Lexus' Hybrid Savvy RX 450h

  • Jul 14, 2009
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It's the race to save the planet that is driving automobile majors to continuously work on technological advancements in order to make their vehicles more efficient and lower the need for reliance on natural resources. Hybrid technology has proved to be a suitable intermediate between future technologies such as fuel cells, and manufacturers such as Lexus have now taken hybrid technology to an advanced level with products such as the 2010 Lexus RX 450h Crossover.

From the looks of it, the Lexus RX 450h bears a solid resemblance to the outgoing RX 400h model, and most people would be hard-pressed to tell the two apart. What has changed though are the interiors which now come with a more luxurious feel, but more important is the fact that the hybrid system is now capable of delivering better fuel economy and therefore lowering emissions and benefiting the environment.

To make the RX 450h stand out from its gasoline only counterpart the RX 350, Lexus has opted to make the hybrid a bit more elite by providing it with neat blue lit gauges, a tinted grille and a reworked front bumper. The hybrid is also available with optional 19 inch alloys, but that is about it on the design front.

The major change and for the better has been carried out under to hood of the RX 450h. The 3.5 litre V6 is coupled to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system which also includes two separate motors. Incidentally the all wheel drive version of the RX 450h houses a third motor in the hybrid system. The engine is mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) unit that allows for better driveability. The big battery pack is located under the second row seat and does not hamper with interior space. The combined gasoline and electric drive system offers a mileage close to 12.0 kpl in the city and 10.0 kpl on the highway, which is rather decent for a 3.5 litre V6. The driver can select between different drive modes in order to gain the maximum efficiency and there is also the selection to drive on 'electric only' mode as well.

Keeping with the premium tag on the Lexus brand, the RX 450h also houses a host of creature comforts as well as safety equipment such as 10 airbags, ABS, EBD, traction control, and a hill-hold feature as well. The RX 450h has a combined and active safety system titled as Pre-Collision which uses radar sensors to foresee any possible impact and in return prep the safety systems for a quicker deployment in order to mitigate any serious injury.

Overall the RX450h is an improvement over its predecessor and is one step ahead in terms of the level of tech employed. Will it come to India is a question that remains unanswered. India is a market where hybrids could really benefit the market. Though a low cost hybrid is still some years away, a high end product such as RX 450h would really make a statement here.

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