OF THE MONTH: JANUARY 2006
Advanced Green Car
2006 Lexus RX 400h 5-Door SUV
short: Hybrid technology and luxury are united
in this sleek SUV.
you liked the Lexus RX series and you have a green conscience, you’re
going to love the RX 400h hybrid. However, be prepared
to spend $10,000 more for it than for a similarly equipped
RX 330. You can choose your RX 400h to have either front-wheel
drive or all-wheel drive.
looking at the car, it’s hard to see any differences
between the regular RX 330 and the hybrid RX. Inside,
the layout is the same with the exception of the rear
seats, which are raised one inch for the hybrid batteries'
ventilation. It's when you look at the dashboard instrumentation
and start the car that you will notice that something's
popular on the road, hybrids are a stepping stone in
the search for alternative power sources. They are much
cleaner cars and in the city use less fuel than standard
gas powered vehicles. Clean diesel (sometimes bio-diesel)
powered vehicles are also vying for a share of the market.
However, in twenty years, things will look quite different.
The RX 400h uses a Hybrid Synergy Drive system that
combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor coupled
with an electronically-controlled continuous transmission.
This means that you do not have to plug your car in,
you will get smooth accelerations, and you will benefit
from the power of a V8 engine with a V6.
The engine will automatically turn on and off as needed.
For example, at low speeds or while stopping, the engine
will typically shut off. Your gas mileage will be superior
in the city with the 400h, but if you plan on letting
the car sit for extended periods of time and use it
mostly for highway driving, then you are better off
with the RX 330. Of note, high altitude performance
is increased with the hybrid as the electric motor acts
a bit like a turbocharger.
you want to be in the know, a set of complicated gauges,
multi-information displays and monitors can break down
your driving patterns.
you get past the subtle differences between the RX 330
and the 400h, the car feels light, fast and easy to maneuver
in the city, and is most comfortable on the highway.
is no doubt that the Lexus RX 400h is a great car supported
by a solid reputation and a dedicated network of dealers.
Now it’s up to you to figure out a way to reconcile
the extra cost as compared to the RX 330.
To find out more about the Lexus RX 400h, click
48-month/50,000-mile basic warranty, 72-month/ 70,000-mile
limited powertrain coverage, 72-month/unlimited mileage
rust perforation warranty. The Hybrid Vehicle System
Warranty is 8-years/100,000-miles.
Base Price: $44,660 / As tested: $50,257
type: front-engine, all-wheel drive,
5-passenger, 5-door SUV
Engine: 3.3-liter V6 with
electric motors attached to the front and rear
Horsepower: 208 bhp @ 5600
165 bhp @ 4500 rpm (front electric);
67 bhp @ 4610 rpm (rear electric)
Torque: 212 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm (gas);
262 lb-ft @ 0-1500 rpm;
96 lb-ft @ 0-610 rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable
Curb weight: 4,580 lbs
Wheelbase: 106.9 in
Turning circle: 37.4 ft
Brakes: front disc, rear drum
with ABS, electronic brake assist and
Suspension: independent front and rear
Traction: optional all-wheel drive,
traction control, vehicle stability control
Safety: front airbags, front side airbags,
side curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag,
optional rear parking camera
0-60 mph: 6.9 seconds
Top Speed: 112 mph (governed)
EPA City: 30 mpg
EPA Highway: 26 mpg
other Lexus models
all Automobile Reviews
the Lexus website
(Updated: 04/02/08 HC)