Page 1: Introduction
Kailua, HI -- luxury suvs have long been loathed by the environmentally conscious. All that leather and space, the big engine, the heavy weight, and abysmal fuel economy to boot.
They are considered by some to be modern day white elephants -- comfort for the sake of it, size just because you can afford it, waste because no one really cares.
That may well be changing, thanks to Lexus and the latest hybrid vehicle to be introduced in North America, the 2006 Lexus RX 400h. Now even luxury SUVs and their owners can quietly take a role in saving the planet -- without joining Green Peace or giving up any of the creature comforts or performance they’ve come to expect from the vehicle they drive. Based on the current Lexus RX 330 platform, the RX 400h hybrid combines a 3.3-liter V6 with a permanent magnet electric motor up front and an electric motor for the rear wheels to produce 268 total horsepower.
Page 2: Technology
Adding additional pressure to the accelerator makes the V6 come to life, and the CVT seamlessly streams through the ratios, maximizing the powertrain’s torque curve. Mashing the throttle to the floor takes the Lexus RX 400h from mild-mannered SUV to hybrid hyper drive vehicle, as the battery packs deliver a full surge of voltage to the front and rear electric motors. Make no mistake -- under full acceleration, the Lexus RX 400h feels as though a small block V8 has been transplanted between the front shock towers, though the muted exhaust of the V6 and whine of the electric motors audibly remind you otherwise. Let off the gas and the V6 stops running while all three electric motors go into regenerative braking mode to recharge the nickel metal hydride batteries.
Page 3: Economy
Don't expect fellow motorists to immediately identify you as environmentally responsible if you're driving a 2006 Lexus RFX 400h. It looks like a clone of the RX 330, though Lexus sprinkled a few practical additions to the design for the purposes of differentiation, such as a new front grille, a secondary bumper grille to aid electronics cooling, round fog lamps, and rear LED tail lamps.
Page 4: Safety
Page 5: Wrap-Up
Page 6: FAQs
What’s the best thing about the Lexus RX 400h? Clearly, the technology. With two electric motors and a traditional engine driving the wheels, and a third electric motor handling accessories, the Lexus RX 400h's complexity is enormous but the pay-off is significant. The 2006 Lexus RX 400h provides performance, luxury, and utility with efficiency and environmental responsibility. It could be the ultimate automobile.
What’s the worst thing about the Lexus RX 400h? Price and availability. With only 24,000 scheduled for production and thousands of pre-sold orders at the dealership, it won’t be easy to get a 2006 Lexus RX 400h. The few that haven't been snapped up are likely to sell for well over sticker price, if "market adjustments" to the stickers on other hybrid models are any indication.
Page 7: Specifications
Engine Size and Type: 3.3-liter V6, 123kw electric front electric motor, 50kw electric rear motor.
Engine Horsepower: 208hp, 167hp, 68hp
Engine Torque: 212 lb.-ft., 247 lb.-ft, 96 lb.-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 26 city and 30 highway (estimated)
Max Towing Capacity: 3,500 lbs.
Max Seating Capacity: 5
Competitors: Acura MDX, Audi allroad, BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, GMC Yukon Denali, Hummer H2, Infiniti FX, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover LR3, Lexus GX 470, Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Porsche Cayenne, Saab 9-7X, Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90