RX400h Hybrid SUV
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid
SUV is Toyota's coupe de gras when it comes to luxury
green vehicles. In fact, the Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV is
the world's first hybrid luxury SUV.
Don't think, though, that
you can just go down and grab a Lexus RX400h Hybrid off
The Lexus RX400h has a
long waiting list where demand is far exceeding supply
for this hybrid.
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV is similar to the Toyota Highlander
Hybrid SUV in that they both use the Hybrid Synergy Drive system
featuring a 3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6 gasoline engine
combined with a high-torque electric engine. The Highlander
offers both 2WD and 4WD while the RX400h only offers a 4WD model.
For more information see: Toyota
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV battery never has to be charged.
This is a common misconception with hybrid vehicles. The
electric motors also act as generators to recharge the battery
pack and the battery pack is under warrantee for 8 years
of 100,000 miles. Another common misconception is that hybrid
vehicles are gutless little go-carts driven by new age vegans
with a chip on their shoulders.
This is so not true. The Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV Performs
like a V8 because of the combination of V6 gasoline engine
and electric motors. The 400 in the name means it performs
like a 4-liter engine, with acceleration from 0 - 60 in
just 7.3 seconds. This is no gutless engine!
Because this is a 4-wheel drive vehicle, there are two
electric motors, one powering the front wheels and one the
back wheels. During high speeds, the gasoline engine or
both the gasoline engine and electric motors work to deliver
the vehicle high torque. In slower driving conditions, such
as city driving, only the electric motors may be used. The
Lexus RX400h is considered a full hybrid, which can be powered
only by gasoline engine, only powered by electric motors
or a combination of each.
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid has a regenerative braking system.
This means that when you take your foot off the accelerator
or place your foot on the brakes, the electric motors automatically
turn into electricity generators and recharge the battery
pack. The Lexus RX400h also comes with a Electronically
controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). This
means there is almost an infinte number of shifting combinations
so you'll never feel the clunk or vibration of your automatic
transmission up-shifting or downshifting. The ECVT also
comes with a B shift control to help in the braking of the
engine, similar to downshifting. Standard also are ventilated
disc brakes and an anti-lock braking system (ABS).
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid comes with an electronic power
steering system that allows driver to steer with aid of
computer, which means steering is quicker and more responsive
and does not need power steering fluid, pump or fan belt.
This means fewer moving parts, repairs and a lighter vehicle.
The powertrain pluses don't stop there, though. According
to Lexus, "Essentially the "brain" of the
hybrid system, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) manages
the power flow between the generator, battery and motor.
By constantly monitoring various driving conditions, the
ECU allows the transmission to get optimal power and fuel
consumption from the powertrain." Managing the physical
interaction between the gasoline engine, electric-drive
motors and generator is the Planetary Gear Set. The gear
set is able to deliver more power from the high-speed, high-torque
electric motors and will result in fewer functional repairs
and quieter driving. Besides the gasoline-electric combination
promoting super ultra-low emissions, the Lexus RX400h Hybrid
Gas also has an innovative gas cap and closed fuel tank
system that is more efficient in restricting fuel vapors
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid comes with a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated
Management system (VDIM), which monitors vehicle and road
conditions to help drivers avoid accident and improves smoothness
of handling. The VDIM uses more responsive sensors and highly
sophisticated algorithms. In addition, the Vehicle Dynamics
Integrated Management System constantly monitors a number
of variables to help the driver avoid a potential accident
while cornering. By anticipating such problems, the VDIM
is designed to effortlessly and seamlessly adjust the speed,
throttle, braking, steering and lean of the vehicle providing
a safer and smoother ride. The adaptive front lighting system
improves visibility and will actually swivel headlights
to the left and right for maximum coverage.
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid also has a DVD based navigation
system for the geographically-impaired, plus a backup camera
for added safety.
Styling and Luxury
The Lexus RX400h Hybrid has a new, sleeker design with
an attention to detail. Not only does it have integrated
fog lamps and wind-tunnel aerodynamics, but only sports
18-inch alloy wheels, which are new on the RX400h model.
Standard DVD entertainment and navigation systems plus a
Mark Levinson Premium Audio System make the Lexus hybrid
a true luxury vehicle. Lexus, has also taken great pains
in the noise reduction arena. Engine mounts have been moved
forward to minimize vibration, the air intake system has
been redesigned to reduce noise and insulation has been
added to the body panels, wheel wells, and even inside the
windshield all in an effort to make this the quietest ride
All in all, the Lexus RX400h Hybrid sets the standard for
all other luxury SUV's to come. One just has to wonder if
any challengers will readily step up to the plate.