Lexus RX400h: New green machine — Mar. 16, 2005

29 Май 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »


NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) Start with the nation’s luxury SUV. Then the save-the-planet crowd by adding the most sophisticated hybrid system. Finally, make it and plusher than ever, to drivers whose primary is to whip the Joneses.

What do you The Lexus RX400h, the closest yet to a guilt-free SUV.

The promise of fuel economy with no in space, speed or luxury 12,000 orders prior to the April 15 sale date. anticipation is building for the Lexus’ expensive sibling, the Toyota hybrid that goes on in mid-June.

But whether you care to the early adopters — in whether you’re ready for any of the hybrid SUVs and sedans depends on your priorities. The has curb appeal and high-mileage/low-emission but the technology costs extra.

The says the hybrid will for $3,000 to $5,000 more the nonhybrid version, the RX330, but generous estimate assumes buying a 330 with every option.

The 400h will be offered with costly features drivers could likely do including a navigation system and a backup camera. An all-wheel-drive 330 those extras starts $38,000, and a well-equipped version of the 330 we came in nearly $9,000 the hybrid’s estimated $50,000 price.

If you already own an SUV, economy may not be your top priority And even if you’ve been buying an SUV because of poor the price premium might be too to win you over.

Still, the new Lexus is and powerful and saves gas, so time to answer the big questions the hybrid SUV. Then be able to answer one for yourself: vehicles may not be for everyone, but are they for

How green is green?

Using fuel by driving a 400h demonstrate your good but not necessarily your thriftiness. We you’ll save only $350 a year in gas by choosing the RX over the gas-only version. But with its thirstier competitors, the Cadillac SRX and the VW Touareg, the annual could be more like to $1,000.

That’s not only a lot less but also a lot fewer trips to the — which you’ll in freezing weather or on unfamiliar Even with a tank smaller by a full two gallons, you can at least 450 miles on a single far outdistancing the gas-only model.

how the mileage looked on my test Overall I got 27 mpg, compared 20 mpg for the 330. Even on a Manhattan slog, the 400h got 26 mpg, double the city mileage seen from many SUVs.

The gain is less on the highway, where a battery-powered helped it reach 28 mpg. barely tops the 330, but still the highest I’ve in this class. (The Protection Agency, incidentally, the 400h at 30 mpg city/26 highway, with 18/24 for the 330.)

Lexus 400h: New green

Treat the gas pedal as if it was dipped in waste, and the 400h can indeed 30 mpg, especially on no-hurry streets.

Will it last?

Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)

says that the battery in its hybrids are designed to last the life of the car, and the warranty is for years or 100,000 miles. The says it hasn’t documented a case of battery failure due to age or even among hybrids are in hard-driven government fleets and endured 200,000-plus miles.

How it perform?

The 400h drives like a regular car than any hybrid so far, thanks to its relatively powerful 3.3-liter, V-6, with a trio of motors boosting that to a 268 hp. (The 330 gets 230 hp from its own As Lexus promised, the 400h is faster than the gas-only The one I tested zipped from 0 to 60 mph in seconds flat, about a swifter than the 330. And ample passing power at any

Like the Highlander, the 400h the latest version of Toyota’s synergy drive (the device that blends between the gas engine and electric With each generation, remarkable technology becomes seamless in the way its gas engine and its electric plant make the switch running the vehicle to recharging the

The 400h can accelerate on battery alone from a standing and its engine shuts off at red lights and stops to maximize economy explains why it gets better around town than on the Two electric motor-generators help the front wheels or recharge the during coasting or braking. And to all-wheel drive, a powerful motor delivers a peak 68 to the rear wheels when you maximum acceleration or when the senses the front wheels are traction.

The system isn’t cut out for aggressive, off-road missions, but it works well: I repeatedly steered the into knee-deep snowdrifts in New York over the winter, and it powered through.

But while the is plenty fast and brilliantly it doesn’t perform better the 330 overall. Curb weight by 300 pounds to roughly 4,400, handling that wasn’t to begin with. The 400h’s power steering offers less feel and feedback the 330’s hydraulic system. The brakes, which capture to recharge the batteries, deliver stopping power but feel My test model also a high-pitched hum under braking, but noticeable, which Toyota to the electronics.

And though the heart of the synergy drive is impressive, to a consistent speed you have to busy throttle adjustments you’re driving, especially on terrain. You get used to it, but driving the 330 definitely feels more

For both current and first-time SUV drawn to the hybrid by its gas-saving those drawbacks won’t be breakers. If you do a lot of city and suburban remember that the 400h can the mileage of many rivals, it an incredible edge. Plus, the intangible advantage that for people will offset the price: The RX400h is a conspicuously SUV that finally lets you neighbors on their gas-guzzling, cars.

Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)
Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)
Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)
Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)
Toyota Lexus RX400h (HSD)

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