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Lexus goes for hybrid SUV gold with its redesigned, better-value RX450h

16 Jun 2009

WHILE its German rivals talk about producing hybrid versions of their existing luxury SUVs, Japan’s Lexus has released the second generation of its petrol-electric RX crossover. Available now in three model grades, mirroring the petrol-powered RX350 line-up launched in February, the RX450h is the first Lexus to return fuel consumption of less than 7.0L/100km, making it almost entirely exempt from luxury car tax. That means it’s also the most affordable Lexus hybrid to date and with pricing starting at under $90,000 it is no wonder Toyota’s luxury division is selling every example it can get.
Model release date: 1 June 2009 to 1 May 2012

Previous model

Lexus RX400h

Released: October 2006
Ended: June 2009
Family Tree: RX

THE RX400h was the second hybrid Lexus to arrive in Australia, in October 2006, as well as being the nation’s first petrol-electric SUV. It was powered by a 3.3-litre transverse petrol V6 producing 155kW at 5600rpm and 288Nm of torque at 4400rpm, working in conjunction with a 650-volt electric motor. Differentiating the hybrid RX from other Lexus hybrids was a second 650-volt electric motor exclusively devoted to driving the rear wheels when required, instead of the full-time AWD three-differential set-up used in the RX350. Total power of the drive system was 200kW, yet Lexus claimed the average fuel consumption for the RX400h was 8.1L/100km – compared with the previous RX350’s 11.2L/100km). At 192g/km, the RX400h’s fuel consumption was slightly more than half of some cars with similar-sized petrol engines. The weight of the RX400h was up by nearly 200kg over the RX350.

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