This is a solid, well-designed semi-luxury small SUV. It is and has been exactly what I had hoped for when I purchased it. It is very comfortable and since it's a hybrid, it gets better gas mileage than the competition. As a Lexus (TOYOTA), it is super reliable and generally not too expensive to maintain.
I took the plunge with an old Lexus. I joined the ever increasing group of SUV owners and purchased a 2006 RX400h with 148,000 miles for under $7,000.- So far, I'm impressed with the ride quality, the noise isolation, the seating position. How many vehicles can you find with AWD, navigation, bluetooth, leather, moonroof,power rear hatch, heated seats, hybrid power, for under $7,000? If you're going to take the gamble on a vehicle without warranty & high mileage, Toyota, Honda, are probably the best bets. I don't drive this vehicle like a sports car so I'm not concerned about going fast in corners. it has plenty of power, good stopping ability, good gas mileage. The paint is high quality and is holding up as well as the interior. The armrests are a little thin and I made two repairs. Lots of parts are available on EBAY, oem or reproductions. Some parts are expensive but you can also buy many parts or service your vehicle at Toyota dealers, since they are very similar to the Toyota Highlander. I have a good mechanic. It would have been nice if Toyota made these cars run on regular gas instead of premium, other than that, I just hope my hybrid battery lasts awhile longer!
My experience with this luxury Hybrid SUV may vary from your expectations. I purchased this car in a nearly new condition with less than 100 miles on the odo. It's backstory is too involved to repeat here. I've owned a number of SUV's over time and this vehicle is indeed a very indulgent selection. Ride, Road Noise and the like just vanish when inside the cabin. This year's 2006 Tech does not compare with what is available today but the Bluetooth hands free phone link and DVD navigation are a huge plus for any busy commuter or road warrior. My only real con's are the voice recognition is terrible as it can not recognize anything outside of the pre-programmed script input. End guidance is proper but stop navigation will get you nothing. Also the Hybrid returns a minimal improvement in overall gas mileage although it does provide a great boost in acceleration in the road. I did find the hybrid "boost" causes the car to lurch forward and pulls to the side... not good in some situations. My model has a rear DVD player with 2 wireless headphones to keep little one's busy, a nice touch that I rarely used. The leather interior is a bit less durable than I like and it shows when using the cargo space for large loads and the leather can cut easily.
Unlike some critics of the hybrid RX, I am getting excellent mpg without driving like a grandma. A recent 300-mile road trip to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve averaged 28 mpg on the mountainous roads of the Angeles National Forest. My normal everyday driving has never seen below 26mpg combined, and during open highway cruising I average 31mpg -- that's amazing for a heavy crossover! The key is -- regular maintenance, tire pressure 34-36psi, keep to 60-65mph on the highway and 40-42 on the streets. A very comfortable road trip car! I like the RX because it sits higher than most crossovers and lower than SUVs, you still step *up* onto your seat like a SUV but it's must more fuel-efficient. While it doesn't get the 50mpg of my old Prius, it's much more comfortable and feels safer due to the higher seating position. Gas prices in CA are going up again so I am very happy with my purchase. Besides mpg, the electric hybrid motor makes car accelerate like a V8 and feels much faster than regular RX. The only con is lots of body roll in cornering due to the heavy battery, so tread gingerly in the twisties!
Okay, so the car looks a bit boring, but well over 200,000 miles without a single maintenance issue. This car just keeps going and going. Keeping my fingers crossed on the hybrid battery, but no signs of any issues.