2006 Lexus RX 400h

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Ever since the Lexus RX 400h debuted at the North American International Auto Show, this Lexus hybrid has continued to generate interest among consumers.

"The new RX 400h redefines the midsize luxury SUV market while raising awareness and acceptance of hybrid gas-electric vehicles among luxury car and SUV buyers," said Denny Clements, Lexus group vice president and general manager. He goes on to state that the Lexus hybrid SUV will add a performance dimension to the traditional hybrid advantages of high mileage and low emissions.

The 2006 RX 400h, due out April 15, 2005, will be powered by a V6 Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The Lexus hybrid’s all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain combines two powerful electric motors with the highly efficient 3.3-liter V6 engine found in the RX 330 to significantly improve low to mid-speed acceleration and overall fuel efficiency.

The system is a "full hybrid," meaning that the Lexus hybrid is capable of operating in separate gas or electric modes, as well as a mode that combines power from both.

The Lexus hybrid will develop a peak system output of approximately 270 horsepower and although exact EPA mileage estimates are not available yet, the Lexus hybrid is expected to deliver combined fuel economy equivalent or better than the average compact sedan. Zero-to-sixty acceleration also will keep the Lexus hybrid in the sub-eight second timeframe. For emissions, the Lexus hybrid will be rated Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV), one of the most stringent emissions ratings in the industry.

Rather than create a quirky new look for the Lexus hybrid, styling for the RX 400h will be remarkably similar to the RX 330. The computer-controlled powertrain blends power from the V6 gasoline engine, the electric drive motor and the generator. The driver does not feel the vehicle changing operational modes. In fact, the only give away is the absence of the traditional tachometer. In its place, the Lexus hybrid has an illuminated power meter that displays the level of power generated by the gas-electric hybrid powertrain. The driver also will be able to monitor the gas-electric power distribution on the available navigation system’s seven-inch touch panel display screen.

The 2006 Lexus RX 400h is priced at $48,535.


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