The Lexus RX 400h is an automobile assembled by Toyota Motor Corp. under the Lexus brand name using Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. Currently, Lexus is using the fourth generation of Hybrid Synergy Drive from Toyota. Each generation surpasses the previous, offering greater power and less cost. The hybrid powertrain adds a mere 300 pounds to the vehicle’s curb weight, an impressive engineering acheivement. The majority of this extra weight is mounted low in the vehicle. To manage the additional weight, Lexus made the chassis of the RX stronger. The Lexus RX, Lexus ES 350, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Highlander are all built on the same platform with slight modifications between the sedans and the SUVs.
After first being introduced in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show, it would become the world's second mass-produced hybrid SUV, after the Ford Escape Hybrid. In November 2004, Toyota announced the American launch of hybrid Lexus/Toyota SUV will be delayed to the 2006 model year, with European and Asian launches to meet the same fate. The Toyota version of the same car debuted in Japan in March of 2005 as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
The gasoline-powered part of the engine system is a 3.3L 3MZ-FE V6, very similar to the one found in the RX 330. It produces 268 HP when aided by the two additional electric motors. Under normal driving conditions, only the front motor and gasoline engine will be used. The rear motor will only be used under full-throttle acceleration or when the front wheels lose traction (if so equipped). The gasoline engine will switch off automatically when the vehicle is either stationary, decelerating, or being driven at a slow speed and the electric motor will take over. A Ni-MH battery is responsible for powering the motors, and it is charged during deceleration and from the heat energy caused from braking.
The assistance of the electric motor increases the vehicle's performance, the RX 400h Hybrid can reach 60 mph (97km/h) in less than 8 seconds which is quicker than the normally aspirated RX 330. Despite the increased performance, the RX 400h consumes roughly the same amount of fuel as a compact four-cylinder sedan and it qualifies as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in America.
See Autopedia's comprehensive Lexus RX 400h Hybrid Review Page
The RX 400h was new for the 2006 model year. 2007 models received additional hybrid signifiers to the rear doors, and aft emblems to further distinguish the hybrid models. A combination wood trim package was also added.
Styles and Major OptionsEdit
There is only one trim for the 400h, but it is available in a variety of options. It is powered by a 3.3L 208hp V6 hybrid engine and a 2-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT), but there is a choice between front wheel drive and all wheel drive versions. In addition, there are several optional packages available, from the Premium Package, which includes items like driver seat memory and a roof rack, to a Navigation Package, which includes not only a voice activated navigation system but also an 11-speaker 210-watt Premium Mark Levinson audio system. Some of the standout features include:
- Leather-trimmed interior, steering wheel and shift knob
- Brushed aluminum interior trim pieces
- Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column with memory
- Lexus Memory System to control power driver’s seat (except lumbar), outside mirrors and steering wheel
- Illuminated entry system
- Power tilt-and-slide sunroof with one-touch open/close and sliding sunshade
- Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS)
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with dynamic auto-leveling
- Roof rack with rails
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- 10-way driver (including lumbar) and 8-way front passenger power seats
- Lexus eight-speaker, Premium Sound system with in-dash six-disc CD changer
- Steering wheel mounted cruise control, audio and display function controls
Individual Factory Options
- Lexus DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System (RSES) (includes two pairs of wireless headphones) - $1,840
- Heated Front Seats with Rain-Sensing Wipers - $665
- Mark Levinson® 11-speaker, 210-watt Premium Audio System with in-dash, single-feed, six-disc CD changer - $980
- Lexus voice-activated DVD Navigation System (includes backup camera and Bluetooth® technology) - $2,350
- All-weather floor mats
- Car cover
- Cargo mat
- Cargo net
- Front-end mask
- Tow-hitch receiver
- Wheel locks
- Wireless headphones
As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the revised City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:
2006 RX 400h FWD
2006 RX 400h AWD
According to the 2007 Consumer Reports new car issue, the RX 400h has the highest rating in predicted reliability, and the record of used RX 400h models is also the highest possible rating.
- Front seat-mounted side airbags (SRS)
- Driver's and front passenger's advanced airbag system (SRS) with crash-severity sensors
- Front and rear roll-sensing side curtainairbags
- Driver's knee airbag
- Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)
- ABS with Brake Assist
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Reinforced Body
- Three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners seatbelts for all seats
- Daytime Running Lights
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
- Traction Control (TRAC)
- Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System
- Theft-Deterrent System with engine immobilizer
- LED tailights
A complete list of the 400h's colors is available at CarsDirect.com. Here are some of the available ones:
Neptune Blue Mica Neptune Blue Mica
Flint Mica Flint Mica
Savannah Metallic Savannah Metallic
Bamboo Pearl Bamboo Pearl
Crystal White Crystal White
Millenium Silver Metallic Millenium Silver Metallic
Black Onyx Black Onyx
- Mercury Mariner Hybrid
- Acura RDX
- BMW X3
- Hummer H3
- Infiniti FX35/FX45
- Land Rover LR3
- Mercedes-Benz ML-Class
- Volvo XC90
The available Four-Wheel Air Suspension controls vehicle height, depending on driving conditions and needs. At speeds higher than 62 mph, the vehicle lowers 0.3 inches automatically (Normal mode), providing increased control and lower drag coefficient. For additional control during sport driving, you can select Low mode, which lowers the vehicle by 0.6 inches. For low-speed emergency driving on rough terrain, you're able to switch to High mode to raise the ground clearance to a full 8.3 inches. Or, for easy passenger access or loading, the vehicle will lower an additional 1.2 inches (Access mode). The RX 350 is a certified Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) that everyone can feel good about.
Kelley Blue Book offers a range of resale value information, with mileage and equipment levels factored in.
While the improved fuel economy is commendable, at current gas prices it will take years to recover the hybrid premium.
Current Model (Updated Second Generation)Edit
For 2007, the RX has a mid-cycle refresh consisting of a new 2GR-FE 3.5-liter V6 instead of the older 3MZ-FE 3.3-liter V6 engine, changing the vehicle's name from RX 330 to RX 350. The RX 350 will also feature an updated DVD navigation system with better graphics, voice controlled destination inputs, and a new device called "bread crumbs", enabling drivers to retrace their steps.
Second Generation: (2004-present)Edit
The second generation RX, called the Lexus RX 330 for the North American and Middle Eastern markets, was introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show. The North American-market cars were initially built in Japan, with production of the RX 330 started at Toyota's Cambridge, Ontario, Canada plant in September 2003 (some North American RX 330/RX 350 models are still made in Japan). The RX 330 is powered by a 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6, producing 223 hp SAE and (238 ft·lb), and is available in either front or four wheel drive. "AIRS" air-suspension is again an option on the four wheel drive models, and interestingly, a Mark Levinson sound-system is available in place of the JBL system found in the Toyota Harrier.
For European and Asian markets, the second generation RX was launched in early 2003, where it continues to be a RX 300 and is made in Japan. Mechanical specification is more or less identical to the 3.0 L V6 Toyota Harrier, with only the four wheel drive version available. Once again, air-suspension and Mark Levinson audio can be specified.
The Harrier Hybrid went on sale in Japan on March 2005, and the hybrid Lexus RX 400h went on sale during the 2006 model year in North America. Europe and Asia will also receive the Hybrid RX during 2006.
First Generation: (1999-2003)Edit
The first-generation RX 300 for the four wheel drive models made its debut in December 1997 as the Toyota Harrier. Two engines were available, the 2.2 L 5S-FE I4 which produced 139 hp JIS (102 kW) and 191 Nm (140 ft·lbf), and the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 which produced 219 hp JIS (161 kW) and 304 Nm (224 ft·lbf). Both engines could be specified with either front or four wheel drive. All models came with an automatic transmission as standard, with the V6 version having the Sportmatic +/- feature. The Toyota Harrier was a sales success, and many went to other right hand drive markets in Asia as grey imports.
The first-generation RX 300 continued largely unchanged until November 2000, when the 2.2 L 5S-FE engine was replaced by the 2.4 L 2AZ-FE 4-cylinder engine, producing 159 hp JIS (117 kW) and 221 Nm (163 ft·lbf). Again, the new engine was offered with either front wheel drive or four wheel drive. The change in engine also meant a change in model code, which was now ACU10 for the front wheel drive version and ACU15 for the four wheel drive version. A small facelift was also performed on the Harrier. 2000 is also the year where the Lexus RX 300 first went on sale in Europe and Asia. The distinguishing feature for those versions of the RX 300 is a different rear light cluster and larger wheels. The front wheel drive version was not offered in either Europe or Asia.
Design quirks and odditiesEdit
- Unique Front Bumper for increased cooling
- Unique Grille
- Unique Fog Lamps
- New Tailights with LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs
- 18 inch wheels
- Performance tires
- J.D. Power awarded the RX 400h the top spot for entry-luxury SUVs in its 2005 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) on owners' attitudes towards new vehicle designs.
- J.D. Power and Associates' 2006 Automotive Environmental Index of the top 30 most environmentally-friendly vehicles listed the RX 400h as one of only four SUVs on the list.
- At the 2005 GreenFleet Awards in the United Kingdom, recognizing environmentally friendly transportation, Lexus was recognized for introducing the RX 400h with the 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year title.
- The RX 400h was named SUV of Texas at the 2005 Texas Truck Rodeo awards.
- CNET editor's choice vehicle in 2005.
Hybrid: RX 400h
|Toyota||Corporate website||A division of the Toyota Motor Corporation|
- Lexus.com - official website
- Lexus RX 400h - official website
- Lexus UK Launches New Limited Edition RX400hs
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