Lexus RX 400h

The Lexus RX 400h is a hybrid crossover SUV assembled since 2005 for Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota Motor Corp. The RX 400h uses Lexus Hybrid Drive technology and the Lexus RX model design. An equivalent model is called the Toyota Harrier Hybrid in Japan. First introduced in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show, the RX 400h became the world's second mass-produced hybrid sport utility vehicle, after the Ford Escape Hybrid. The RX 400h was also the first luxury hybrid.

Official website

First generation (2004-present)RX 400h

Production 2005–present
Assembly Kyūshū, Japan
Engine(s) 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6 hybrid system
Transmission(s) 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)
2008-09 AWD: 66.4 in (1687 mm)
2008-09 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 ranges from 4.095 million Yen to 4.62 million Yen.


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, in the case of the Harrier Hybrid, 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 s, 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.

Differences from the RX 350

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.


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