So after a good few months without a proper family car due to unfortunate circumstances, we’ve finally bought ourselves another car to replace our sorely missed Saab 9-5 Aero Dame Wagon Auto (Known to us as Wasaabi), before getting onto our new car however, I’ll fill you guys in on what happened to Wasaabi and how we got into it’s replacement.
So for those who don’t know, we used to own a late 2007 Saab 9-5 HOT Aero Dame Wagon which was known by us as Wasaabi – it was given this nickname thanks to no end to it’s ferocious power plant, powered by a 2.3T HPT 4 cylinder Engine producing 260bhp & 320nm Torque, it was certainly a powerhouse and as a replacement to our previous Subaru Legacy MK4 Wagon it was certainly an upgrade in the right direction and everything was going fantastic with it – it was plenty powerful, had enough space for everything we ever needed, really comfortable and most importantly it was fairly reliable with easy to get parts and good parts prices etc. We had that car for about 6 months and we loved it dearly – that was until it was drastically cut short!
unfortunately for us, the Saab blew up with turbo issues, intercooler issues & exhaust issues due to too much oil in it, this meant that it had to get scrapped and my parents had to get a Mitsubishi as a stop gap, it done us well for the time we had it but it wasn’t in a good state bodywork wise & to sort it out properly would’ve cost way too much to fix so we had to get a new car.
I actually really liked the Saab, it was our first ever Saab and it was truly fantastic and the power was truly immense, even in the winter it was perfect, it was such a shame it went bang as it was never given the chance to properly shine, unfortunately, I tried to talk my parents into another Saab but they weren’t having none of it which was rather confusing and a right shame.
The Mitsubishi was actually fairly reliable but due to the bodywork issues, it was a right embarrassment to be in and the seats in it were unbelievably uncomfortable even though they were leather, after a few months of ownership enough was enough and it had to go!
however due to the Saab breaking in such a quick way and a lack of funds we had to get another car as the Mitsubishi – even though not too bad was looking worse for wear, this is where the new car comes in!
After my mum getting a new Job as a Live In Carer, we were finally able to splash out on a fairly expensive car instead of the cheapish run arounds we were used to so that’s exactly what we’ve done – Say Hello To Our 2006 Lexus RX400h!!!!!
Yes, as this title reads, we have finally got ourselves a big classy Lexus, we decided to get a Lexus RX400h due to the fact they’re Full Time AWD which is perfect for the upcoming winter months, it has enough space for 5 people, a massive boot plus Toyota/Lexus’ well known Bulletproof reliability and due to it having a Hybrid system similar to a LS600h, a GS450h & even down to the simple Prius, it provides decent MPG figures from it’s rather large engine, also the Hybrid system in it also brings in other great features like free Congestion Charge for going through London, lower tax price & lower insurance costs which is great considering it’s large sized Engine.
Which brings me onto that, Engine wise, it has a 3.3l V6 mated to two electric motors & a massive battery pack, combined it puts out 280bhp & a mighty 751nm Torque, this Lean, Mean, Green Machine has more torque than a V10 Touareg and isn’t far off a G63 AMG and they’re big thirsty V8’s & V10’s with double the litres.
Size wise, this sits window to window to a Land Rover Discovery 4 and isn’t far off the size of a 2nd Generation M Class Mercedes, It absolutely towers over my own C70 which isn’t exactly small and it makes my stepdads Leon look like a bloody Smart Car which is rather humorous to be honest.
Based on the MK2 RX Body shape, it is a rather handsome beast if I’m honest with chiseled good looks with some curves added into the mix as well, the rear lights are clear in colour which is reminiscent of Lexus lamps of prior years, on the door mouldings their is Hybrid badging attached to let everyone know it’s the low emissions model, It sits on 18″ multi-spoke alloy wheels, in the front, it has a different grille design to it’s RX300 & RX350 counterpart, different rounded fog lamp units, Xenon Headlamps & a slightly different front bumper, in the black it certainly looks the part and really looks classy.
Inside, ours is cream leather and really compliments the black on the exterior, on top of that it has everything & more than we could ever ask for or need, some of these include sat-nav, bluetooth for mobile phones, heated seats, electric memory seats, cupholders, 6 disc changer, dual zone climate control, tinted windows, Auto headlamps which swivel when you turn the wheel, Auto wipers, electric mirrors, electrically operated foldable mirrors, electric windows all round, a tilt/sliding sunroof, electric memory steering column, a power tailgate which actually lifts fully like on more prestige 4×4’s & SUV’s and last but not least, my favourite feature by far, it has a built in DVD Player with two rear screens & bluetooth headphones so you can watch films – add in the sliding & reclining rear seats & you can really get comfortable while on a long journey.
This has to have the best interior I’ve ever been in & that’s saying something – in fact I’d say this has as much if not more equipment & luxury as a similarly specced ML320 or Discovery & because it’s a Lexus and has Toyota underpinnings, it’s all going to work & won’t ever hardly go wrong and is so easy to work as soon as you get used to it!
Comfort wise it is unfathomably good, the seats are unbelievably comfortable, you have tons of adjustment in all the seats, the steering column also moves electrically and is memory so can be saved to whoever is driving it, all the controls for the centre console are within easy reach and still feel solid after 12 years of use, the centre box in between the seats slides back & forth to either aid rear seat legroom or front compartment space depending on what you want it for – this is definitely where this car shines!
Transmission wise it uses a CVT gearbox which isn’t exactly great mechanically speaking as they can go wrong but so far so good, there are no issues to report regarding that, also due to the gearbox used, it’s not the quickest getting up to speed as it does hinder performance quite a bit compared to a conventional automatic but that isn’t really the point of this Luxury Family Bus, however the power is definitely there as it can get up to speed without a care in the world & can easily overtake anything in it’s path, It’s no Saab Aero but it’s actually not as bad as I’d first thought.
Also with no issues to report is with the Battery pack under the rear seats, Toyota tend to change them every 10 years or so but ours is now a solid 12 year old car and doesn’t seem to have any paperwork to show that it has a new battery pack installed, so far it’s working fine but I’m dreading the time that it needs replaced as it’s £3000 odds for a replacement pack from Toyota/Lexus, time will tell with that to see if it needs a new one or not.
Driving wise it’s nigh on perfect, already it’s had new tyres which have made it so much quieter at speed and less jarring on rough roads, it’s a bit eerie when you start it up as it starts & runs on the electric motors up until 40mph when it seaminglessly changes to it’s silky smooth petrol engine, I’ll still need to get used to starting it as I’m used to hearing a conventional engine spring into life instead of a slight hum from electric motors, I’m also going to need to get used to the foot operated emergency brake as I’m too used to a manual gearbox which of course has 3 pedals instead of two.
I honestly can’t find any faults with this car and because it’s a Lexus, I can’t see us having any major issues with it bar a replacement battery pack which may or may not get replaced just yet, It’s so good that I’ve even been looking at a Lexus for myself due to how good this one of ours is, I’m not a big fan of Japanese cars if I’m completely honest due to bad experiences in the past with asian cars we’ve previously owned but with this, it’s changed for the better, I’m not a Japanese car convert but I definitely have a bigger acceptance to a Lexus than anything else which can only be a good thing. I’m hoping this car stays for a long time as it’s too good a car to get rid of – It’s a Hybrid you’ll be absolutely thrilled to own!!!
I’ll keep you guys in the loop a bit better than I did with the Saab and I’ll try and bring a whole lot more updates regarding it & our time with it so expect more to come from our wonderful RX in the near future. I’m hoping it brings a lot of people into Hybrid car ownership and takes the worries out of Hybrid car ownership that a lot of people still tend to have issues with these days!!
Hope You Enjoy!!
From Alex Jebson