Lexus RX Hybrid
|Parent company||Toyota Motor Corporation|
|Class||Mid-size hybrid |
|Body style(s)||4-door SUV|
|Layout||Front engine, FWD / 4WD|
|Related||Lexus RX 330/350|
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Lexus RX Hybrid is a hybrid crossover SUV sold by Lexus since 2005. The RX Hybrid uses the Lexus RX body design and a Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain which combines a V6 gasoline engine with electrical motors. First introduced in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show, the original RX 400h became the first luxury hybrid, and the world's second mass-produced hybrid sport utility vehicle, after the Ford Escape Hybrid. The RX 400h was also the launch vehicle of the Lexus hybrid lineup, which later expanded to include hybrid versions of other Lexus vehicles, including the GS 450h and LS 600h/LS 600h L.
The first generation RX 400h was sold until the 2008 model year, and an equivalent model, the Toyota Harrier Hybrid, was sold in Japan until the same year. In November 2008, Lexus launched a complete redesign of its hybrid crossover, the second generation RX 450h, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The Lexus RX 450h was scheduled to go on sale in North America, Europe, Asia (including Japan), and other markets in 2009 as a 2010 model.
First generation (2005-2008)
|Also called||Toyota Harrier Hybrid (-2008)|
|Assembly||Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan|
|Engine(s)||3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6 hybrid system|
|Transmission(s)||5-speed Continuously variable transmission|
|Wheelbase||106.9 in (2715 mm)|
|Length||187.2 in (4755 mm)|
|Width||72.6 in (1844 mm)|
|Height||2006-07: 68.5 in (1740 mm)|
2008 AWD: 66.4 in (1687 mm)
2008 FWD: 66.1 in (1679 mm)
|Fuel capacity||17.20 US gallons (65.1 L; 14.3 imp gal)|
Lexus debuted the RX 400h at the North American International Auto Show in 2004, with plans to launch the vehicle in the U.S. market. The equivalent Harrier Hybrid debuted in Japan on 22 March 2005, the same day as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The Lexus RX 400h made its U.S. sales debut in mid-2005, with over 9,000 pre-orders at launch. The RX 400h's arrival in the U.S. had been delayed by several months; Lexus had announced in November 2004 that the American launch of the hybrid Lexus SUV would occur for the 2006 model year (with European and Asian launches during 2005).
Since its launch, the all-wheel drive RX 400h/Harrier Hybrid has been sold at a substantial premium over the non-hybrid RX 300/RX 330/RX 350/Harrier. In the U.S., the initial base price was US$49,185, which was a $5,600 premium over a similarly-equipped RX 330/RX 350. A front-wheel drive version of the RX 400h debuted in 2006, with a base MSRP approximately $1,400 less than the all-wheel drive RX hybrid. For 2007, along with the reduction of the federal hybrid tax credit for its hybrids, Lexus lowered the base price of the RX 400h to $42,580 and $41,180 for the respective all-wheel and front-wheel drive versions. The list price in Japan for the Harrier Hybrid ranged from 4.095 million Yen to 4.62 million Yen. Based on the 2010 Lexus RX redesign, no 2009 model for the Lexus RX 400h was offered.
The gasoline-powered part of the RX 400h engine system is a 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6, very similar to the one found in the RX 330. It produced 211 hp JIS (155 kW) and 288 N·m (212 ft·lbf). The gasoline engine is aided by a maximum of two additional electric motors, one driving the front wheels, producing 167 hp JIS (123 kW) and 333 N·m (245 ft·lbf) and connected to the CVT gearbox, and the other driving the rear wheels, producing 68 hp JIS (50 kW) and 130 N·m (95 ft·lbf). The whole system, called Lexus Hybrid Drive (also Hybrid Synergy Drive), produces a maximum of 272 hp JIS (200 kW). With Lexus Hybrid Drive, under normal driving conditions, only the front motor and gasoline engine are used. The rear motor is only used under full-throttle acceleration or when the front wheels lose traction. The gasoline engine switches off automatically and the car runs completely on electricity when either stationary, decelerating, or being driven at slow speeds (0 to 40 miles per hour). An Ni-MH battery is responsible for powering the motors, and is charged by generators during deceleration or sharp cornering.
Not only does the hybrid drive in the RX 400h improve fuel economy, with the assistance of the electric motor, the 400h/Harrier Hybrid can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 8 seconds, quicker than the gasoline-only RX. Despite the increased performance, the RX 400h/Harrier Hybrid consumes roughly the same amount of gasoline as a compact four-cylinder sedan and it qualifies as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in America. Under the Japanese "10.15 mode" fuel consumption standard, the Harrier Hybrid can run 17.8 km per litre of fuel (compared with the standard coil-sprung V6 3.0 L Harrier, which returned 9.4 km/L). In Japan, it qualifies as a "4-star" LEV-car, where it produces 75% fewer emissions than the standard specified in Heisei 17 (i.e. year 2005). In the U.S., the RX 400h is certified with a revised 2008 EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg city, 24 highway for the AWD model. Because of the hybrid system's ability to shut off the gasoline engine at slower speeds or at idle, its fuel economy is better in city driving, in contrast with conventional petrol and diesel drivetrains.
Compared to the standard Lexus RX, the RX 400h features a different front grille and round foglights, and also differently-styled LED tailights in place of the conventional LED ones on the RX330/RX350. Different exterior colors are offered. When launched in 2005, the RX 400h came exclusively with brushed aluminum interior accents, in place of the wood trim offered in the standard RX. This changed in 2006, when the RX 400h became available with Bird's Eye Maple wood trim. Additional changes for 2007 included the addition of Hybrid badging on the rear side doors. A hybrid information display on the navigation screen shows electrical motor, gasoline engine, and regenerative braking activation in real time. Some RX 400h models without navigation screens display the information on a small monochrome display on the instrument panel, similar to Toyota Camry Hybrid models without navigation systems.
Second generation (2010-current)
|Assembly||Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan|
|Engine(s)||3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 hybrid system|
|Transmission(s)||6-speed Continuously variable transmission|
|Wheelbase||107.9 in (2741 mm)|
|Length||187.8 in (4770 mm)|
|Width||74.2 in (1885 mm)|
|Height||66.5 in (1689 mm)|
Lexus debuted the second generation RX hybrid, the RX 450h, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2008. The RX 450h was premiered alongside its non-hybrid equivalent, the third generation RX 350. Both models were introduced as 2010 model year vehicles, with a hybrid concept vehicle, the LF-Xh, previewing their design direction at international auto shows a year prior. Manufacturer's specifications indicated identical outward dimensions for the RX 450h with the RX 350. The RX 450h was expected to go on sale in the U.S. in mid to late 2009, with sales introductions for the RX 450h in Asia (including Japan) and Europe in the same year.
The RX 450h features an upgraded 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine (shared with the RX 350) which produces 245 hp (183 kW), along with a new inverter which boosts total horsepower to 297 hp (221 kW). The RX 450h's V6 engine now runs on the Atkinson cycle for added efficiency. Two additional systems are added to the RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, an exhaust-heat recovery system to reduce engine warm-up periods (optimizing engine start-stop times), and a cooled exhaust gas-recirculation system to reduce fuel pumping loss. Fuel efficiency, according to manufacturer data, is increased by eight percent over the previous RX 400h.
To visually differentiate the hybrid RX model, the RX 450h receives a unique grille with modified front fascia, LED headlights, hybrid badging, and different wheels. The new model's LED headlamps are similar to the LS 600h, which also has LED headlamps (reserved for Lexus hybrid models only). The current concept vehicle for the third generation RX is the LF-Xh. The new hybrid version of the RX, which arrived a year after the concept as the RX 450h, was announced to debut at the LA Auto Show in November 2008 for the 2010 model year.
The Lexus RX 400h was one of only four SUVs to achieve recognition on J.D. Power and Associates' 2006 Automotive Environmental Index of the top 30 most environmentally-friendly vehicles. J.D. Power also awarded the RX 400h the top spot for entry-luxury SUVs in its 2005 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study on owners' attitudes towards new vehicle designs. At the 2005 GreenFleet Awards in the United Kingdom, recognizing environmentally friendly transportation, Lexus was recognized for introducing the RX 400h with the 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year title. The RX 400h was named SUV of Texas at the 2005 Texas Truck Rodeo awards, and was awarded recognition as a CNET editor's choice vehicle in 2005.
Sales data for the Lexus RX hybrid are as follows.
|Generation||Model(s)||Calendar year||Total sales units (U.S.)|
- Job, Ann (2005-10-26). "Lexus introduces first luxury hybrid SUV". Associated Press. http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_3076458. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
- Evans, Scott (2008-11-12). "New 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h To Bow at Los Angeles Auto Show". Motor Trend. http://wot.motortrend.com/6348063/auto-shows/new-2010-lexus-rx-350-and-rx-450h-to-bow-at-los-angeles-auto-show/index.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- Lexus hybrid SUV orders set record
- Healey, James (2004-02-08). "Hybrid Lexus SUV delayed". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2004-08-02-hybrid_x.htm. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- "Lexus RX 400h". BusinessWeek. 2005-04-25. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_17/b3930141_mz070.htm. Retrieved on 2007-05-06.
- "Lexus introduces front-wheel drive RX 400h". Automotive World. 2005-11. http://www.automotiveworld.com/APA/content.asp?contentid=45814. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- "2007 Lexus Full Line Pricing". Lexus. 2006-08. http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2006082858672. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- "Toyota Releases 2 Hybrid Models in Japan". Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. 2005-03-25. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-19210397_ITM. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- Pander, Von Jürgen (2005-06-23). "Lexus RX 400h: Scotty, Energie!". Der Spiegel. http://www.spiegel.de/auto/fahrberichte/0,1518,361566,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- Rothwell, Rob. "Front-Wheel Drive Lexus RX 400h Not Coming to Canada". American Auto Press. http://car-reviews.automobile.com/news/front-wheel-drive-lexus-rx-400h-not-coming-to-canada/1528/. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
- Petersen, Thane (2006-03-08). "Hybrid Heaven in a Lexus". BusinessWeek. http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/mar2006/bw20060308_999129.htm. Retrieved on 2007-05-06.
- Evans, Scott (2008-11-19). "Live From LA: 2010 Lexus RX350 and RX450h Hybrid Revealed". Motor Trend. http://wot.motortrend.com/6352582/auto-shows/live-from-la-2010-lexus-rx350-and-rx450h-hybrid-revealed/index.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-19.
- Tokyo Motor Show: The Lexus LF-Xh Concept
- Lexus Stages World Debut of All-New RX 350 and RX 450h at Los Angeles Auto Show
- Wong, Jonathan (2008-11-19). "Lexus launches its redone RX family at L.A. show". AutoWeek. http://www.autoweek.com/article/20081119/FREE/811199972. Retrieved on 2008-11-19.
- 2006 J.D. Power Automotive Environmental Index
- 2005 J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study
- Lexus receives Green Fleet 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year award
- Texas Truck Rodeo Awards
- CNET 2006 Lexus RX 400h
- U.S. Department of Energy HEV sales figures
- Lexus RX 400h official U.S. site
- Lexus RX 400h official Canada site
- Lexus RX 400h official Poland site
- RX Showcase GB hybrid site
- RX 400h official Australia site
- lexushybrid.com.cn China hybrid site
- RX 400h Korea hybrid site
- Lexus RX - external links for the RX 330/350
Lexus – a division of Toyota Motor Corp. – road vehicle timeline