Lexus, the luxury branch of Toyota, today offers the RX 400h a luxury SUV hybrid that encapsulates all the positive effects mentioned above, while offering superb levels of luxury and practicality that are bound to make even the toughest cynic wonder whether the luxury SUV hybrid really is the shape of future road transportation for the masses.
With an attractive lower-company tax band provided courtesy of a category-beating fuel consumption and emission levels the RX 400h possesses the credentials to make it especially attractive to company accountants when compared to its many standard rivals.
The notion of driving a vehicle, even a luxury SUV hybrid, with an electric motor might daunt a few at the thought of having to plug it into the mains each night before going to bed. However, that might have been true twenty years ago, but today a luxury SUV hybrid is equipped with the technology that allows it to tend to its own needs. This could be the beginning of the end for those visits to the petrol station, because the electric motor in the RX 400h contains a mechanism that recharges its electric motor while the vehicle is on the move by using either the fossil fueled engine or more cleverly, the energy generated when braking.
In pursuance of performance and, in order to avoid any sacrifices in acceleration being experienced by driving a luxury SUV hybrid, when a driver signals a demand for power by pushing their foot to the floor, both the fossil fueled engine and the electric motor are activated and the power delivered is therefore as immediate as you might expect from an electric slot car. The RX 400h can accelerate from 0-60 in around 7 seconds and is geared to reach a maximum of 125 mph.
The RX 400h is a front engined, 4x4, 5 door luxury SUV hybrid priced around $45,000.
Type: V-6, Alluminium block and heads
Displacement: 202 cu in, 3311cc
Power (SAE net): 208 bhp @ 5600 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 212 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Maximum: engine speed 5600 rpm
Power (SAE net): 165 bhp @ 4500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 262 lb-ft @ 0-1500 rpm
Power (SAE net): 67 bhp @ 4610 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 96 lb-ft @ 0-610 rpm
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Final-drive ratio: 3.54:1
4-wheel-drive system: part time with automatic rear electric-motor engagement
Wheelbase: 106.9 in
Track, front/rear: 62.0/61.2 in
Length/width/height: 187.2/72.6/66.3 in
Ground clearance: 7.1 in
Curb weight: 4580 lb
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gal
If you never thought that a luxury SUV could be sufficiently economical to entice you away from a sedan then you really need to take another look, because the luxury SUV hybrid is about to make a case for itself that no one can ignore.