Spottedlaurel

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Spottedlaurel last won the day on September 28 2015

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About Spottedlaurel

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    Advanced Member

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  • First Name
    Nigel
  • Lexus Model
    RX450h Luxury
  • Year of Lexus
    2014
  • UK/Ireland Location
    Norfolk
  • Interests
    Classic Cars

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  1. Thanks all. I was really looking forward to getting the RX out to France and letting it stretch its legs, something it's not doing with me back home. If any of you are thinking about doing something similar I would thoroughly recommend it, whether it's a day-long blast to a final destination for a couple of weeks like we did this year, or a more gentle cruise around the countryside, stopping somewhere different each night. To make it a full-on driving holiday would be a little selfish, having consideration to the rest of my family, so I try to make the journey as much a part of the holiday as I can. Having something capable and enjoyable to drive adds a lot to the experience and RX was just what I wanted it to be in that regard. It's a shame how disappointing I found the petrol Avensis that I took to France last year. I'd taken our previous diesel one there four years on the trot and it was fine, and I had no issue with previous trips in the Accord and Primera. Going back to pre-children days in the '90s and early '00s I used all sorts of stuff like Datsun Sunny, Violet and Skyline and Triumph Acclaim for European road trips, going as far afield as Norway via Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden and down to the South of France over the years. The 12v fridge is a useful addition. I wouldn't say the one we got is brilliant, and it does take up a bit of space, but packing it with pre-chilled drinks and maybe an ice block or two does help keep things cool on a long journey. It's good to have a degree of self-sufficiency, whether it's to avoid high prices at motorway/autoroute services, in case of queues or delays, or to take advantage of the plentiful rest and picnic areas they have in France. I would quite happily have turned around done the same trip again the day after returning home.....
  2. One of the big factors in me getting an RX450h some six months ago was using my previous Toyota Avensis 1.8 petrol on last year's holiday. It safely and comfortably got us around, but the torque-less engine didn't cope well with four passengers and lots of luggage on the mountains and hills of France, and all the time I was driving it I kept thinking how much nicer something like a big Lexus would be. I part-exchanged the Toyota after less than a year, losing a predictably unhealthy amount, so did the experience of using the RX on this year's French holiday prove this to be worthwhile?.... In short, yes! I ended up almost doubling the mileage I've done since getting it back in February, and the intensive use of it over the two weeks of my holiday showed it to be something I'd like to keep for a good while. What follows is a bit of a review of my experience. Started off with packing the car on the hottest day of the year, ready for the start of our journey the next day. Boot didn’t appear to be quite as large as Avensis, but still took two cases, 12v fridge box and bags of food, books etc with cover pulled across and rear seats slid slightly forwards. I never like the idea of driving a long way with clobber piled-up inside the rear window and limiting visibility. Despite all the extra weight it didn't appear to squat down at the rear as all my previous cars did (normal hatchbacks and estates like Primera, Accord and Avensis). Uneventful first leg down to Newhaven straight after finishing work on Friday. After experimenting with different routes and timings we’ve settled on the night-time crossing to Dieppe, getting a few hours of sleep on the ferry and getting to France for an early start the next morning. In previous years we’re broken the journey up with an overnight stop or two and relaxed driving on the rural D-roads, but this year we had a 520-odd mile trek down to our accommodation in one day. The RX coped very well with this, of course. The 81mph speed limit and generally emptier roads meant extended use of the cruise control which was an interesting experience as it's not something I can use in Norfolk/Suffolk. It's clear that most other drivers are doing the same, setting it very close to the 130kmh limit, and the minimal difference in speed makes for a much smoother, safer drive. Possibly not as economical overall, but amusing when the downhill stretches were steep enough to shut the engine down and go into full charge mode. The engine was surprisingly audible when climbing some of the hills, but in general the ability of the hybrid and CVT to let the engine run at a slow speed made for a very relaxed drive. Much of the time on slower roads the 12v fridge made more noise than anything else. The ability to quickly pick-up speed was much appreciated when joining the fast-running autoroutes, particularly with the tight radius ‘on’ curves and generally shorter sliproads meaning that getting back into the flow needs to be done in a decisive manner. It was also much more pleasant than the Avensis to have plenty of power when driving up the steeper hills. It took us around 14 hours to cover that long drive down on the first day, with a cross-country stretch of D-road driving to get between autoroutes and various stops for food, fuel and the odd catnap. All on board found it very comfortable, with my teenage children sleeping for much of the journey and my wife finding the more upright seating position much better than the Avensis. As well as comfort levels, factors such as good visibility and large mirrors made for a stress-free experience. Some sections of the autoroute on the way down were quite rainy, and the smooth asphalt surface generated a lot of spray, but the RX always felt secure and composed. No issue with my choice of Michelin CrossClimates recently fitted to the front, if finances permit I’d like to get the rears done before winter even though the Dunlops it currently has were new when I bought it. The CVT always being in the right ‘gear’ was appreciated on unfamiliar roads, in towns, when stuck in a queue on the autoroute etc, even more so than a conventional auto with its need to kickdown. As we have done before the map was used for position finding only in conjunction with a real, printed atlas (remember them?!). In this role it worked well, it was useful to be able to see upcoming bends and road layouts, and to find petrol stations, but not be a slave to the sat-nav. I don't think it could cope with my photo opportunity stops, detours and turnarounds.... The recently-introduced, slower 50mph speed limit on D-roads was a little frustrating on the long, straight roads in the north, but less of an issue in the hilly countryside of the Tarn et Garonne department where we stayed for our fortnight. Ride and handling was ideal and even on smaller roads the RX didn’t feel too unwieldy. I find the turning circle to be surprisingly tight, useful when getting around small villages and when turning round for a random photo opportunity. When I’m on holiday I usually take a few photos of old/interesting/unusual/rubbish cars (by few I mean several hundred). The extra bit of height and visibility was certainly useful to see things worth stopping for, and my family had a comfortable place to sit in a random gateway or street while I wandered off to get a photo or two. As I hadn’t used my RX on long trips like this before I was interested to see how it would fare on economy. Lowest I remember seeing was 28-29mpg on one tankful on the way down, but with cruise control on the relatively empty, flattish northern autoroutes I more usually got 31-33. When I’d filled-up off the autoroute and driven only on D-roads at 50-odd mph then I saw 40-41mpg after as much as 60 miles – I doubt the Avensis I took last year would have done as well as that, and it really tumbled when doing 80-odd on the autoroutes or when driving in the hills and mountains. Our journey home was pretty much a repeat of the way down, but with an overnight stop in Normandy at a great B&B to delay getting back home for as long as possible. We used the Eurotunnel to get back to the UK, as timings of the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry don’t work so well for us. Driving back home on the M20/M25/A12 was as awful as it seems to be every year, with lots of queues, roadworks and much lower standards of driving. Was there anything I didn’t like, or that annoyed me after this period of intensive use? First would be the lack of a simple button to turn the A/C on/off. Only other thing of significance is the keyless entry and start/stop. I’m happy to still use a remote button to unlock, there are very few occasions where it’s less convenient to do that than touch the door handle, and there are times when it didn’t ‘start’ (i.e. go into ready mode) despite me being as careful as I can be about pressing the brake pedal when I push the start button. I don't think there's a fault, it's just my lousy co-ordination. With it being initially silent I would then sometimes try and pull away, then realise that I had no drive or PAS. The twist of a key would be much more positive.... Lexus seems to be a much less common brand in France than the UK, but then that appears to be the case with most Japanese makes. I saw a UK-registered pre-facelift RX450 on the autoroute, a French F-Sport and an RX300. There was the occasional NX, CT, RC and IS, some of them belonging to Dutch and Belgian holidaymakers. Most surprising to see was a French-registered Mk1 LS400, which I just about managed to catch on the dashcam. Didn’t see any 4th gen RX at all, whether French or British. Is there a conclusion to this review? Just that the RX happily met my expectations and, as someone who enjoys cars and driving, it made the holiday even more pleasurable for me. It was roomy, comfortable, capable and relaxing, and economy was tolerable for the performance and capabilities it offered. I can’t see that a 4th gen model would do anything much better and at the end of my PCP I will think strongly about keeping this one, even if it’s as a second car to something more economical for day-to-day use.
  3. Apart from the more basic - and rare - SE there's not really a lot between Luxury, Advance and F-Sport. They all have plenty of toys, the latter two have a deeper bumper and more pronounced version of the Lexus spindle grille so look a little different. Any of them can have a sunroof or panoramic roof. Outside/interior colour choices can have a big effect, which is best is down to your taste. I'd prioritise condition, mileage, history and price over getting hold of a particular trim level.
  4. It was Tunbridge Wells for me. I probably should have been patient and bought something from my local dealer, especially as it turns out I've known their aftersales manager for 20+ years from our shared interest in older Toyotas, but at the time they didn't have the right car. I didn't get Lexus UK involved, maybe I should have done, but in the end I got a better car for not much more money. The one I originally had turned up at a non-Lexus sales place, but has now disappeared from AutoTrader although it still shows up as being untaxed. As long as the manufacturers/importers prefer to sell through group-owned dealerships rather than smaller, often family-run companies then I think we have to start with low expectations.... Good to know you like the 200 anyway, I'd imagine it's lighter than a 450 so has a different feel to it? I drove a friend's Mk2 LS400 recently, which reminded me of the Mk3 I used to have, and it made me realise they are still an incredible car.
  5. Sorry to hear about the problems. I had a couple of problems with an approved gen 3 RX450 bought from a Lexus dealer but they were idiots about it and wouldn't fix the most significant issue so I ended up exchanging it for a better model. I had expected better and will be more wary next time. How do you find the 200 model? Quite a rarity.
  6. I don't have experience of owning both variants, just a 2012-on facelift model. However, I purchased some pre-facelift mats and shape-wise they fitted fine so I imagine the same would be true for the other way round. The only issue I had was the clip design seemed to have changed and I have to live with them being loose (not a problem as they're grippy on the bottom).
  7. Having gone through this experience coming back from a fortnight in France just two days ago, the biggest difference I find is the condition of our roads and the driving standards. Far more stupidity seen in 120 miles home from Folkestone compared to 1500+ miles in France..... Haven't flown on holiday for years, we've really enjoyed our annual driving trip to France. Particularly good this year in the new-to-me RX. Tunnel generally efficient (although it was suffering delays on Sunday PM), but going out we've settled on the Newhaven-Dieppe night-time crossing. Ideal for getting down to the south coast after work, getting a few hours kip in the cabin then being in France bright and early and getting some miles (or kilometres I should say) in while it's quiet, or taking time to visit places en-route to our destination. If it's rough then you've got your own toilet in the cabin......
  8. I bought a 2014 Advance earlier this year which had suffered expensive-looking damage to its exhaust system and the plastic undertray was scraped and held on with a cable tie - and that was an approved car from a Lexus dealer. I swapped it for a better example under their exchange policy..... Check the one you're looking at hasn't been used by someone optimistic about its off-roading abilities (negligible). Tailored rubber mats are available which would keep it looking good inside. Be realistic about the economy you'll get, I doubt it'll be as good as the Avensis. Plenty of discussion about that on various threads here, mid 30s probably average at this time of year, which will drop a little in the colder weather. I also went from Avensis to RX. Not many choices if you're after a big Japanese estate nowadays. I'm not convinced that the boot is as big as the Toyota's, but I'll find out for sure when I pack it with the family and all our luggage for a fortnight's holiday soon. I know it's going to be a great drive though, far more enjoyable on the hills and mountains in France where my petrol Avensis struggled last year. It'd be good to see a relatively low number of owners on the V5 (don't take the dealer's word for it, have a look for yourself even if they want to conceal the previous keeper's address due to GDPR) and it having been looked after by Lexus dealers for much of its life even if it's been taken to a good independent in more recent years as it's got a bit older.
  9. While we're talking about gen 3 RX sat-nav systems...... Is there a setting that I'm not finding which puts the map screen onto a night-time display with more muted colours? At preset, at night the mainly white display dims along with everything else permanently illuminated but I still find it to be rather bright. I've gone through the menu several times but can't see anything. On my 2015 Avensis (and probably also my older one) I could choose from several display options. I get the speed limit display in the corner of the screen, but it's not there for every road. In the Avensis it would go red if the limit was exceeded, but again the RX doesn't do that. I imagine it used GPS to determine vehicle speed so would often be a more accurate indicator then the speedo (useful when trying to maximise French autoroute cruising speed, for example).
  10. Is it just a scale issue? I don't use the sat-nav much (25+ years of finding my way to obscure rural places with maps or an atlas means I can live without it) but I sometimes find smaller roads and lanes only appear when I zoom in a bit. I think the general consensus is the sat-nav system isn't one of Lexus's strong points.
  11. I had the same with a pair on mine, also a low mileage example - I imagine they were probably the originals as they were on the rear so don't do much work. I just bit the bullet and replaced them myself, giving me the choice of what tyres I could select. Some sort of all-seasons would suit you well? Good to hear you're enjoying it otherwise.
  12. I got mine up to 35-odd today thanks to some longer A- and B-road cruising, probably 37-38mpg allowing for the 32 it had done up to that point. I had the odd occasion to make use of the lovely V6 as I was 'making progress', so not too bad. Best way of looking at it isn't as being super-economical, just that the hybrid gives tolerable economy to a fairly big, powerful, very comfortable car. I really enjoyed the drive in mine yesterday, the family were on board and it was doing just what I wanted it to do. The Avensis 1.8 petrol I had before would probably have done low 40s on that journey, but would have been nowhere as pleasurable to drive.....
  13. I can't offer anything on 1 or 2 of your list. 3. I wonder if they are too bad on tyres? I've just replaced the rears on mine, I suspect they were the original Japanese-made Bridgestones - they were badly cracked due to age (so much so I'm surprised the main dealer selling it let them go through like it) but still had quite a bit of tread depth and had worn evenly. Mine is coming up to five years old and has now done 26k miles. I've gone for the Michelin CrossClimates following good reports on here and due to this being my car of choice when the weather's bad. 4.I'm still fairly new to RX and hybrid ownership, I have the screens set-up like this so I can see how my driving style affects the economy: Yes, this photo was taken on a private road! I find the trip info screen at full-size an easy way of seeing how much difference it makes when lifting the throttle just slightly, and it's satisfying to see those bars as high as possible. That MPG is what I get running around locally, with lots of cold starts and short-ish journeys, with no use of the A/C. I try and reset the trip meter each time I refill and then see how it's doing against the cruising range figure. There are the graphics on both screens which show the energy going backwards and forwards, but I prefer to work with numbers. When I bought mine at 24k it was showing an overall average of 30.6mpg, after a couple of thousand miles that's risen to 30.8. I did use Eco mode for a tankful or two, but the difference it made wasn't enough to persevere with.
  14. The Lexus dealer couldn't get anywhere near that price, £426 vs. £309 for a pair! Gone onto the Blackcircles site today and the 10% offer on individual tyres has gone, replaced by £40 off a set of four, so it was good that I bought them when I did. Still might be worth seeing if the "mich10" code works though?.......
  15. That's a shame. What are you moving onto instead? I understand your reasoning and went through something similar myself earlier this year. For the previous four years I'd had an Avensis Tourer, just a 2.0 diesel but it was a useful tool - lots of space inside and plenty of torque even if it wasn't the quietest or most sophisticated thing. When the time came to change I went for the 1.8 petrol version of the same model, but it was a rather joyless car and within 2-3 months I was wishing I hadn't bought it. It had no torque, which seems to be an issue with many modern, non-turbo petrol engines. Fortunately I'd put enough of a deposit down not to end up with significant negative equity, but I lost a substantial amount having had it for just a year, due to the difference between main dealer retail price and part-ex value plus a year's natural depreciation. Oddly enough, seeing an NX was what got me thinking about buying a Lexus as a replacement for the Avensis - I prefer the look of it to the current RX. However, I fairly quickly realised that it wouldn't have the space I was used to with the Avensis and the use of a 4-cyl engine concerned me. To match the practicality, roominess and torque of the Avensis diesel I went for a previous-gen RX. Luckily I'm a bit of a Luddite so the rather basic infotainment system doesn't bother me, and at least I get a stick to control it. However, a friend was showing me what the set-up in his new Jaguar E-Pace can do and it puts the Lexus system to shame. The above being said, I'd still be interested to give the NX a go if I get offered one as a courtesy car. If they update it with the new RAV4 engine then maybe it would be a better bet? The NX's size would be fine for us when my children are driving and don't need ferrying around so much. Isn't it difficult on a test drive to pick up the everyday things that can make or break life with a car? As you also suggest, there is the tendency to overlook potential issues or think you'll be able to live with them, but the opposite ends up being the case.