Spankin' new here and this thread immediately caught my eye. My previous car was a '17 Highlander SE and I found it very disappointing. I'm surprised how often I see people talking about Highlanders on this (and the "other") Lexus forum... I'd have sworn I was an anomaly in going from a Highlander to an RX, but it seems that's (sort of) common?
From an MSRP stand-point the RX is a better value by comparison. The extra $10K gets you a LOT more. I never considered a Lexus, but after driving a service loaner (thinking that would be a good way to get in the price-range of the vehicles I was already shopping)... well, I couldn't UN-experience it. A couple test-drives and it reprogrammed my brain about value vs cost.
I could make a lengthy thread/post about what I don't like about the Highlanders up to now (maybe they're about to change dramatically and it'll be different)... I got a knot in my stomach every time I drove my Highlander. In under 2 years I had less than 8K miles on it... fortunately for me, that kept the trade-value so high that I was able to move-on.
Putting the RX directly next to the Highlander and popping the hoods, the engines look surprisingly similar. I don't understand how the Highlander can feel so slow and the RX can feel so fast? (even vehicle weights and engine performance specs are similar). It also doesn't make sense that on the 0-60 sites, they aren't that far apart. My Highlander drove like a dog. As long as I MASHED the pedal into the floor... I mean like I was intending to break the thing, it would feel "peppy" but only in a couple gears, and never from a stop... the RX is the total opposite, while it may not be the quickest car in this class, it FEELS like it's always wanting to go faster... I find myself letting up on the gas after the car starts moving... instead of pushing ever-harder until the pedal is nearly all the way down. In the Highlander cars were always pulling away from me at a light. In the RX it's the opposite.
This is just one of the many things that was driving me nuts about my Highlander. Having to lean FAR forward in the seat and make the long reach to the radio? Who came up with that? Compare that with sitting all the way back, reclined even, and able to control everything, not even just the radio, but EVERYTHING, from the spot your hand naturally rests?
I was just about to buy a 4R limited in an attempt to stay with Toyota, but have something fun to drive and more usable (apples to oranges I know), but tech-wise, it felt like such a compromise... and the driving experience (normal on-road stuff) wasn't as sluggish as the Highlander, but still felt archaic after driving a couple Lexi (lex-eye? plural of Lexus?
I first drove the GX460... and with the sales events, those are within about $5K off a 4R limited that's TRYING to be nicer (running boards, etc) and still the Lexus gets you a crazy nice interior with major tech AND a V8 engine.
I'm thrilled to have stepped up to an RX... I'm very surprised how many people have an interest in both the Highlander and the RX.