(From my Flickr Album)
Awww… ain’t she a beauty?
Well, my ex got the “nice Lexus” (2002 LS 430), admittedly a very nice car and I got the… 1992 LS 400. Yes, she was a marvel in her day, but her day has LONG since past!
At first I was really MAD to have him “dump” the old clunker on me, but then I decided to turn this into a growing moment. Knowing very well, I wasn’t going to keep either car (both gas guzzlers), the only difference would have been trade-in value. And since this just meant he was taking less from my retirement accounts in exchange for the nicer car, I’m in the same position. No big deal.
So, I wanted efficient. I wanted comfort. I’d owned two Lexus(s) previously and wasn’t really loving the idea of going to a Ford Fusion or VW anything or those ugly Prius(s). So, just to prove I didn’t want a VW, I did go and test drive the new 2010 VW Golf TDI from Carter Volkswagen. It was super cute, but ZERO frills. Having been a Lexus owner for 5+ years now, that was a tad odd. No power seats? Really? Anyway, yes, it’s efficient as far as gas mileage goes, but I’m not a fan of the diesel engine from an environmental standpoint. I know, I know, “this one is much cleaner and passes emissions standards in all 50 states”… yup, I knew that. Anyway, cute little car that I would have HAD to get custom ordered all decked out with what they call options, which would take 3 months to get. Never could get them to respond to my request to spec out the model I wanted. Odd. With all the frills I think it came to about $33k. I thought that was a lot of money for a car with no electric seats and no leather! Maybe it’s just me….
Next, feeling at a bit of a loss for my once held desire for the Golf, I decided to browse the inventory of the local Lexus dealers online. And VOILA, there she was… the car that would soon be named Alfred (after Batman’s assistant, duh! She’s got more gadgets than the bat mobile!). I searched all over the internet, reading reviews, looking for comparable other cars, but nothing was jumping out at me except lil Alfred. SO, the website says, “Send a sales inquiry”, you fill out the form telling them your preferred contact methods (phone, email, etc). About an hour later (maybe sooner) I received a reply email… asking me to call them! HELL NO! I had specific questions that I wanted answered via email before I called or went over there… and so that’s basically how I replied. I get a second reply, “but I can answer your questions more easily over the phone.” Nope… no go buddy. I wrote them back, “You asked for a preferred method of contact and then tell me you can only discuss it over the phone. Apparently you don’t like your customers’ preferences.” The next morning I had a reply from the Internet Sales Manager apologizing for the odd behavior, he answered my very simple questions and, as expected, asked when I could come over to test drive her. IMMEDIATELY was my reply, but I tried to be more subtle, by answering, “hopefully this afternoon”.
So, I took the “clunker” (LS 400, which every time we went to the dealer for a car wash we’d tell them we had our clunker Lexus and they’d get a kick out of it) over to Lexus of Bellevue. Met Ken, my new sales guy introduced by the Internet Sales Manager who took me out for a spin in Alfred. She’s purdy… but I couldn’t figure out how to start the darned thing! I felt like a moron! I’d driven a Honda Civic Hybrid several years back, but had totally forgotten all the intricacies of operating a hybrid. No physical key, foot on brake, press the POWER button, flip the tiny little shifter thingy into drive and off you go! Oh so quiet, like the passengers of a hearse! Oh, the gas motor wasn’t yet running, DUH! Of course it’s going to be quiet. I still was not disappointed when it did start (very very subtly) when I accelerated into traffic.
So, that was the beginning of my love affair with my hybrid transsexual car. She looks like a girl, but has a boy’s name… oh yeah! HOT!
What do I think of her now? Well, here are the great positives so far: averaging about 35 mpg (exactly on target with the manufacturer), the seats are deadly comfy (slept for 6 hours one evening after a drunken bender), plenty of leg and head room all around, a TECHNOLOGICAL MARVEL (simply amazing how much technology is built into this car), she turns lots of heads being the purdy “Matador Red” and having the optional tinted windows and larger 18″ wheels, and the gas peddle response is MUCH better than I expected from a car rated as 0-60 in 8.4 seconds and 187 horse power (going from 290 in my LS 430), I also love the bluetooth music and telephone!! Love sitting in the car and my HTC EVO (by Sprint) connect automatically and will start playing music. LOVE IT!
What don’t I like? Well, I don’t like the “EV” driving mode. “EV” stands for Electric Vehicle. It’s a complete farce. You have to be going under 20 mph and can’t accelerate “too quickly”. Dumb, pointless. I SORT OF like the navigation system, but I can’t seem to get the web synced “eDestination” system working correctly, so I can enter my addresses from my computer and have them sync to the car automatically. That’s annoying, but I have an appointment with the dealer’s tech expert to help me through all the technology that IS the HS 250h. So another thing that’s hard to get used to is that the brakes are SUPER sensitive! You’ll nearly put your passengers through the very expensive windshield the first time you try to stop. Fortunately, the first time is usually a car salesman! You get used to that very quickly.
Well, that’s all for now. LOVE for Alfred!