Over the last couple of months, we have started shopping for a new car to replace the Explorer. At this point, the Explorer has more than 223,000 miles. Sharon purchased it in January of 1999; we have owned it almost 9 1/2 years.
We have been focusing on two different vehicles as a replacement: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Lexus RX400h Hybrid. The plan for the day was to go and test drive the two vehicles back to back.
We went to Lexus of Sacramento and drove the Lexus first. They had three RX400hs in stock: two blacks one and a nice Bamboo Pearl one. When we initially drove the Lexus in early April, I was impressed with how nimble it felt. After driving it again, both Sharon and I were very pleased with how well it drove. It feels very responsive and has a nice solid ride. Sharon has been pushing the idea of the Lexus since we started this process, while I was frankly leaning towards the larger Highlanders.
From there, we went to Maita Toyota. I had been scouting the Highlander Hybrids during the week. There were essentially three in stock in Sacramento: two silver and one green. I had walked around and sat in the green one at Maita on Friday.
From the first five minutes of testing driving the Highlander, I knew that I was not going to buy it. Although I liked the larger size and some of the options, it drove horribly. Both Sharon and I were grimacing as we drove it and looking at each other out of the corner of our eyes. It felt very heavy and literally wallowed through turns. This is consistent with my experience when we drove one at Elk Grove Toyota in late March. The Highlander is more than 800 pounds heavier than the Lexus with the same power train.
Heading back to the Lexus dealer, we purchased the RX400h. I am very pleased with the end result. I will post some pictures in the near future...