very confortable, cruised easily at 70mph.  We test drobe the SX4 Scross for a day and drove it hard and long.....motorway, A and B roads.  Just kept coming back for more.  It also had 4 wheel drive which will help if we get the snow returning in June.  It had all the gadgets and I mean all of them...adaptive cruise control, panoramic roof, 4 wheel drive, reversing camera, 7 inch touch screen, all round parking sensors, leather seats, good economy.

Interesting process trying all these cars and seeing what their strenghts and weaknesses are.

Bought it for £11500 and 33k miles on it, three years free servicing, 1 years warranty and breakdown cover.  Wife loves it.

 

So I will change my IS250 for a NX next year sometime when they come down in price.

 

 

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Congratulations on your new car purchase! The journey towards a new car purchase is always fun (in my experience anyway). We are picking up our new, preowned RX450h tomorrow from Lexus Stoke. We drove a Porsche Cayenne (eHybrid) and a Q7 along the way but the 2020 RX450h we settled on was simply the best in terms of comfort and drive. Some great tech in it too. Will be a great family car for the next 5 - 10 years all being well. 

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Yes, the Vitara is a good car. Daughter's car was playing up, so she was looking to spend about £5000 on a replacement. To improve the quality and help her into a later car, and to save me spannering, I added the same amount. But I was to choose! As mentioned, it has all the gadgets she needs. More importantly, under bonnet space is huge, with every part that may need replacement in the future easy to get at. And, it drives beautifully. 

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Hello Ken.  Fascinating to be taken through your car buying journey.  No surprise to some of us that you decide to keep your Lexus and change your wife's car. 🙂

As it happens, the Suzuki is an excellent choice.  Some years ago my wife had an early Vitara 4x4 which coincided with a very snowy winter and proved an outstanding performer during business trips around the North of England.  On retiring she decided she would have the same again.  But on visiting a Suzuki dealer she discovered that the latest version had grown substantially - and she doesn't like big cars.  Fortunately standing next to it was a  smaller offering called the SX4.  As the memorably named Suzuki SX4 SZ5, it has served her reliably for the last 12 years and she has resisted all suggestions to change it for the latest version.

These days I think this is a marque that deserves wider recognition.  Mind you, much depends on the dealer network.  The dealer we bought it from turned out to be rubbish at servicing it.  And the dealer we found that has been providing excellent service for the last 11 years...closed down last year - a victim of slow Covid-19 sales!

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We went through a similar process to replace my wife's RX 300. We ended up with a Seat Ateca 190hp 4 drive tdi. 0 - 60 in 7.3 seconds and averages 40 mpg and handles superbly. Obviously not as nicely finished as a lexus, but in terms of all round performance, we're delighted. It's not as big or heavy as the RX, but that's fine. Myself, I don't miss the Lexus at all.

 

Pete

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7 minutes ago, plastic orange said:

We went through a similar process to replace my wife's RX 300. We ended up with a Seat Ateca 190hp 4 drive tdi. 0 - 60 in 7.3 seconds and averages 40 mpg and handles superbly. Obviously not as nicely finished as a lexus, but in terms of all round performance, we're delighted. It's not as big or heavy as the RX, but that's fine. Myself, I don't miss the Lexus at all.

 

Pete

There are other good cars out there. If I moved away from Lexus, it would probably be a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or Corolla Estate Hybrid. Looking at the prices of RX450h's they are on the high side, even for older vehicles.

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