Suggestions please: new Crossover SUV or 2006 Lexus RX400H?

I am ready to replace my 2001 Toyota Avalon, which has 102,000 miles and NO options. My budget is $26-30K. I like the idea of buying a new hybrid SUV but am not in love with boxy look (plus my husband owns Honda Pilot). So I have been checking out crossover SUV’s such as Toyota Verenza, Ford Edge, Mazda CX7, etc. By the time that I add options the price tag is pushing over $30K. I recently test drove a used 2006 Lexus RX400H (lease return), which comes with all the options that I want (in particular navigation with back up camera) plus is a Hybrid and within my budget but I am worried about buying a used car.

I’d appreciate any thoughts … BTW - I work from home so no commute except picking up the kids from school and driving to practices, etc. THANKS!!

I wouldn’t buy the RX400H, it’s not that much more economical, and reviews indicated unpleasant driving behavior, since fixed in the upcoming 2010 RX450H (big $$ for that, though). I’d spend the same money on a newer RX350.

If you like the way the Lexus looks and drives it sounds to me like you’ve found the perfect vehicle. Is the RX400H a Lexus-certified used vehicle? If so it should come with a really good warranty.

I’ve never bought a new car. I’ll let someone else take the loss on first year depreciation, thank you very much.

An off lease Lexus should be fine. If it comes with a warranty even better. Since you drive relatively few miles the used Lexus will hold its value better than buying a new car. Say in 3 years you decide to sell you’ll be happy you bought the Lexus used.

Unless you do a lot of stop and go driving, a hybrid isn’t really right for you.
Check out the Rav4, CR-V, Escape, Santa Fe

The RX400 h would be fine if you do a lot of city driving, but if not then go for a new crossover.

You could get a 2007 RX350 for a grand or two less than the 2006 RX400h; the 2006 RX350 is $5000 less. If you don’t drive much, how long will it take you to pay the difference in cost? You will probably never make up the difference on the 2006 RX350.

Does the dealer have all the maintenance and repair records for the 400h?

All the tests I’ve seen put the mpgs of the RX400h at about 20-21 overall. Nothing much, the RX350 might be quite close, for less money.

Practically speaking with the gas prices in flux, a 4 cyl Camry/Accord or Camry Hybrid looks pretty good good to me. Both are large by today’s standards sedans and push 30 mpg+ on the highway. I can personally see no reason to have two SUVs or another SUV light when admittedly you have no reason. Just a humble opinion.

Thanks for everyone’s suggestions!! You’ve convinced me that I may not need a hybrid w/my limited driving so I’ve expanded my looking into all kinds of other crossover SUVs. I have been very pleasantly surprised to see the aggressive pricing for a 2006 to even 2008 models as well as the great warrantees that come along with them.

RE: TWO SUV FAMILY … Maybe I should have noted that my husband will soon trade in his Pilot for a 4 door car so we won’t be a two SUV family for long. As my husband always says, “for most people buying a car is not a rationale decision. If it were, we’d all be driving older model Honda Accord’s.” Well, I’ve driven very sensible sedans for the past 28 years and am ready for something new.

In that case, I amend my recommendation to CRV/RAV4 consideration. If you’re willing to spend $30K for a RAV4 V6, it’s very economical (similar to most 4 cyls) and a real hoot to drive. (inlaws have one)
Handles better than most FWD cars when it’s equipped with AWD and out accelerate many “sports cars”. Lots of room and tow rating of 3500 lbs.