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Is The 400H Actually Worth The Premium Over The 350?


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Depending on dealer I'm seeing between £6k to £10k difference between SE-L models of the RX350 and RX400h...

Vehicles are within a year of each other ish and similar miles ish

So I have to sit back and wonder is it really worth the extra?

Going to have to drive carefully to get anywhere close to the claimed MPG on the Hybrid and cover some serious mileage to warrant the price gap.

Of course if I toe the 350 a lot it will eat the fuel too...

Also, correct me if I'm wrong but with the 350 there seems to be simply less to go wrong without the obvious wizardry of the hybrid system.

Is the 350 really such a lesser in demand car? My concern is the depreciation on the 350 will be/is much more severe.

I'd be interested in hearing other members thoughts on this as I'd like to buy smart!

Thanks in advance.

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OK, simple start.

I own a 400h, I see a regular 32mpg with only mild restraint. I have seen (holding back to 60mph) on a 250 mile run an amazing 37mpg! I have repeated that, so it is possible. Better though (once you get into the slightly different mindset of Hybrid driving) is the constant 28mpg around the city I live. I have a 1600 petrol Mini for such work & it can't better that.

Fuel will continue to rise in price, if only through artificial tax rises - another 5p per litre is going on early in 2012.

So, if mid 20's is OK with you buy a 350, the price difference will buy a lot of fuel.

The Hybrid stuff needs virtually zero care & in other parts of the world has substantially better warranties than here in the UK. That tells me two things, 1, even Lexus subscribes to rip off Britain, 2, they know more about the reliability than they will tell us - no manufacturer warrants something to last 100,000 miles unless they are damn sure it will do it!

The only downside of a 400h is the "initialisation battery" goes flat if the car is left standing for a couple of weeks - a booster box is needed to start, but not to turn over, the hybrid Battery does that! Weird!

As you correctly point out though depreciation is the killer & it's why there's such a large price difference on the forecourts atm. That will only get worse over time as Hybrids are being released by most major manufacturers. Ask yourself a simple question.

"If petrol goes through £1.50 per litre how many people will buy a large 3.5 petrol SUV?"

You see, the Lexus 350 is a great car - however, if you plan/need to sell one it's less great & that will get worse over then the next few years.

Sadly, with Hybrids, Electric cars, Range Extenders & soon Hydrogen powered vehicles coming out (even the next line in London Routemaster buses will be Range Extenders (a small petrol engine driving a generator only to charge the main batteries for the electric drive train) from 2012) the writing is on the wall for the large petrol engine.

Many moved to Diesel, Toyota offered Hybrid instead - more civilised! However CO2 & Fuel prices have determined that even though these are getting better every month the future will lie elsewhere - hydrogen probably (here's my new car, it goes like a bomb!). I wouldn't be an early adopter though, prices will fall, tech will improve & ownership quality will improve.

Ownership of either 350 or 400h will cost you at some point, but I guess if you worried deeply about either choice you wouldn't just "buy smart" you'd buy a Smart - probably Diesel too! :-)

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If you plan to keep it for a while and you're not a business user it's best to go for the large petrol engined cars as they are ridiculously cheap and you can do amazing deals on them (because the dealers can't shift them)

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I took the plunge. Bought a sweet 350 se-l with 28k miles earlier today. 2007 reg. Got a good trade in on my mini cooper s too. Going to chop it in just under a year for a 450h.

Gone from mini to maxi lol

Cant wait to pick it up in a week!

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  • 4 months later...

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