The Lexus RX 400h is billed as the first
hybrid performance SUV. It combines a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine with
two electric motors and a clever E-Four system to drive the vehicle.
The petrol engine and motors can work independently of each other or in synergy such as under
hard acceleration to produce the cars great
performance statistics. The electric motor is used to pull away and at low speeds when the petrol engine is least efficient and
therefore it emits no harmful emissions. It is charged by
regenerative braking and while the car is cruising.
The petrol engine produces 208bhp, while the electric motors produce
123kw in the front and 50kw for the rear. Combined total peak output is
269bhp. Due to the electric motors high torque the RX 400h can
accelerate to 62mph in 7.6 seconds and take the car to 124mph.
The electric motors can power the car independently up to 50km/h without the aid of
the petrol engine. They also allow the car to switch off while
stationary such as at traffic light. All these help the
environmental credentials for this 4x4 which are so often criticised by
government and environmental organisations. Mayor Ken Livingstone
even review the exemptions made to the London congestion charge after
learning that the Lexus RX400h hybrid SUV did not have to pay.
However 34.9mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 192g/km are the best in
class when compared against other luxury SUVs.
Starting at £36,393, it is priced competitively plus is technologically
advanced. Technology appearing in the RX 400h is its highly
efficient Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission system (E-CVT)
and E-Four system which controls the four-wheel-drive system which
allows the car to be driven through the front wheels only for maximum
efficiency and through all four wheels when required such as at high
Lexus has an excellent reputation for
reliability and quality. Much of its hybrid technology has been
tested through the Toyota Prius. If you are still unsure, the
battery and hybrid system is covered by a 5 year warrant for peace of
mind and is relatively maintenance free due to the lack of moving parts.
There is a choice of SE models and a range topping SE-L model also
Engine: 3500cc Petrol/Electric
Transmission : E-CVT Semi-Auto
Kerb Weight: 2000 kg
Top Speed: 124 MPH
0-62 MPH: 7.6 secs
Insurance Group: 16
Reviewed by David Robinson from
Broadstairs, Kent on 05 September 2008
RX400h: I have to date had 6 of
these as my company car, the latest with the aesthetically pleasing
woodpack which from my viewpoint gives the final touch to this classy
top range vehicle. I have now purchased the exact same model for "er
indoors". We were originally looking at a Toyota Rav4, but with the
efficiencies that can be gained from driving this superb hybrid vehicle
carefully it probably gets the same economies as the much lesser classed
Rav4, yes OK it was much more expensive! For those of you that drive
into London you also pay NO congestion charge.
The performance of the car is absolutely awesome for a 2 tonne motor,
0-60 not much more than the top of the range Celica's I use to drive.
Lexus is very much a cut above Mercedes in both reliability and level of
kit as standard. After driving these "hybrid" vehicles since they were
launched I can confirm that their reliability is superb. My only
complaint is that although my SE comes with a reversing camera, they
don't have parking sensors and in darkness the bulbs in the reversing
lights are not bright enough to provide good rear vision. All in
all the RX400h is brilliant and worth every penny!
Reviewed by Richard from Poole on 15 April
400h: Fantastic. The most exciting car I
have ever owned and these have ranged from SL's to 911's and DB9's.