Car reviews - Lexus - RX - RX400h 5-dr wagon
Lexus expands its hybrid push with the RX400h, the world's first petrol-electric SUV
22 Dec 2006
By LUC BRITTEN
LEXUS hopes that, in addition to hordes of SUV buyers concerned about the effects their vehicles are having on global warming, turbo-diesel adopters may also turn their eyes on the new RX400h as a cleaner, more civilised way of reducing fuel costs. The RX400h is technically quite remarkable in many ways, what with its planetary gearset-controlled drive system and CVT transmission, as well as its maintenance-free battery bolted away underneath the rear seat, but it’s especially noteworthy because it’s also the first mass-market vehicle to drive the rear wheels without a driveshaft. Although, like most of today’s light-duty 4WDs, it runs most of the time in front-drive mode, the Lexus is unique in that it uses a dedicated electric motor to drive the rear wheels when the extra traction is needed. The savings in weight and complexity must be considerable. For your $100,000, you are getting hybrid technology you can trust in a vehicle that drives like a conventional SUV but returns fuel economy that can be quite outstanding.
Model release date: 1 September 2006 to 1 February 2009
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